Iraq victim's mum begins campaign bid

From BBCi

The mother of a Scots soldier killed in Iraq has called for a meeting with "the top man" Tony Blair to convey her anger over her son's death.
Gordon Gentle, 19, who served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, died in a roadside explosion in Basra in June.

Rose Gentle believes the Ministry of Defence was negligent and breached its duty of care towards her son.

She said her family, from Glasgow, wanted to see the prime minister to ask him about his policy in Iraq.

They have already revealed plans to sue the MoD over Private Gentle's death.

Mrs Gentle believes her son's death could have been avoided if his patrol had been equipped with an electronic signal jamming device.

She said this could have stopped the bomb being detonated.

Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Mrs Gentle said: "I want to see the top man.

"If I met Tony Blair right now, I would ask him to sit down and think why he is sending young kids to their death for the sake of lies which are coming out.

"He said if there were no nuclear weapons he would resign, so why is he going to be sending more young kids out there?"

John Cooper - the barrister who represented relatives of the soldiers who died at the Deepcut Army Barracks - will handle her case.

Mrs Gentle previously stormed out of a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott after accusing him of "talking rubbish".

She said: "After our experience with John Prescott, we are more determined than ever to stick at it, in the hope that we can help prevent other families from having to go through the loss and suffering we have faced.

"I am sure thousands of other families feel the same as us, and want our sons and daughters home out of Iraq."

She also claims the MoD placed a jamming device on Pte Gentle's vehicle only hours after it was attacked.

Mrs Gentle said: "It was just sheer neglect, why didn't they put it on in the first place?

"Every time something happens with the Army there's always a cover-up so I think it's time somebody started putting their points forward."

Scottish Socialist Party member George McNeilage also claimed Pte Gentle would still be alive if the MoD had fitted his vehicle with a new piece of equipment.

He said it was a jamming device which was not installed in the vehicle Pte Gentle was travelling in.

Labour MP Eric Joyce, a former Army major, expressed sadness and sympathy for Mrs Gentle's loss.

However, Mr Joyce said the death of soldiers was an inevitable consequence of deploying troops.

He added: "Protection is an important priority for any commander, but you cannot, ultimately, remove the risk of someone putting a bomb at a roadside and waiting for troops to come along.

"As far as electronic devices are concerned, there can be no way of preventing this kind of incident absolutely, it would be quite impossible, some devices have no electronic impulses."

The MoD has offered its sympathies to the Gentle family but said it could not discuss details of protective equipment made available to soldiers.
I greatly sympathise with the Lady but the article leaves me with a couple of niggling worries, both concerning the number of families of soldiers killed in Iraq who seem to be lacking information about how their son/daughter/ wife/ husband etc... died.
:( :( :(
It seems to me that either the MOD is not being quick enough and proactive enough with the relatives of dead soldiers so that they feel in the dark and want/need to find out more.

Or that some very low and underhand charcters are using this/these families grief as a weapon to use against the government in order to further their own political agenda.

I suspect that it a case of both together. The MOD must be more open with the relatives of dead soldiers and do everything in their power to let them now as much about what happeed as possible. It is only right and fair and should stop political cicuses like this one being made out of practically every soldier death on Ops.
chicken_jim said:
It seems to me that either the MOD is not being quick enough and proactive enough with the relatives of dead soldiers so that they feel in the dark and want/need to find out more.
Totally agree, after watching the Scottish Socialist Party in action in Holyrood on many an occasion it seems true to their form and wouldn't put these underhand tactics past them.

On the information front, I wholeheartedly agree that relatives whould be given a fuller explanation as to the circumstances behind their loved ones death within reason and without contravening security conventions etc. This should allow a certain amount of closure to the matter and hopefully negate "campaigns" like this ensueing in the future.

My niggle however is that the mothers campaign is utterly futile and a kneejerk reaction, catalysed by the evident SSP influence. The one fact that she seems to have forgotten is that the Government does decide to pull out all Britfor from the theatre the before Iraq becomes secure / stable enough to stand alone those British casualties would have died / been injured for nothing. The blokes have a purpose being there, is it really good for morale negating that and making the blokes realise they were there for nothing.

