Soldiers' Families Fears over Iraq Involvement; the Last British Troops Withdrew in May 2011 after a near Decade-Long Military Mission. but Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron Announced Britain Would Move beyond Simply Providing Humanitarian Aid in Iraq. Here Darren Devine Speaks to the Families of Servicemen Killed in the Country about Britain's Renewed Military Involvement

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Soldiers' Families Fears over Iraq Involvement; the Last British Troops Withdrew in May 2011 after a near Decade-Long Military Mission. but Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron Announced Britain Would Move beyond Simply Providing Humanitarian Aid in Iraq. Here Darren Devine Speaks to the Families of Servicemen Killed in the Country about Britain's Renewed Military Involvement


Byline: Darren Devine

IF we simply allow Iraq to slide into bloody chaos were the 179 British military deaths following the 2003 invasion for nothing? But if the only way to ensure our involvement in the mission to topple Saddam Hussein is any kind of enduring force for good is to risk more British lives is it worth it? ese are the questions the Welsh families of soldiers killed after the 2003 invasion are now turning over in their minds. e Government has insisted the UK will not be "dragged into a war in Iraq" after its decision to use spy planes and Tornado jets to help US forces. ey will also arm Kurdish ghters holding out against Islamic State Sunni Muslim extremists.

But fears of "mission creep" will be all too real for families who saw loved ones make the ultimate sacrice only for the region to implode into chaos a few years later.

Among them is Wynford Francis, 70, whose son Lance Corporal Ryan Francis, 23, of 2nd Battalion, e Royal Welsh, was killed on July 7, 2007, in Basra as a result of a roadside bomb.

For Mr Francis, from Llanelli, not a day goes by without his thoughts turning to the death of his son. His wife Alison died of liver and bowel cancer aged just 53 a couple of years ago and Mr Francis can't help but feel her health was made worse by the stress of living with the daily agony of losing a child.

For Mr Francis the speed of Iraq's slide into sectarian bloodshed after the eight-year occupation is demonstration enough any additional loss of British life would be futile.

e retired car plant worker said: "I lost my son seven years ago there and as far as I know or can see it's never changed. To commit troops out there - the same thing could happen again.

"My feelings are that I've lost my son and I don't want the same thing to happen to anybody else's children."

But he admits there are moments when his certainty wavers - the sight of tens of thousands of civilians trapped on a mountainside while Islamic State militants were apparently intent on mass murder was one such moment.

Mr Francis, who believes Iraq's chaos means his son's death was in vain, added: "I'm looking at it because of the loss of my son and maybe I'm selsh in that respect by saying 'No, don't send anybody out there again'.

"I don't know what to think."

With the US carrying out air strikes against Islamic State forces Defence Secretary Michael Fallon revealed at the weekend that the RAF had now deployed the Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft alongside Tornado jets to provide intelligence on extremist movements across Iraq.

Pressure was growing in the days before the decision for Britain to act to prevent further bloodshed - especially against the Yazidi people trapped on the mountainside.

Former head of the Army Lord Dannatt and backbench Tory MP Conor Burns have expressed support for military action. Conservative MPs Nick de Bois and David Burrowes have written to the Prime Minister urging the recall of Parliament to discuss the ongoing situations in Iraq and Gaza. …

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Soldiers' Families Fears over Iraq Involvement; the Last British Troops Withdrew in May 2011 after a near Decade-Long Military Mission. but Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron Announced Britain Would Move beyond Simply Providing Humanitarian Aid in Iraq. Here Darren Devine Speaks to the Families of Servicemen Killed in the Country about Britain's Renewed Military Involvement
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