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Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe foresaw his own death!
Damning memo: Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, the most senior casualty of
The most senior soldier to be killed in Afghanistan foreshadowed his own death in a damning memo about the shortage of helicopters.
Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe told his superiors that many more British troops would die because they were being forced to make trips by road.
Less than a month later on the 1st of July 2009, he was blown up by a roadside bomb!!
The leaked memo dramatically undermines Gordon Brown's naive claims that helicopter shortages have not caused the deaths of troops fighting the Taliban.
It amounts to a devastating condemnation from beyond the grave of Labour's stewardship of the war in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, 39, commander of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, died with Trooper Joshua Hammond when their convoy set off an improvised explosive device (IED) during a patrol north of the town of Lashkar Gah.
On June 5, he had chillingly predicted the circumstances of his own death in his weekly report to the Ministry of Defence.
Headed 'Battle Group Weekly Update', it reads: "I have tried to avoid moaning about helicopters - we all know we don't have enough, but we obviously cannot carry out our usual army operations without people moving around, so this month we have conducted a great deal of administrative movement by road. This increases the IED threat and our exposure to it."
Victim of a Taliban booby-trap bomb: Thorneloe with his children Hannah and Sophie :
Colonel Thorneloe goes on to spell out in graphic terms how he had 'virtually no' helicopters of the type which would allow him to move troops by air rather than road. He added: "The current level of SH (support helicopter) support is therefore unsustainable."
In a damning assessment of Nato operations, he concluded by saying that "the system used to manage helicopter movements in Afghanistan is very clearly not fit for purpose."
Another leaked report by a senior officer in Afghanistan, written on July 10, proves that the problems still persisted.
It reads: "Aviation has been erratic throughout this week. This has forced us to conduct more road moves than I would like. I understand the strains in the fly programme but any improvement would greatly assist."
The officer added that he had received just half the helicopters he had requested for operations that week. And he also complained about the 'attrition of Vikings' - armoured vehicles overused because of the helicopter shortage.
Yet just two weeks later, on July 22 the Prime Minister insisted that soldiers had not died because of MoD penny pinching. He told Parliament: "In the operations we are having at the moment it is completely wrong to say that the loss of lives has been caused by the absence of helicopters."
The memos were leaked by a disgusted MoD official to Tory MP Adam Holloway, a former Grenadier Guards officer who regularly visits Afghanistan.
In an email, the official referred to the second memo, telling the MP: "As you can see, the situation is no change, despite Rupert Thorneloe's death. Still no aviation, still unnecessary administrative road moves which are killing people. Still claims by the Government that the military have got enough helicopters and all the tools they need. Lies, lies and more lies!!."
Mr Holloway told the Mail: "What a heart-wrenching irony it is that Lieutenant Colonel Thorneloe wrote those words. It must have been terrible for him as the commander of 800 men to know that their lives were being put in danger every day because the Government, in whose name he had taken them to war, would not spend the money to make it safer for them to move across country."
He added that "defence chiefs should be ashamed - hopefully now they will at last do the right thing and get our troops off the roads and into the air where they are safer."
Mr Holloway has written a devastating critique of the handling of the war in a pamphlet shortly to be published by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank.
It reveals that despite clear evidence that a shortage of helicopters is killing British troops, defence chiefs are still refusing offers to supply more.
Prediction: Lt-Col Thorneloe told his superiors many more British troops would die because they were being forced to make trips by road.
Only last month, the Ministry of Defence turned down another offer of helicopters which could double Afghanistan flying hours for British troops fighting the Taliban. The Mail has independently confirmed that former RAF pilots offered to supply 25 helicopters within three months to back up the Chinook fleet which is stretched to breaking point.
The deal would have cost the MoD just £7million a month - a relative drop in the ocean - but the offer was rejected because the RAF did not want to share a role with private contractors.
Lieutenant Colonel Thorneloe and his widow Sally had two daughters, Hannah, four, and two-year-old Sophie. At his funeral the mourners included the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who knew him well.
In a statement yesterday, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: "My thoughts remain with the family and friends of Lt-Col Rupert Thorneloe, who was a courageous soldier and a fine man. Our brave forces deserve the very best equipment and we remain determined to provide it. We know the value of helicopters on operations, and that commanders could do more with more. That is why we have increased the numbers and types, improved engines and almost doubled flying hours. To counter the roadside bomb threat we have also been improving unmanned air surveillance."
October 29, 2009 - Mother's anger at Help for Heroes 'snub'
Beth Hoyle said she was turned away from tills at Asda because a checkout operator objected to her Help for Heroes charity band - telling her she was 'supporting the war'.
Mrs Hoyle said a supervisor at the store in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, backed the worker.
Asda, which sells the Help for Heroes wristbands in some of its stores, last night said it was taking the complaint very seriously.
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The IRA lynch mob murders
It happened on Wednesday, March 19, 1988, when two British soldiers in plain clothes - Corporal David Howes and Corporal Derek Wood both of the Royals Corps of Signals - mistakenly blundered into the funeral cortege of an IRA man who had been killed in a loyalist attack on another paramilitary funeral.
Initially mistaken for loyalist terrorists and trapped in their car, they were dragged out in front of the world’s press and viciously beaten in nearby Casement Park. Minutes later they were executed as suspected SAS members!
Brutality: Catholic priest Father Alec Reid administers the last rights to Corporal David Howes, one of two British soldiers brutally beaten and murdered in Belfast in 1988.
(Pictured on the right, Father Reid tried to save the two soldiers).
A Roman Catholic priest kneels in a car park as he administers the last rites
over the bloodied and almost naked body of a British soldier. It is an iconic
image, a horror frozen in time.
Contemporary TV and photographic footage from the large media presence shows the
funeral cortege advancing slowly along Andersonstown Road towards Milltown
Cemetery, headed by a number of the black taxis favoured by the IRA.
The crowd briefly scatters before surging forward again. The men are now
hopelessly trapped. One of the crowd smashes the front passenger window with
something in his hand. He and others begin to try to haul Corporal Howes out.
‘They put the two of them face down on the ground and I got down between
them . . . I had my arm around this one and I was holding the other by the
shoulder,’ recalled the priest.
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