Sandy Times, the weekly title that was read by British troops in the last Gulf War, has been revived.
The title, run by the Ministry of Defence, has a distribution of 20,000. It features news for the troops, sports coverage from back home, a messageboard and a satirical column. It is based at an office at the coalition press information centre in Qatar and edited by Graham Bound.
Speaking from Qatar, he said: “We don’t have any phone lines that work to the UK so I’m running up a hell of a bill on my mobile. We brought out a box of two Apple Macs, two laptops and a couple of digital cameras – and we’re using a local printer.” Bound said he expected his mobile to be confiscated. He has also been issued with a respirator and a chemical and biological warfare suit.
“The atmosphere is quite tense and we feel slightly isolated. We’re just waiting like everybody else to see what happens. I have the gas mask and respirator right by my desk so I don’t even have to stop writing.”
Copies are loaded on military transport planes and distributed free to battalions in Qatar and Kuwait. It is also sent to ships in a digital format.
Bound, a former BBC World Service freelance, is also in close contact with Soldier magazine in the UK.
By Ruth Addicott