This FSC was part of the fleet taken over by The Queens Royal Irish Hussars when the Regiment was posted to Fallingbostel in early 1990.
The vehicle deployed with the Irish Hussars when they deployed to Saudi Arabia, as part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, in readiness for Operation Desert Storm. The FSC unloaded at the port of AL Jubal in October 1990. It then deployed to the desert with the Regiment when the build-up training commenced. Initially, a number of weeks were spent near the pipelines as the Regiment, Soldiers & Vehicles underwent a period of acclimatisation and modifications carried out the vehicles.
The FSC was initially a Mark 1 (open top) variant and had a 2 man crew. The crew consisted of the Commander who was the Regimental Sergeant Major – WO1 JC Muir and the Driver who was Corporal Desmond Black. Both commander & driver came from the same townland in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland. All vehicles in the Irish Hussar Fleet had names of towns, villages and by coincidence, the FSC name was Tullyard, a village near to where the Commander and Driver came from.
Shortly after the air war started the Regiment began moving up through various staging areas towards where it would cross the start line. The FSC was one of a number which the Regiment was equipped with; each Squadron also had its own.
It was during a stay in one of the staging areas and during a maintenance day that it was ascertained that an Sqn FSC was deemed to be non-operational and could not be repaired. A request was made to transfer the turret of this vehicle and put it on the RSMs FSC. This was agreed and the RSMs vehicle now became a Mark 1 +, which enabled the commander to have some upper body protection against the elements and whatever else it might have to contend with.
The vehicle was used in a number of LO roles and was used in night marches as the regiment and its attachments moved forward. Prior to going through the breach into Iraq/Kuwaitthe Ferret was used to marshal all Irish Hussar BG vehicles by leading them into the correct column in preparation for their move through the breach. During this operation and due to the mileage covered, the vehicle had cause to refuel. At this point, the Ferret then took up its position on the wheeled vehicle route.
Once through the breach, the Ferret then re-joined BG HQ, which travelled behind the lead Sqns as they continued the advance. During the next phases, the FSC along with 3 others became affectionately known as Ferret Force. This ‘force’ provided close protection to RHQ as the advance to contact continued.
During one incident when RHQ came under friendly machine-gun fire, the benefit of having a Mark 1 + (with the turret) soon became evident.
When enemy positions were neutralised the Ferret provided protection when checking the positions, calling forward first aid for the injured and logging positions & details of the deceased. After clearing one such position the Ferret encountered its first mine. Thankfully it was an antipersonnel mine that didn’t cause much damage.
The FSC along with another from ‘Ferret Force’ encountered a number of enemy groups as they surrendered. There was one occasion where the two FSCs & Crews were responsible for corralling 147 POWs, searching/disarming them prior to sending them rearwards.
It was after this incident as the Ferret moved forward to re-join BG HQ, that the Ferret encountered a second mine, this was somewhat larger than the first and caused somewhat more damage to a front-wheel station and tyre. The Ferret became momentarily airborne but thankfully the crew were uninjured. Again the improvised turret protected the Commander from the debris that was thrown up.
When the ceasefire was called and crews and vehicles were accounted for, the FSC was used to navigate around the final enemy position to ensure that underground bunkers were cleared, weapons were unloaded and made safe. The final task along with the Sqn FSCs & Field Engineer support, was to travel along the Basra Road ( within the Irish Hussar area of responsibility) to ensure that enemy battle casualties & fatalities were properly dealt with.