Regular readers will know that I love embroidered unit and operation specific t-shirts. These are usually produced in tiny numbers, privately purchased and only issued to those actually involved with a tour or particular role. They are greatly underappreciated and due to the nature of their acquisition there is virtually no published material on them. Tonight we have a lovely example from Operation Telic IV in 2004:The badge on this t-shirt is for ‘3 H2O Troop’:This design features as anthropomorphised water droplet, holding a Zulu shield with the roman numeral ‘V’ and a Union flag with the letter ‘RE’ for Royal Engineers.
My thanks go to the knowledgeable folks of the Facebook site ‘British Military Uniform & Camouflage Collectors Page’ who helped identify this unit as 3 Troop, 5 Field Squadron, 22 Engineer Regiment which was part of the 1st Mechanised Brigade based in Basra. The design of the badge and the reference to ‘H20’ suggests that 3 Troop were responsible for maintaining a clean water supply and a British government website form 2010 highlighted that amongst the many different aid schemes introduced for the people of Iraq one was:
Access to safe drinking water dropped by one third under the previous regime. Twenty potable water treatment facilities have been built or rehabilitated, and nine centralized sewage treatment facilities have been rehabilitated. More than one million people in southern Iraq have improved access to water.
Whilst in Basra itself:
- In 2003, only 23% of Basrawis had access to piped water, by far the worst figures for any of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Only 9% of Basrawis were connected to a reliable sewage system.
- Since then, improvements to water supplies, including pumps for isolated villages, have benefited over 1.25 million people (70% of Basrawis).
- 200km of modern piping have been laid and over 5,000 leaks repaired.
- $160 million invested in modernising and extending sewage system.
- 40km of sewers and 7,000 septic tanks have been cleaned.
- A water training centre in Basra has been constructed to train and increase the skills of Iraqi engineers in water treatment and leakage repair.
- A reverse osmosis unit has been refurbished to supply potable water to about 500,000 people.
- Improved water supply to 60,000 people in Al Amtahiyah (Basra Province).
- DfID power and water projects will employ around 450 people, generate almost 100,000 workdays and secure around 17,000 workdays per year for operation and maintenance.