Dear Ministry of Defence: please stop scaring our livestock

British Army WAH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter

British Army WAH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter (Photo 

I write this with the windows rattling and my chair vibrating.  No, not an earthquake in Dorset but yet another VERY low flying helicopter…

We seem to attract large numbers of mostly military aircraft flying usually too low, often late at night, and either in pairs or with one of them circumnavigating us again and again.

There is something quite surreal and distinctly threatening about the throaty thump of rota blades 30 feet above one’s head. I often wonder how the poor people of Vietnam must have felt when these aerial monsters first descended on them.  Much like our livestock did I guess.

A couple of years ago a midnight Ministry of Defence sortie of chinooks thundered over the barns and house, u-turned, and flew over the nearby pastures. Unknown to us our flock of breeding sheep – a large flock, at that time – scattered in all directions into the dark. Rob had the foresight to go out and check around and found poor Hank completely tangled, horns and all, in the electric sheep netting – which was still on and zapping the poor chap. Hank was a big, handsome, Wiltshire Horn ram with a huge pair of horns each weighing 1.5kg.  (I know this because I had to cut them off at a later date when they started rubbing on his cheeks.) The poor boy was so badly ensnared that he could not stand for five days and needed some pretty intensive nursing to get back on his feet.

A seething e-mail to the military was returned with a routine reply that it was necessary to train the boys in the defence of the nation etc, etc. Well as a military child and erstwhile Territorial Army officer I am no stranger to this notion but does it have to be over barns and livestock??

Whilst scanning the media for this year’s best April Fools’ Day offering I wondered whether I had found the reason for the irksome Ministry of Defence interference.  Crispin Black listed his top five ever pranks, which included an extravagant invitation from a 19th century French millionaire to his business rivals. They were to attend a sumptious production in his private opera house. Unknowingly all the bald-headed men were then placed amongst the audience in a particular formation to spell an impolite word that was clearly visible to other guests sitting in the overlooking balcony!

Obviously the layout of our buildings and hedgerows make some sordid design titillating to the pilots. Why else would they keep coming again and again?


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