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  Our man in the Gulf: War starts
Updated 23 March 2003, 18.46
The Ark Royal
BBC reporter and ex-Newsround presenter Matthew Price is reporting from the aircraft carrier Ark Royal in the Gulf.

Matthew Price
Our reporter, Matthew Price
And he's writing a web diary for CBBC Newsround.

He describes the outbreak of war and the tragedy of losing people

Diary entry nine:

War started today. Early in the afternoon we knew an attack was coming.

The marines on board were getting ready. They shut down communications so we couldn't tell anyone and give the game away.

So we sat and waited.

The BBC is live on board. Reports from Baghdad, from Kuwait, from wherever there was a reporter. Basically everywhere.

Action stations

At 11 in the evening we went to action stations, the highest state of alert. All in white anti-flame overalls to protect us in case of an attack on the ship.

I wandered down to the hanger, taken over by the Royal Marines, their faces painted with camouflage, their backpacks lined up in neat rows.

Around 65kg. Heavy, packed with all their equipment. Red lights only in the hanger, so the night-sights the marines use to see in darkness are not damaged.

We waited for hours, then moved up to the flight deck.

First war

Then - after a slight delay - the helicopters came in. One by one, setting down on the ship's deck. The vast lifts on Ark Royal came to the surface, 30 men at a time.

Facing down, their heads bowed under the weight of the kit they were carrying, they marched to their helicopters, slowly and carefully.

The winds from the helicopter's wings buffering them around. Then they climbed into the helicopters, one by one, helped in by the flight crew, until they were all in and they flew off to Iraq.

For almost all of them, to their first war.

More InfoBORDER=0
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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Our man in the Gulf: Reporting from a ship
Our man in the Gulf: Getting ready for war
Our man in the Gulf: Preparing for war



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