Courage under Fire on Streets of Basra; VICIOUS FIGHTING: Gary Simpson, Far Right, with His Team in Basra Where They Found Themselves under Enemy Fire Every Single Day

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IN his day job, father-of-two Gary Simpson works as a logistics manager.

But in November last year, in his other role as a sergeant with the 51stHighlanders, he found himself in the thick of a vicious firefirewith insurgentson the streets of Basra.

An 11-year veteran in the Territorials, he was heading a four-man team ofpart-timers charged with protecting a specialist bomb disposal strike force.

He said: It was eight weeks of full-on prespresand tension. We found ourselvesunder enemy fire just about every day.

One night, Garys team were ordered to provide support for a snatch operationagainst an insurgent leader reported to be hiding in a house in a hostileneighbourhood. Gary said: We were taking him back to the vehicle when all of asudden all the street lights went out. Thats a dead certain sign that an attackis imminent.

Sure enough, the bullets started flying. Its something you train for but whenit actually happens, its almost surreal. Time slows right down so you can seethe tracer rounds flying over your head. …