Thursday 8 November 2007

Gordon Gentle Inquest

The coroner in the Gordon Gentle inquest ruled yesterday that a logistics error led to the unlawful killing of the young soldier. The jeep he was travelling in was not fitted with the latest radio jamming technology which protects vehicles from IEDs.

Pamela Gentle, Gordon's sister has written about the inquest's findings at Military Families Against the War. She says:
"Well the inquest has nearly finished and so far we have been told what we already knew - my brother was killed for nothing. Says in the paper it prompted allegations of Ministry of Defence failings. Well the more I hear of this jamming device not being fitted - it could have saved Gordon’s life and was in a store room. Would you not say that the MoD are failing? I wouldn’t say it was an allegation I would say it’s the truth. Wouldn’t you? It makes me sick."
"I just wonder how some off these MoD people would feel it it was their son or daughter? And not just the MoD but the man who decided that our boys and girls should have to go to a war zone that had noting to do with us....We were a happy family the 5 of us but now there's something missing. Gordon will always be with us but it’s not the same. How would he feel if he was to never see his son again, never see him smile again, never being able to give him one more hug. I don’t think you would like it. I will tell you why, because it hurts so much you will never know Blair."
I very much doubt Tony Blair is going to enter the fray, but the MoD has this to say about it all:
"The protection of our troops in the face of lethal threats is of paramount importance and the Ministry of Defence takes all available measures to minimise the risks...

The Ministry of Defence’s internal Board of Inquiry in 2004 had similarly identified failings that contributed to this incident and made 12 recommendations, all of which were accepted and have since been implemented.

Following an investigation by the Royal Military Police (Special Investigation Branch) into the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident, the independent Army Prosecuting Authority considered the case and concluded that disciplinary action was not warranted.

The Chain of Command similarly found no grounds to initiate administrative action against any individual.

Tragically, a unique combination of events resulted in the death of Fusilier Gordon Gentle from an Improvised Explosive Device detonated by insurgents."

Here's a short extract from a video made soon after his death in June 2004. About halfway through Rose Gentle suggests that although she wasn't aware of it at the time, she saw images of the blown out jeep and her son on television before she was informed of her son's death by military representatives.


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