Face to face with an Afghan war lord

Ian Martin then
Ian Martin then

MOST of us might need a cup of tea to get going in the morning, but for one Boston Borough Council officer a timely cuppa literally saved his life.

Before becoming an economic development officer, Ian Martin was a bomb disposal expert – a job that took him to trouble spots across the world.

During one incident in Afghanistan a Mujahideen war lord ordered his AK47-wielding henchmen to execute Ian when he objected to his stockpile of ex-Russian missiles being destroyed.

Ian’s mission was to destroy the weapons before they blew up and destroyed the surrounding villages and, with the war lord’s men training their weapons on him and his colleague, Ian’s interpreter had to step in to calm the situation.

They sat down for two hours and drank ‘funny tea’ before agreeing on disposing the dangerous items.

Ian only learnt later that the order from the war lord to his henchmen had been ‘kill him’.

Ian said: “The interpreter saved my life, and I made sure we had a good drink (of tea) together afterwards.”

Ian joined the RAF as a school leaver and had a 25-year career with the service, as aircraft technician and then bomb disposal officer.

After serving in Scotland, Ian was posted to Coningsby where he worked on Tornado aircraft as well as having responsibility for clearing up unexploded live ammunition on the ranges at Donna Nook and Wainfleet.

Ian went on to Cranwell where he received the Hallahan Trophy for the top engineering graduate.

He also clocked up service in the Falklands, Bahrain and Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

Ian retired from the air force in 2006 and joined Boston Borough Council.

He has just celebrated graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a Master of Science degree in local economic development. His dissertation was on the impacts of immigration on the economy of south Lincolnshire.

Steve Lumb, head of planning and strategy, said: “Ian has worked hard this year on top of having to complete his degree – weekends spent out on the market and covering for the markets officer, all on top of the day job.

“He’s a guy that the council should be very proud of – someone who has a calm and measured disposition, virtually unflappable and always goes the extra mile.”

Ian is married to Birgit and they have a son, Kyle, 18, and a daughter Charlene, 15.