She should just get on with grieving and leave the politics to the politicians.

Our thoughts in no doubt are with all families in this postition and as Plant Pilot says below I hope their grief fades but they will never be forgotten.
Any parent would want to find out exactly why their child died and strive to ensure that another parent doesn't have to go through the same pain. That is natural.

However what we can't forget is that her son was old enough to serve in an operational area, was fully trained and had volunteered for service in the army, knowing that there was a chance that he may be putting himself in danger. We all have to consider that possibility.

To pull our troops out of Iraq before the country is as near to stable as we can get it would mean that her son and others had died for nothing. Also, as with Deepcut, endless enquiries and the call for an expensive public enquiry that would probably not be able to prove anything can only prelong the suffering of the families.

John Cooper should allow the families to remember their loved ones without earning money off the back of false hopes and ideas that any one person can be blamed. Even if ECM was in place there is no guarantee that the device couldn't have been initiated by some other method. An operational fact.

Yes the MoD have a duty to inform the family of what has happend, but too much too soon can be seen as insensitive or leave families with information that is inaccurate or unconfirmed. If it's too late then they are seen as covering things up or not caring. Damed if you do and damed if you don't.

I hope their grief fades but they never forget.
Having heard the SSP pillock talking on the radio about how this lad was an "economic conscript" I have little respect for their arguement. Even if there was a new bit of ECM gear, why should this guys patrol be kitted out any better or worse than anyone elses. In NI we were always underkitted in terms of ECM kit. Nor can ECM equipment protect against other forms of attack - RPGs, command wires, etc. I can sympathise with Fusilier Gentle's mother for her loss, but surely, after original Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan surely he and his family must have been aware of the risks of being in the armed forces.
I agree with all of the above. There's also the point that a jammer might not have been effective against the type of IED command detonation which killed the lad and injured another. From what I've heard, it was wire-controlled. Sad that the boy was killed, but no one forced him to enlist.

The Israelis lost a lot of soldiers to roadside devices in Lebanon even though they were lavishly equipped with jammers and other state-of-the-art kit.
All the ECM in the world cannot prevent a wire command detonated device from functioning.

I really feel for her loss but what does she think her son was doing in the Army and the Infantry no less? Nothing good will come of this, all it will do is make her bitter and twisted.
I accept all the above but there is surely a lesson for the MOD in terms of equipping properly? (I know this subject has been done to death on this site).

If ECM kit is considered the norm then all vehicles in this type of situation should have it. For some to have it and others not isn't far short of immoral and it can probably be argued by the legal beagles that the duty of care has been breached (hence this case?). This won't deal with command wires but it may help stop others.

Sometimes employers need a legal jab to get them moving to do what they should have done all along.
Agree with all that's been said here. The SSP are a bunch of fruitcakes..... however, the lady in question does have a valid point. Bliar did say that if there were no WND in Iraq then he would resign. That seems to me to be a fair point.

Where are the WMD????????

However, exploiting this yound lad's death for political ends serves no purpose and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Iraq is a thorn in the side of this Government. A thorn they created. And its a thorn that created a septic wound that is harming the UK.

We have a government that has done nothing to safeguard the UK..... porous borders....... blackening the name of honest people highlighting this issue (see Sunday Times report re: MigrationWatch)...... mad mullahs all over the place...... defence cuts... overstretch...... its a compete dog's dinner.

Taxi for Big Kahoona!!!
Hello everyone, been lurking around here for a while. This is my first post :D

John Cooper - the barrister who represented relatives of the soldiers who died at the Deepcut Army Barracks
Not to shake any skeletons out of the closet, but does anyone know of the incident a Deepcut Army Barracks? What happened there? Just got my curiousity.

With regards to the topic of this post, all I can say is that it is always a sad thing when someone dies so young, under any circumstance.

Phasespace, just do a search in google.

I can't help but feel that someone should take Mrs. Gentle aside, and gently push her energy, rage and grief in a direction where it may have some effect.

