RAF sends airmans family £1,000 funeral bill

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Feb 25, 2007.

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  1. RAF sends airman's family £1,000 funeral bill

    The Royal Air Force has been accused of a "betrayal of the highest order" after refusing to pay a £1,000 bill for flowers and tea at the funeral of an airman killed on operations in Afghanistan.

    Flight Sergeant Gary Wayne Andrews, a 48-year-old father of two who had served in the RAF for more than 30 years, was one of 14 servicemen killed after a Nimrod MR2 reconnaissance aircraft crashed in Afghanistan in September last year.

    The crash, which left nine women widowed and 17 children fatherless, was the largest loss of life suffered by Britain's armed services since the Falklands War in 1982. All Nimrod MR2 aircraft were grounded on Friday after a routine safety check revealed a dent in a fuel pipe.

    Flt Sgt Andrews's parents, Peter and Joyce, both 74 from Nottingham, learned that the RAF was refusing to settle the bill after receiving a letter from the funeral director. The letter said that while the RAF were prepared to pay funeral costs of £3,249 they were not prepared to pay a £425 bill for flowers or £606 for tea and biscuits consumed by the 300 people who attended the funeral in November last year.

    The RAF's refusal to pay the funeral bill in full has been condemned by MPs and colleagues of the late serviceman as a disgrace and a further example of the Government's poor treatment of the family's of servicemen who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Peter Andrews, who served in both the RAF and the Royal Engineers for more than 22 years, said that he did not think it was "unreasonable for the RAF to pay a bill for flowers and tea for a man who had given his life in the service of his country".

    He said: "The Government has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on the war in Iraq and millions on the Jorge Mendonca trial yet they were not prepared to pay the bill for my son's funeral.

    "My wife and I were both hurt when we received the letter from the funeral director. I haven't even told Kristina, Gary's widow, because I didn't want to upset her and I'm glad the funeral director sent the bill to me rather than to her.

    "I'm not bothered about the money, it's just the attitude of the RAF. My son laid his life and the MoD can't be bothered to pay a bill for tea and biscuits and flowers at the funeral. Given that Gary died as a result of mechanical failure in an RAF aircraft, I don't think it would be unreasonable for the RAF to pick up the bill. But to say 'We will pay for the funeral but not the cost of the flowers or refreshments is just distasteful'.

    "Gary's funeral was attended by 300 people some of whom came from as far as the United States. There were colleagues who came back to Britain for a week and went to five funerals. The least we could offer them was a cup of tea."

    The letter from the Graham J Rattray funeral directors, said: "I have not burdened Kristina with this and find it a disgrace and very disrespectful that the RAF would not settle the complete amount in honour of someone who lost his life serving his country."

    The cost of a wake is sometimes paid out of a unit commander's own budget and is done so at his discretion. A former colleague of Flt Sgt Andrews, who asked not to be named, said that the RAF's position was "indefensible". The officer said: "It's a -disgrace that Gary's family should be treated like this. I hope who ever made this decision is proud of their actions."

    Gerald Howarth, the Tory MP and chairman of the all party RAF group, said the -refusal of the MoD to pay the bill amounted to a betrayal of the armed forces. "These men effectively died in action. The very least the MoD could do is pick up the funeral bill."

    A spokesman for the MoD said: "The cost of flowers and a wake are regarded by the MoD as personal expressions of sympathy and cannot be paid for by public funds."

  2. Surprised? I am not. Not after what is happening at Walter Reed.

  3. I wonder wether this bit of brilliant morale raising news was worth the thousand pound saved, The MOD response

    A spokesman for the MoD said: "The cost of flowers and a wake are regarded by the MoD as personal expressions of sympathy and cannot be paid for by public funds."

    30 Years service killed by a fault with an MOD Aircraft shows the usual shiney arse sympathy at MOD
  4. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    Arrse Whip round?

    Feckin disgraceful
  5. No. Do not pay. Ask 'do-gooders' not to pay. If those grave robbers at RAF want their money, let them fight for it. Maximum exposure as to how the supreme sacrifice is valued.
    If this sort of thing normally comes from unit comds fund, why ws it not taken from there in this case?
    Maximum exposure. Ask the wid mouth frog for it from the money she leeches out of the Americans on the back of her old man's puppy dog-like support of Bush
  6. The best whip around we could have on arrse, is for a good Solicitor for the family to fight this! F**king disgraceful!
  7. This makes me very angry. My first thoughts were about SSAFA representatives at RAF Kinloss trying to lean on the MoD to get them to pay, but then I wonder about Old Red Cap's suggestion of refusing to pay, and letting the disgraceful thing have an airing in public.

    I like O.R.C's idea, but don't like the distress it is likely to cause the family.

    So back to SSAFA at RAF Kinloss. Can they take up a case with the MoD ?
  8. Can somebody remind me please how much those new chairs at the MOD cost.Just to put things into perspective,fcuking disgraceful
  9. A disgrace. That's all!
  10. An utter disgrace am seething so will post longer when I have calmed down
  11. This is apparently normal practise, my son's funeral was £1,500. I had service sheets printed, which cost £150, I was surprsied some time later to receive the bill from the funeral directors asking for this extra amount. Anything other than the'standard funeral' is not paid for, that includes flowers,etc.
  12. What an absolute disgrace.

    Unfortunately if the bill is not paid it is the funeral directors who will suffer, if only in commercial terms, and MoD's churlishness in not settling the bill in full and then seeking to recover the additional cost separately is indicative of just how mean-spirited they are. I suspect that had they informed the Stn Cdr of the outstanding amount it would have been quietly sorted - telling the funeral director to sort it out themselves is disgusting.

    This goverment has been signally profligate; the money wasted on all sorts of projects is lamentable, and yet they seek to save pennies in circumstances like these. How many minutes of management consultancy would this £1000 buy?

    I shall be writing to my MP.
  13. If the Rt Hon Mr Blair was to pass away "in office" wouldn't the govt pick up the full cost of the "state" (sic) funeral ? I bet they wouldn't charge Mrs Booth the cost for the slap up sarnies.

    Mind you.. many might whip around to see that happen.

    I really don't think that sh1t would happen in Finland. Thankfully.

  14. You have my complete sympathy,you deserve so much more and my thoughts are with you
  15. mere seconds