Afghanistan Patrols ‘Cancelled due to Lack of Ammunition’

March 25, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

British soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol in Sangin district of Helmand province on December 2, 2009. (ABDUL MALIK/AFP/Getty Images)
British soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol in Sangin district of Helmand province on December 2, 2009. (ABDUL MALIK/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON—British patrols in Afghanistan were cancelled owing to lack of ammunition, reveals the diary of a soldier who died in action.

The diary of Warrant Officer Sean Upton, made public as the inquiry into his death opened, also suggests another patrol was cancelled when they ran out of water.

According to The Telegraph the father of two wrote in his diary on June 29th, 2009: "Patrol was cancelled due to lack of ammunition after yesterday's contact.

"Apparently PJHQ [Permanent Joint Headquarters] have worked out a calculation on approximately how much ammunition should be used in a TiC. We used six TiCs worth yesterday."

Two days later WO2 Upton, who was serving with the RA's 5th Regiment in Sangin, wrote: "Today's patrol got cancelled as ammunition still had not arrived."

The diary entry was made just one month before he was killed by a bomb.

His widow, Karen, is the first person to receive the Elizabeth Cross: a new medal awarded to the next of kin for those killed in action as a “mark of national recognition for their loss”.

She said he had never kept a diary before and thinks he started one to reveal what was going on, should he be killed. "I think he knew he was going to die," she told The Sun.

"Reading it makes me feel like he was a sitting duck.

"They used up so much ammunition fighting the enemy and didn't know when the next lot would arrive.”

An Army spokesman told The Telegraph: “Commanders on the ground in Afghanistan have to make tough choices every day and it is not uncommon for them to vary operational tempo and activity based on a wide range of factors including the balance of risk and tactical considerations.

“In the summer of 2009, supply routes in the Upper Sangin Valley were placed under pressure after a civilian resupply helicopter was shot down over Sangin.”