Former head of forces backs appeal

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Britain's former top soldier has backed the Royal Anglian's Afghan memorial campaign. Gen Sir Mike Jackson said he supported the EDP-backed initiative, adding it was vital the contribution of soldiers' received ongoing recognition and not just marked once a year during formal remembrance services.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Britain's former top soldier yesterday backed the Royal Anglian's Afghan memorial campaign.

Gen Sir Mike Jackson said he supported the EDP-backed initiative, adding it was vital the contribution of soldiers' received ongoing recognition and not just marked once a year during formal remembrance services.

Sir Mike, who has just written his autobiography, Soldier, about his life in the military, paid tribute to the efforts of the Royal Anglians serving in Helmand Province.

Speaking ahead of a Jarrolds Literary Lunch in Norwich, the former chief of the general staff, welcomed the campaign to raise £100,000 for a fitting memorial to those who have lost their lives in combat against the Taliban.

“They did an outstanding job in Afghanistan,” he said. “It's right to mark it. They have certainly taken casualties.

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“I was talking to a young officer who served alongside them and he was hugely complimentary of their fighting ability.”

Sir Mike, who stepped down in 2006, is known for his forthright views and his blunt criticism of US strategy in Iraq, said since his return to civvy street, he was keen to speak out for better conditions for the rank and file.

“To me the key issues are quite easily defined,” he added. “That we have the right number of soldiers for what we are doing that they are properly and fully trained that their terms and conditions including their accommodation

“We are not quite there in some of these areas.

“We are in the run up to Remembrance Sunday when the nation puts its hands in its collective pocket and remembers those who have given their lives, not just in the two big wars but also the armed forces fighting today,” he added.

PANEL

The 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian regiment has set up a memorial fund to honour those killed and injured during the conflict. It will also help fund a permanent memorial, raise money for the affected families and support those who have been injured in a way that will help them resume their military careers.

Anyone wanting to give to the 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund can make cheques payable to CB 1 R Anglian and send them to Major R C Barrett, Treasurer, 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, Surrey, GU24 0DT.

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