Op. Granby 1990-91: Some observations on the role and importance of ‘Force Information’ in the Gulf War By Lt Cdr Nigel Huxtable RN
‘Force Information and Media Services in Operation Granby 1990-91’ by SJ Anglim, published in the RUSI Journal in October 1995, told the story of The Sandy Times as the major element of Force Information, a new concept deployed in 1990. It emphasized the importance of establishing and maintaining good morale throughout the troops in theatre regardless of badge or service. This year it is 30 years since the coalition victory over Saddam Hussein’s forces after the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait, and Kuwait’s eventual liberation on 28 February 1991.
For those wishing to read more about this aspect of an often overlooked British involvement in a successful conflict, the author’s first-hand experiences could be a useful introduction to understanding the benefits of bringing together novel approaches to the ever-present problems of maintaining high morale and countering misinformation in the ranks. The success of this particular approach to ‘internal communications’ in the form of Force Information worked largely due to the personalities of those involved and the small size of their team. The personal touch was read and appreciated by the audience and it is felt appropriate to include this first-hand account of their work.
As a Royal Navy Instructor officer with experience as a joint Service Mountain Expedition Leader, and running the Training Video Production facilities in Portsmouth at the Royal Naval School of Engineering & Technology (RNSETT), the chance to merge the two roles with a dash of self-sufficiency do not come around too often.
But then after returning from Scotland in the New Year of 1990/91 I was asked if I would like to join Force Information (FINFO) in the Gulf. FINFO was a new concept created at the behest of General Peter de la Billiere to provide all British troops in theatre with updates on what was happening and entrusted to set up and provide force communications mediums. Radio was provided by British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) / Services Sound & Vision Corporation (SSVC); Video was shot and edited in theatre by another Instructor officer, Lt Cdr Campbell Christie, and made good use of American ‘combat camera’ footage.
About the author Lt Cdr Nigel Huxtable joined Dartmouth as part of IO 38. Passing out top instructor officer in December 1979. He served a MCC to 17 years and is currently working with the Royal Naval Association as Assistant General Secretary as well as for the Combined Cadet Force delivering their Leadership training courses – and still contributing his Expedition skills in the Scottish mountains.
Volume 2 of our journal Pro Patria has been published. While covering a variety of topics there is perhaps one common underlying theme - the need for the United Kingdom to invest more in our Armed Forces and the folly of cutting the defence budget for short-term political advantage.
Our Editor, Andy Smith, has assembled quite an array of contributors and I am sure you will agree there is much here from which our political leaders could learn and benefit.
“Defence UK is an independent pressure group that campaigns for a strong and well-resourced Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, to ensure the security of the United Kingdom, her Sovereign Territories, trade and commerce, and to protect her citizens wherever they may be.We also call for a greater commitment by the UK Government to the nation's defence industries, and to non-military services such as the Merchant Navy, Coastguard, Border Control and Homeland Security that are essential to the Defence of the Realm.”