Words of war (part 2)
Story by Stephen J. Thorne
It was the eve of the invasion of Iraq—March 19, 2003—and Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Collins was speaking to his troops of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, at their staging point in Kuwait.
Born in Belfast and a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Collins delivered one of history’s most poignant and elegant battle speeches, all of it off the top of his head.
It has been compared to the Agincourt address in which Shakespeare’s Henry V urges his legions “once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”
That Collins’ words survived at all is thanks to the shorthand of a single journalist, Sarah Oliver of The London Daily Mail on Sunday. There is no recording or film of his address.