Morale boost crashes computers

In its own spoof of a comic remake of the 1970s hit, “Is this the way to Amarillo?”, the Royal Dragoons Guards tank regiment has caused a sensation, and brought the Ministry of Defence’s computer system to its knees.

Staff Sergeant Roger Parr, a dead-ringer for British comedian Peter Kay, mimics the moves of his more famous look-alike at the unit’s Al Faw base in southern Iraq.

Shot on a squad member’s videocam, the music clip dubbed “Is this the way to Armadillo?” was emailed back to army friends in London.

The four-minute, 52 megabyte file proved so entertaining that it soon spread like wildfire around the defence ministry.

The massive number of downloads overloaded the ministry’s computer system, one of the most sensitive in the country, causing it to crash for five hours.

“We couldn’t believe it when the screens went blank,” on Royal Air Force officer told the Evening Standard newspaper.

“After several hours of staring at nothing we went to the pub and then went home early. But it would have been extremely serious if some big operation had been on the go,” the officer added.

The network is said to control British air defences and warplanes around the world.

The ministry of defence has asked staff and military personnel to stop forwarding the file and are looking into the cause of the disruption.

But the ministry appears equally thrilled by the catchy, light-hearted music clip and a spokesman said the tank regiment will not be disciplined.

“It’s a bit of morale-boosting fun and shows the British Forces are able to keep their chin up,” the defence ministry spokesman told The Times online news service.

Speaking to The Times from the Dragoon Guards’ German base camp, Sgt Parr said the unit had been inspired by Peter Kay’s comic turn with a charity remake of the song that topped UK pop charts for seven weeks.

“We were watching his video out in Iraq and all the lads really liked it. The song became a signature of our time out there,” the soldier reportedly said.

“We got our heads together and got everyone involved in the video. Even the lads with diarrhoea were in the video – they were the ones holding the toilet roll.”

The defence ministry has reportedly offered the video to Comic Relief, a charity campaigning to raise money to alleviate poverty in the UK and the world’s poorest nations.