The officer who has been responsible for training all Bomb Disposal specialists from the Armed Services, Colonel Robbie Hall, is to be the lead speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association at St Nicholas Church Sevenoaks on Monday 11 June at 8pm – although pre-meeting refreshments are available from 7.30pm.
The challenge caused by the Taliban’s use of Improvised Explosive Devices has been the greatest threat to NATO Forces operating in Afghanistan. Those whom Colonel Hall has trained to deal with this menace have had to show great courage, powers of endurance and coolness as well as technical acumen in their task which exposes them to continuous danger.
Colonel Hall has himself displayed these soldierly qualities in his leading a team to defuse a volatile German bomb discovered at the bottom of a gasometer at East Beckford. The situation was sufficiently dangerous to require every building within a radius of 300 metres to be evacuated for 36 hours. The working conditions were hazardous, not least due to the impossibility of using natural or artificial light to see the bomb. The task was successfully completed by touch and feel of the hand. This event has been the subject of one of Michael Buerk’s 999 programmes on BBC television, and Colonel Hall and the two Non-Commissioned Officers who worked with him were all sent to Buckingham Palace to receive the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
Colonel Hall is a worthy successor to General Lod Dannatt who spoke at this meeting last year. All members of the public are welcome to attend.