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  Our man in the Gulf: Watching Saddam topple
Updated 10 April 2003, 14.25
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's been on and off the ship so we have three days' worth in this instalment!


Diary entry 27:

Wednesday:

The statue falls
The statue falls

Like you, I sat in front of a TV today and watched those amazing scenes as the statue in Baghdad was pulled down.

We felt a million miles away from it, although this ship was key in helping the war effort.

The crew watched, as fascinated as I was.

They knew also that this was a key moment. And they could see the results of the work they'd done here during this war.

Later, the man in charge of the Royal Navy taskforce in the gulf chatted to us. He too had been watching.

He also knew it was a significant moment.

But no one on board was going over the top. They were pleased that Saddam's grip on power seems to have gone.

They know the war continues and that people have to carry on their jobs to bring it to an end as quickly as possible.

Tuesday:

Things really are getting very quiet now. The ship feels like a ghost town.

I was used to it with people swarming around, rooms buzzing with messages coming in, news of the war and the fighting.

But now all that has gone.

The main taskforce room where they controlled most of the landings from has been shut down and the team that ran it has mostly gone.

Now we're left with the ship and that's basically all.

People keep jumping on helicopters to head off home and we're down to just the ship's crew.

When a ship like this goes to war, a lot of extra people come on board to work from here. The crew carries on doing their roles, but the others come in to do their bit.

So now that they have, the ship is getting back to normal.

There are two things the crew like about this: one they have their home back.

The other, more important, is that it shows that some day soon they might be able to turn the ship round and head home.

It feels like the job here is coming to an end and now people want to get back to Britain.

Monday:

I went back to Iraq today - close to Basra, Iraq's second city, and the scene of some fighting between British and Iraqi troops.

The road into the city was pretty normal which is weird for a war zone.


People were trundling up and down the road. Some had packed trucks and cars high with things they'd stolen from shops and businesses.

Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is crumbling there is no one to police people.

I met a soldier there and I asked him how it had been.

"Professionally very good," he said. "We've done everything right, in the way we have been trained. It's been good from that point of view.

"But emotionally it's been very difficult. We've seen the Iraqi troops coming out of the city. We tell them to surrender, but they don't and so we have to fire at them. It's like a suicide mission. It's sad."



Watch/ListenBORDER=0
Matt on reporting on shipMatt on reporting on ship
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More InfoBORDER=0
WorldALL Matthew's Diaries
PicturesPix: Matthew's life on board
Find OutFull Iraq section
ClubYOUR reports

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Our man in the Gulf: Boredom on board!
Our man in the Gulf: My cabin on 5 deck
Our man in the Gulf: Crew are missing home

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