Mother of dead Briton who fought in Ukraine says Liz Truss has ‘blood on her hands’

Harry Gregg was just 23 years old when he enlisted to fight in Ukraine

Tom Watling
Friday 15 March 2024 11:39 GMT
(Sandi Gregg / SWNS)

The mother of a young man who took his own life after fighting on the frontline in Ukraine has accused Liz Truss of “having blood on her hands” for previously encouraging Britons to join the war.

Harry Gregg was just 23 when he enlisted to fight in Ukraine. His only previous military experience was six years in the Army Cadets during secondary school.

According to his family, he decided to go after the then-foreign secretary, who was Mr Gregg’s local MP at the time, said she “absolutely” supported Britons who wanted to travel to fight the Russians, arguing they would be joining a battle “for democracy”.

“If people want to support that struggle, I would support them,” Ms Truss said, just five days after Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale invasion on 24 February.

At the time, Downing Street quickly distanced itself from the comments, while a week later Ms Truss retracted her statement, saying there were “better ways” to contribute to the war effort. But Mr Gregg’s mother, Sandi Gregg, 57, said the damage had already been done.

She told the Daily Mail: “He suffered from ADHD and was very impetuous. He phoned me the day after Liz had said that and told me ‘Mum, I’m going to Ukraine’.

“He couldn’t be talked down from it. To all intents and purposes he had no military experience whatsoever. Liz Truss has blood on her hands.”

Mr Gregg, from Thetford, Norfolk, went on to do three tours in Ukraine, eventually serving with the 48th Assault Battalion believed to have been formed in late 2023.

He earned the nickname “Eagle” from other soldiers and witnessed first-hand the graphic atrocities of First World War-style trench combat.

Ms Gregg said: “He ended up with one of his colleagues’ brains all over his uniform and he had to put him in a body bag and drag him out of the trenches.”

She recounted how the training camp where her son, who had ADHD, had first arrived was later bombed by Russia. Though Mr Gregg was not injured, his friend was severely hurt.

When he returned from Ukraine, his mother said her son had a “sadness about him”. “He was broken,” she told the newspaper, having said that before he left, he always had a “big grin on his face”.

An inquest into Mr Gregg’s death at Norfolk Coroner’s Court last week found that the young man took his own life on 15 December last year, just hours before he was due to celebrate his 25th birthday with friends.

A coroner said Mr Gregg had spoken to a GP about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but failed to attend appointments with a mental health worker.

They said he “died due to a deliberate hanging but his intent is unknown and his cognition may have been impaired by the use of recreational drugs”.

Ms Truss issued a statement yesterday offering her condolences to Mr Gregg’s family.

She said: “I am very sorry to hear of Harry’s death. My thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in