Play / pause On Patrol in Iraq

On Patrol in Iraq

  • Eleanor Rance
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


It was the only time in the whole time

I was in the Air Force when being a woman

became an issue, if you like.

My male colleagues had been able to go out on patrol

with the regiment, for example.

And I couldn't do that.

It wasn't appropriate for a woman to be taken out on patrol.

The local community would have found

that very strange and inappropriate.

And therefore, it was not appropriate for me to do it.

And I felt very happy about that.

I didn't want to put myself in the situation

where someone else was going to look after me.

RAF chaplains, as all British chaplains,

are noncombatant.

We don't even carry a side arm for self protection

like the doctors do.

So I needed to be looked after by someone else

when I went out on the road

which I did occasionally.

Or if I was up in one of the aircraft.

There had to be really good reason

for me to be traveling out of the air station.

And I felt that very keenly,

that it wasn't a question of me laying down my life

if we were in an ambush,

but actually that potentially someone else

would lay down their life to protect me.

And I wasn't happy with that.

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