Ref NoOHP/30/2
TitleJamie Wilson
Date27 May 2003
Extent1 minidisc, 1 cd, 1 file, 5 AIFF files (792.3 MB)
Creator NameWilson; Jamie; journalist
DescriptionInterview with Jamie Wilson, Guardian Home News Reporter. Conducted by Leslie Plommer on 27 May 2003. This interview is part of a series of interviews with Guardian staff who covered the Iraq War of March-April 2003. Also includes a data sheet containing biographical details about the subject and information about the recording, as well as a selection of Guardian newspaper articles published by Jamie Wilson covering the Iraq War.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1
00.15 Introductions
00.20 Jamie Wilson was embedded with the British Navy at the start of the Iraq War
00.28 Being told by the Guardian foreign editor that he would be entered into the pool to be sent to Iraq
01.25 Initially told he would be embedded on a supply ship. As some of the newspapers pulled out, he was transferred to a war ship, HMS Marlborough
02.15 Chemical and nuclear warfare training with the Ministry of Defence at Winterbourne Gunner, Wiltshere
03.00 Further training at RAF Uxbridge
03.15 Hostile environment course which recreated a kidnap situation. Trauma first aid training
04.30 Response of family. Excitement of father
05.20 Ministry of Defence kit list
06.14 The call up
07.20 Met other journalists at the airport and at the hotel. Remembers awful dinner in Bahrain upon arrival
08.00 Remembers lecture with Ministry of Defence staff. Talked through different types of ships
09.10 Panic about using equipment the night before leaving
09.45 Chaos of travel

10.15 On board naval repair ship Royal Fleet Auxilliary [RFA] Diligence
10.43 Interview with Admiral David Snelson, who led maritime operations for the invasion of Iraq
11.30 Spending time on ship
11.50 Socialising with officers
12.00 Arrival with the fleet
12.50 Time spent on aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal
13.20 Joined HMS Marlborough

Track 2
00.05 Week spent on HMS Marlborough before bombardment began
01.05 Only journalist on the HMS Marlborough
02.00 Met by public relations officer on board. Feeling that he was getting in the way on board
02.39 Access on board
02.50 Possibility of censorship
03.44 His first piece on preparations for war
03.50 Discusses role and personality of Commander Mark Anderson
05.00 Feeling amongst crew that they had been at sea for a long time, due to lack of safe space
07.00 Discussion of air cover. Ship provided naval artillery support for marines going to shore
07.50 'Blue on blue' - friendly fire considered to be the biggest danger to coalition forces. The need to be sure of threats before firing stressed
08.45 Sat in on military briefings
09.05 Shadowed for initial days
09.30 Biggest problem faced by Wilson on board was filing copy. Satellite navigation phone and mobile phone taken away while on board
09.48 Only able to file copy via the ships communication system. Lack of real time email

11.58 Speaking to crew as they prepared for war
12.10 Not allowed to file report on the takeover of two oil terminals. Fears over the mentioning of oil terminals
14.30 As an embedded journalist you agree to the rules of the military
14.55 Telephone conversations listened to
15.09 Fears over giving away secrets. Could put peoples lives at risk
16.30 Did not contact family once told about invasion. Fears that any leak would lead to suspicion on him
17.35 Ship bound reporters most restricted in terms of communication and movement
18.30 HMS Marlborough's role in the invasion of Iraq. Use of rivers
19.28 Feeling of being an observer. Did not feel that he was in danger as he was detached from action

20.05 Ship briefings likened to Guardian daily conference
20.55 Issue of mines
22.03 His idea of mines based on Second World War films
22.45 Biggest threat to ships were mines
23.05 Given 48 hour notice that action would begin
23.25 Wearing a flame proof suit, an effect of injuries encountered during Falklands War
24.10 Contents of battle bag
24.20 Difficulty writing with protective gloves and hood
24.45 System of shut down during attack
25.00 Threat of gas attack. Danger of gas floating from land
25.30 Use of anti-nerve agent tablets. Chose not to take these himself

Track 3
00.05 Lead up to bombardment
00.32 Sleeping in the electronic warfare office on board
01.45 Woken to be told the bombardment was starting
02.10 Initial action
03.30 Use of code words
04.30 Changes to game plan
05.30 Unable to file during this period. Levels of silence within the fleet
06.55 Orders received that invasion was to start that night
08.10 Invasion started
09.05 Memories of initial actions taken
09.30 Fire missions allocated

10.10 Upset on board that HMS Chatham was first naval ship to fire as part of Operation Telic
11.45 The white flag of surrender
12.40 Filing copy for the Guardian. Not allowed to quote crew or captain, but provide a report of what he saw and heard
13.27 Found that the email system was down
13.52 Crew keen for report to be in paper. Wanted family to be able to read about their war
14.10 Attempts to file copy via others
14.55 Use of fax machine
15.30 Dictated copy to Guardian over phone. Cost of calling
16.40 Took eight hours to file copy with newspaper
17.10 Planning his departure from the ship following end of action
18.00 Technical changes to copy made by captain
18.35 Division of labour on ship
19.47 Role of captain. In charge of operations room

20.35 Fears of suicide boats and the dropping of mines. Fleeing boats searched
21.20 Royal marines based on ships
22.10 Became friendly with crew. Honesty of crew
23.45 Relations may have been more diffifuclt with crew if anything had gone wrong in action
24.25 Consulted more with officers. Spent time with junior rankings to assess mood of ship

Track 4
00.09 Returning to the Gulf. Role of HMS Marlborough finished
00.30 Leaving the ship. Wanted to watch aid being delivered
01.30 Transferred to Her Majesty's Australian Ship [HMAS] Kanimbla, a ship orchestrating mine clearance off Umm Qasr, Iraq. Officially on loan to ship, but did not return
02.50 Australian journalists on HMAS Kanimbla
04.00 Arriving at a compound housing US, British and Australian troops awaiting arrival of RFA Sir Galahad
05.00 Journalists from Kuwait City upset over attendance of non-embedded journalists
05.50 The Guardian called him back to London. Fears over protection of journalists

Track 5
00.05 Return of satellite phone
00.40 Return to normal life
01.10 Regret over return. Felt he had been made to give up a good position
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess to recording via GNM Digital Repository
FormatElectronic record
CD recording
Minidisc recording
Printed document
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and Jamie Wilson

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NA360Middle East
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