Families lay wreath at Downing Street

Time to face the public Mr Bliar..


Relatives of soldiers killed and serving in Iraq have laid a wreath of poppies on the steps of 10 Downing Street.

Rose Gentle and Reg Keys, whose sons died in the Basra area, were joined by relatives of Black Watch soldiers now based at Camp Dogwood, near Baghdad.

The relatives also signed a letter of protest which was handed in to 10 Downing Street.
Transcript of the letter

On a closing note, Geoff Hoon addressed the House and stated the risks on moving the Black Watch were acceptable.

Yet within five days we have five killed and several seriously injured. How is this justifiable?

Well, Mr Blair, you have been true to your word on one point. You are getting some of the Black Watch home for Christmas, tragically injured, maimed and others in body-bags.

Morally unacceptable conduct of a British Prime Minister in the 21st century!
Well said...
And Jim Buchanan threatens TCH on tv...............

Speaking for a hell of lot of people, family, friends alike too.
I don't think it's right to use the period of Remembrance to make a political point. Lay the wreath at your son's grave, or at the Cenotaph, where it belongs. Then make your point elsewhere.
From the Guardian

A father's anger: 'I would kill Geoff Hoon'

The father of two Black Watch soldiers serving at Camp Dogwood in Iraq threatened to kill the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, yesterday because he was a "two-faced lying git".

James Buchanan, whose sons Gary, 27, and Craig, 24, both corporals, were due to return home but then redeployed north to reinforce the American assault on Falluja, said: "This man has got me so angry. If I see him in the street I would kill him. I would kill that man. I would cut his throat."

The former RAF warrant officer's outburst came at the launch of Families Against the War, a group of families who will campaign for British troops to be pulled out of Iraq. They include parents of sons who were killed in Iraq as well as parents of those currently serving.

The launch, on the eve of Armistice day, coincided with an announcement from the Ministry of Defence that two more soldiers had been injured at or near Camp Dogwood, the Black Watch base.

The first, a helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps, was seriously injured when shot at through the windscreen of his aircraft. His co-pilot took control of the Lynx and flew it back to the camp. The pilot was flown to an American hospital in Baghdad. The second soldier was injured in a mortar attack on the helicopter pad inside the camp.

After yesterday's campaign launch, the families walked the short distance to Downing Street to lay a wreath of poppies in remembrance of those killed in Iraq, as well as photographs of their dead sons and a letter to Tony Blair.

Reg Keys, father of Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, one of six Royal Military Policemen killed in Iraq last year, Rose Gentle, mother of Fusilier Gordon Gentle, killed this year, and Theresa Evans, mother of Lance Bombardier Llewellyn Evans, the first British military fatality during the war last year, held each other as they stood in front of the door to No 10.

Mrs Evans had earlier broken down at the press conference when Mr Keys told how her son had died in a helicopter crash which was witnessed by her other son.

She wept as Mr Keys told how she had held two funerals for her son - one for his body and another for further body parts sent to her from America. She wept again when the families passed the Cenotaph on Whitehall which remembers the country's war dead.

In their letter to the prime minister, the families said: "When enlisting, service men and women sign an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty's government.

"All these people ask in return is that their government act in an honourable, truthful and honest manner and only deploy troops into the theatre of war to risk their lives when absolutely necessary, when all avenues of diplomacy have been exhausted.

"To deploy troops based on deceit of WMD is totally morally unacceptable. The blame lies firmly at your doorstep. This was a contrived war, a war of option not of necessity."

The laying of the wreath at Downing Street was a contentious issue, with the families initially being told that they wouldn't be able to do so.

Officials finally relented and after observing a minute's silence on the No 10 doorstep, Mr Keys and Mrs Gentle knocked on the door and went inside for just under a minute.

Their earlier request to meet Mr Blair was dismissed. The families then went to a private meeting with 40 cross-party MPs before taking part in an anti-war demonstration in Parliament Square.

During his outburst, Mr Buchanan explained that none of the families involved with the group were anti-military and that fighting was his sons' job. He added, however, that his sons had not signed up to fight for the Americans or for lies.

He said that Mr Hoon had lied to the Black Watch families for three weeks over what was happening to the soldiers.

Mr Buchanan's son Craig, a Warrior driver, had been close friends with Private Piti Tukutukuwaqa, a Fijian member of the Black Watch who was killed in a suicide bomb attack on Monday. His best man had been killed earlier in the conflict.

Four Black Watch soldiers have been killed in hostile action since the deployment to Camp Dogwood.

A number of others have been injured, some seriously, with one soldier losing both legs.
OldChap said:
I don't think it's right to use the period of Remembrance to make a political point. Lay the wreath at your son's grave, or at the Cenotaph, where it belongs. Then make your point elsewhere.
I quite agree

Lest We Forget
OldChap said:
I don't think it's right to use the period of Remembrance to make a political point. Lay the wreath at your son's grave, or at the Cenotaph, where it belongs. Then make your point elsewhere.
Theres a time and place for everything. Remembrance is not it.

Lest we forget.

Anger is a very powerful emotion and I think these people are being blinded by it. I also believe there are some unscrupulous politicians out there using the peoples' anger to further their political macinations.

I agree with the point they are trying to make but perhaps they should have choosen a more appropriate time for this. Remembrance is for all to remember the fallen, irrespective of political differences.

First and foremost is to remember. Politics comes second
I say this with the deepest sympathy to the families of the soldiers killed on Op BRACKEN. It is a tragedy, but nonetheless, it happened on operations, which are intrinsically dangerous. I myself am currently serving on Op TELIC, along with 9000 other british soldiers, men and women.

I feel however, that the media are overstepping the mark, by allowing something like family grief, to become a public frenzy. I feel it dishonours the memories of those who died, to allow such a sad event to be politicised, dramatised, and plastered all over the news. Let the families grieve in peace, give them space and time to reflect. Do not whip up their emotions, and push them into making such awful comments in a moment of anger. They were soldiers, and good ones too. Let them rest in peace, and let their families be.

Finally, lets stop this Post Diana public mourning, and get back to the stiff upper lip! It's alot more becoming, and shows great dignity and respect.
Exactly - Stiff uper lip never hurt (apart from shaving niks).

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