I fear she is on the road to humiliation and frustration, and that I am certain, is the last thing her family, or the Regiment want. If she continues down this path, she will simply become unnewsworthy, and defeat whatever she is trying to achieve.

Maybe she should take a leaf from Reg Key's book? Dignity with thorns.

Just my opinion.
As with everyone on this thread I feel deep sorrow for Mrs Gentle, I cannot imagine how much it must hurt to lose a son under any circumstances.

However, why is it that when a life is taken in a incident like this, people are always keen to attempt to punish the government and make as big a deal of it as possible.

but we always hear of people being murdered on our streets, and when the perpertrator is found, they get off with a slap on the wrists and a poxy 7 year sentence.

I think that Mrs Gentle has been approached by some lawyer who has seen this as a good case to make some money and they have pushed her to take it further. Obviously in the case on the street when someone is murdered, there is no money to be made so therefore most lawyers wouldn't be interested.

Also, when i joined, I had to sign a piece of paper that said someone along the lines of:

1. I had to be aware that I could at times be cold and wet

2. I had to be aware that the military was incompatible with certain lifestyles, e.g. drugs or Homosexuality (Obviously this was before the change in the laws)

3. I had to be aware that I might be badly injured or killed.

Does this still happen and how robust is a document like this in court?
The lad's mum is over-reacting - and I'm sure we can all understand why. However, let's not lose sight of the fact that she probably would not have if the system (MoD, Army, whoever) treated her properly and with respect. One common thread running through the reports of suicides and losses in combat is the way that the relatives of the deceased feel badly treated. One you could put down to circumstance, but all of them ? Let's not let the people responsible for treating relatives so shabbily get away with it because some other bunch of loons is using this poor woman's grief for their own ends.
PhaseSpace said:
Hello everyone, been lurking around here for a while. This is my first post :D

John Cooper - the barrister who represented relatives of the soldiers who died at the Deepcut Army Barracks
Not to shake any skeletons out of the closet, but does anyone know of the incident a Deepcut Army Barracks? What happened there? Just got my curiousity.

With regards to the topic of this post, all I can say is that it is always a sad thing when someone dies so young, under any circumstance.
Sorry, but this sounds like the sort of post a jerno digging for some juicy inside info would post. Either substantiate your interest or try somewhere else.
ok now, i have full body armour on so you cant hurt me....

Can we stop pusy footing around the subject and those from scotland will agree, the area this "lady" comes from is full of pikey kev scum.

It is the scottish homeland of the havenotwillclaim and to be honest in her grief, which i'm sure is both true and deep, some of the equally pikey members of local community inbetween buckfast swilling have advised her to get paid as its obvious that no one dies in a war where we are obviously technologically superior and IED's arer the thing of hollywood

she's a pikey, and its a shame her son died but he was trained he was old enough and he was in a forward area. Sorry, but there have been many young men lost in this conflict and their familes didnt have the joy of a conversation with the deputy PM who tried to explain the exact manner of their offsprings departure from this planet.

I am also sure that this woman was the first to hug her son on his passing out and her house was adorned with many No.2 rifle and bayonet pictures.

ok, rant over, you can hurt me now

It's staying because I'd like to see the replies too

Capt Cheeky said:
Fuse lit......

Fuse fizzing.....

Flame approaching powderkeg.

Err Stand-By Troopie..... 8O
Pfffut! Must be a dud.

Appart from not knowing the area of Scotland Troopie's on about I agree with him. His points are valid. As the lawyers were there even before the tabloid press were, there's more than a good chance that the publicity and outrage is compensation lead. Wheather this is their own idea or from others on a %age I couldn't say. What I can say is that if true, it cheapens the value of a soldiers life, instead of grief and pride in a loved on serving his country, you are left with a feeding frenzy of compensation seeking reletives.... very sad.
Unfortunately the lawyers don't have a clue. If they think one bit of EW kit will stop all IEDs then they are stupid. They are going to cause this woman even more grief and waste alot of tax-payers cash on a fools errend.
Somebody should print out these comments (possible sans Troopies remarks) and send them onto her....

The truth to the matter is so bloody obvious as is the probable outcome hence why her campaign is...




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