Soldier joins moor fire battle

William Craib, from Stonehaven
William Craib, from Stonehaven

A young Stonehaven man was among the Scottish soldiers recently called out to help battle the major fire on Saddleworth Moor.

WIlliam Craib was one of 100 troops from A Company, 4th Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4SCOTS) who deployed to the moor from their base in Catterick.

Working alongside firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, the soldiers assisted the effort to reduce and control the fire, undertaking tasks including fire beating, digging trenches, moving the water lines and providing general support where required.

William, 24, only joined the Army in 2017.

Before joining, he worked in construction and security.

He said: “We’ve been doing all sorts. It was very difficult terrain in places and the heat of the sun combined with the heat on the ground didn’t help.

“The firefighters were great. They gave us solid briefings and they took the lead on the ground.

“We worked alongside them fire beating and digging fire break trenches. We also used water packs to spray and damp down the ground as much as we could.”

William added: “It was hard but we got plenty of water and were working on rotation. We worked two hour shifts which was enough in this heat.

“We’re did pretty much anything we could to help the firefighters.”

Meanwhile the Salvation Army, local community and local businesses rallied around to provide food and drink to the soldiers and the firefighters.

Officer Commanding A Company, Major Philip Morgan, said: “The soldiers have done an exceptional job and I am very proud of them.

“We were working arm-in-arm with the fire service and our soldiers have stepped up to the mark and absolutely delivered.

“To see the public support, the donations that are given and the plaudits we get from the fire service saying how energetic, how motivated and how enthusiastic the soldiers all are, is just fantastic.”