Roger Bacon: We lost a son and have a right to know

Click to follow
The Independent Online

I feel very strongly that we should be able to attend a public inquiry. From our point of view – as relatives of British soldiers who died in Iraq – we want to hear the evidence first-hand. If you have lost a son, as we have lost our son, or a husband, or a father, you are entitled to know what happened.

I appreciate the sensitivity of some information, but that kind of evidence could be taken in camera, with the general inquiry held in public.

Gordon Brown says privacy is necessary so witnesses can be candid, but if the public is stopped from hearing evidence, those compiling the report can leave out whatever they want. It could be a whitewash.

And I don't think the inquiry need take so long. They could complete it within months if they had the will.

I am glad, though, that the council will look at evidence dating back to 2001. By starting two years earlier, we can get into the reasons why we went into a war that... was illegal.

In addition to the legality of war, a public inquiry should address the lack of proper equipment, specifically the use of the Snatch Land Rovers and lack of helicopters. Matthew died in a Snatch and it will continue to haunt us... at least if the issue is addressed we can find out the truth. Soldiers in Afghanistan continue to have the same problems. If we are... engaged in such conflict they must be properly prepared. We always say lessons will be learnt. That remains to be seen.

Roger Bacon's 34-year-old son Matthew, a Major in the Intelligence Corps, was killed on 11 September 2005 when his Land Rover was hit by a roadside bomb in Basra