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Not For Queen or Country by Edward Denmark

By Reviewed by Remy Benoit

This is an honest book, an account of life in the military by a man who served as a British soldier in Northern Ireland and in the Falklands War.

Denmark notes that his initial attraction to the armed services had a lot to do with extravagant recruitment posters of soldiers skiing, of soldiers walking sunny beaches. It also had a lot to do with relief from the drudgery of factory work.  In fact, after a brief hiatus from the military, Denmark re-enlisted and attempted Para training.

What is intriguing is his honesty that the posters, the idea of the trim uniform caught a young man’s yearning for adventure, for place, and pride. When he says that:
   People may think me stupid or gullible or both, but I never realized until the Falklands war that I had joined an organization whose business is killing.

  He also notes that while watching the television pictures of soldiers dealing with rioters in Northern Ireland he did not consider the dangers inherent in that.

  Denmark takes us through his initiation, basic training, time in the Falklands, time in Northern Ireland.  As he speaks to us we feel the pride of accomplishment, the drudgery of monotony, the fear in war, the disbelief that the IRA could perpetrate such horrors on civilians and on the British forces there to try to keep the peace.
   He takes us through a flooded North Ireland town when the British soldiers, who are normally persona non grata, are suddenly called upon for help by the local residents.

  Most importantly, Denmark makes it clear what so many soldiers of so many wars in so many countries have said, and keep saying.  When it gets down to it, when you face the elephant, the politics of it all fall by the wayside.  The soldier falls into a survival mode, doing everything possible to stay alive, to keep those closest to him, alive. There is commitment to each other at work, there is fear of being shown not to have the courage to face it, to come through it.  There is the stupid joke, or bravado, to break the tension when it is over and everyone is trying to not show the fear they are still feeling.

  War, as he says, becomes very personal when the shooting starts. When life is threatened, the adrenaline flows. Survival becomes everything, and survival is non-political.  When the battle dims, when the fields are cleared, and medics and evacs have, and are, doing what they do best, then it becomes important of how many of the enemy are counted as incapacitated in whatever form.

  Denmark left service with an incapacitated knee. Surgery has not proven helpful.
  He left the service with pride in his service.

Yet he left the service with something else that more and more soldiers are beginning to openly talk about: that those in power should be looking at war and seeing “the real misery of death and injury and the wrecked lives of all those involved.”

  He indicates that perhaps what is needed is more study of what war is, what war truly is, than study of how to make it.

  Then those who have served, who have written of the verities of war, will have served twice, with pride, and the voice of experience.

  Join Edward Denmark as he learns the difference between the fantasy and the reality.

Not For Queen or Country.

Downing Street Protest.


You can contact Eddy Denmark author of Not for Queen and Country through the publishers web site and your details will be forwarded to Eddy sue

Posted by: sue, at 2010-01-23 20:00:42

How can I contact Edward Denmark and question him about his Tour in Northern Ireland?

Posted by: Kingman Davis, at 2009-12-20 20:59:11

i have known eddie for quite a few years now and we are allways talking about strabane in county tyrone were we both have served while on tours of ulster eddie is a true and honest man who is a model of what the young of today should strive to be.... even though ive also served in ulster,germany,hong kong and many other locations i am glad to know eddie .... a great dude !

Posted by: brian smy, at 2011-04-23 14:04:39

Kingman Davis I have only just been told of this post so I am sorry about the delay. I have emailed the address so you can e mail me directly. You may ask me questions with regard to my tour in Northern Ireland and I will answer if I want and more importantly if I indeed can. What you wont do however is Question me in the sense of demanding answers. I hope that makes my position clear.

Posted by: Edward Denmark, at 2010-11-03 19:23:26

This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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