More Thrills than Skills – A Half-life in Journalism, Part 45

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More Thrills than Skills: A Half-life in Journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

In a war zone like Bosnia, there were generally three types of expatriates on the ground, so to speak. There were the military men, the aid workers and the journalists. The fact is that as the dangers increase so people move, let’s say, closer together.

One of the well-publicised relationships was that of Lt Col Bob Stewart, commanding officer of the Cheshire Regiment. The tabloid press unkindly dubbed him ‘Bonking Bob’ after the news broke of his relationship in Bosnia with a representative of the Red Cross and the failure of his own marriage. The winter of 1992-3 was particularly hellish in central Bosnia and Bob was, effectively, the captain alone on the bridge as violence erupted all around his isolated peacekeeping mission.

At the time, journalists working regularly around the base in Vitez knew full well what was going on and all were agreed this was not a fit matter for the public print. Besides, many of them were themselves married men trying to bury the trauma caused by what they were seeing and experiencing every day by way of intense, short-lived