A Special Kind of Courage


Ryder, Chris

28/04/2005 | Hardback |

ISBN: 9780413772763

About A Special Kind of Courage

Filled with extraordinary heroism and drama, this is the official story of the British Army's most decorated unit - its Northern Ireland bomb disposal squadron.

321 EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Squadron was posted to Northern Ireland at the outset of the Troubles to provide bomb disposal expertise. Since then it has answered over 50,000 'bomb scare' calls, over 5,500 of them to deal with actual devices. It is impossible to estimate the number of lives, or value of property, saved by its work. But the cost is clear.

Conspicuous courage is an essential qualification and 321 EOD is the most decorated unit in the entire British Army. Its members have been awarded 2 George Crosses, 29 George Medals and 281 other medals for outstanding gallantry. 20 officers have lost their lives; 24 have been severely injured. One still serves despite the loss of a hand. It is grimly appropriate that the unit has as its mascot and radio call-sign the cartoon cat, Felix, with his nine lives and ability to withstand mayhem.

As peace emerges in Northern Ireland, 321 EOD is now ready to tell its story for the first time. 

Written with its full co-operation, A Special Kind of Courage traces the history and development of bomb disposal and the use of explosives by terrorists; the human courage and techniques used to counter it; and the international dimension - how violent revolutionary groups abroad, such as ETA in Spain, copied the methods of Irish terrorists. It describes how 321 EOD's pioneering devices - notably the remote-controlled 'wheelbarrow' - have been exported around the world, earning it a global expertise that is sought by many other nations facing the threat of terrorism.

Written with the full co-operation of past and present members of the squadron, and with a new Postscript for the paperback edition, this is the extraordinary story of the courage, skill and cool professionalism of the most decorated unit in the British Army.


Chris Ryder

Chris Ryder


'This remarkable books stands testimony to an inspirational record of public service'

Lt. Gen. Sir Alistair Irwin, GOC Northern Ireland 2002-03


'Incredible tales of heroism in the face of absolute danger. A thrilling read'

Western Mail

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