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Air crews decimated by bug

PUBLISHED: 00:59 09 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:42 03 March 2010

AMRY aircrew have been decimated by a stomach illness that is sweeping through British Forces in Southern Iraq.

One in 10 crewmen in one of three regiment Army Corps' Squadron of Lynx Mark 7 helicopters have been struck down by diarrhoea and vomiting, thought to be caused by inattention to personal hygiene in cramped, desert conditions.

AMRY aircrew have been decimated by a stomach illness that is sweeping through British Forces in Southern Iraq.

One in 10 crewmen in one of three regiment Army Corps' Squadron of Lynx Mark 7 helicopters have been struck down by diarrhoea and vomiting, thought to be caused by inattention to personal hygiene in cramped, desert conditions.

Further to the west of the Army Air Corps' base in the Rumaila Oil Fields "significant" numbers of soldiers in 7th Armour Brigade have fallen to a similar virus.

The introduction of ten-man ration packs and communal eating where the sharing of cutlery and mess tins can be common place is understood to be a likely cause.

Individual 24-hour rations will continue to be the staple diet of 16 Air Assault Brigade's helicopter regiment.

The importance of washing hands and equipment before handling food is today being underlined by officers.

"It's an inconvenience but combat effectiveness has not been affected," said a military spokesman.

One officer said that soldiers living in confined and unsanitary conditions has always been a problem on military campaigns.

Soldiers were happy to hear to day that Saddam's regime was incapable of delivering chemical attacks after a stash of nerve gas and blister agent was discovered in the north of the country by US troops.

In the South resistance in the 16 Air Assault Brigade area of operation has "disappeared" according to latest reports.

Paratroops from 3 Para, who are usually based in Colchester met no resistance yesterday as they cleared the old city of Basra, which is now entirely in British hands.

The army air corps today continued to fly patrols over the port city.


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