Tag: british-army

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UK ordered to hold inquests into civilian deaths during Iraq war

By Sharon Black

High court rules that up to 161 allegedly unlawful killings by British military should be subject of coroner-style hearings A series of public inquests should be held into the deaths of civilians who are alleged to have been killed unlawfully by the British military following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the high court has ruled. In a ground-breaking judgment that could have an impact on how the British military is able to conduct operations among civilians in the future, the court ruled on Friday that up to 161 deaths should be the subject of hearings modelled upon coroners’ inquests.

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Lee Rigby: an ordinary soldier who died in extraordinary circumstances

By Sharon Black

Woolwich attack victim who served in Afghanistan during one of worst periods of fighting, dies on London street Lee Rigby was born in Manchester, spent a year in Cyprus, and served for six months in Afghanistan with the military during one of the most violent periods of the 12-year-long conflict. His friends and family could never have imagined that the 25-year-old would lose his life in broad daylight, on a busy London street, at the hands of two men wielding knives and boasting allegiance to a virulent form of Islamist extremism.

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Woolwich attack victim named as Lee Rigby

By Sharon Black

Man, 25, killed in Woolwich was drummer in 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and father of two-year-old boy The soldier who was killed in the knife attack in Woolwich has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby, of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The Ministry of Defence released his details on Thursday, a day after the stabbing near the barracks in south London where he had been stationed.

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Woolwich attack victim was serving soldier, police confirm

By Sharon Black

Officials have contacted relatives of dead man, who is believed to have served in Afghanistan Scotland Yard has confirmed that the victim of the Woolwich machete attack was a serving soldier. Though he has not yet been formally named, the Guardian understands he had undertaken one six-month tour of Afghanistan and was stationed at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich

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Falklands war: new study debunks claims of high suicide rates

By Sharon Black

• Suicide rate of veterans similar to that of general population • Vets more healthy than population as a whole • Health care and protecting soldiers increase cost of conflict • Questions over role of army in future conflicts The claim, often repeated in the media and by veterans’ groups, that more Falklands vets had killed themselves than died fighting in the actual conflict, has been roundly rejected by a study especially commissioned by the Ministry of Defence. For years there have been reports that the suicide toll of Falklands vets exceeded the 255 who were killed in action during the conflict thirty years ago. The MoD statistical study, released on Tuesday, concludes that the risk of dying as a result of suicide for the Falklands vets was no different from the general population of the UK

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Plans to part-privatise military procurement come under scrutiny

By Sharon Black

Queen’s speech mentions moves to ‘improve the way this country procures defence equipment’ and boost reserve forces The Queen’s speech mentions two important forthcoming pieces of legislation in defence regarding proposals that are getting more controversial the longer they are scrutinised. The first involves plans to part-privatise the agency within the Ministry of Defence that deals with the buying, supplying and repairing of all military equipment

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The Falklands funeral: how Margaret Thatcher’s military legacy was reflected

By Sharon Black

All regiments involved in funeral for former prime minister had link to south Atlantic conflict Lady Thatcher wanted her funeral to have a Falklands theme, and though no details were thrashed out before her death, the Ministry of Defence had a good idea which units would have to be involved when the planning for the ceremony began. All of the regiments taking part played an important role during the conflict in the south Atlantic – a reflection of the fact that their sacrifices, and successes, underpinned the former prime minister’s significant military legacy.

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Can an army private become a general?

By Sharon Black

Readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts Is it possible to join an army as a private and rise to the rank of general? Has this ever happened in the British Army? Rishi Dastidar, London SE11 • Post questions and answers below or email them to nq@guardian.co.uk

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Report criticises handling of armed forces complaints

By Sharon Black

Commissioner says complaints system in armed forces is too bureaucratic and should be simplified The way complaints by men and women in the armed forces about bullying, harassment, and discrimination are handled is ineffective, unfair and unacceptable, a report says. Dr Susan Atkins, the service complaints commissioner , castigates the way the system deals with cases concerning armed forces personnel

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‘Extraordinary courage’ of soldier killed in Afghanistan earns Victoria Cross

By Sharon Black

Lance Corporal James Ashworth, 23, died in a grenade explosion as he tried to protect his men in Helmand A British soldier who died as he protected the lives of his comrades in Afghanistan is to be awarded the Victoria Cross. The medal recognises Lance Corporal James Ashworth’s “extraordinary courage” while serving with the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards in Helmand province last year. The Victoria Cross, the country’s highest award for gallantry, has been awarded just 10 times to UK soldiers since the second world war

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British soldier Michael Maguire was unlawfully killed, inquest rules

By Sharon Black

Authorities focus on alleged safety breaches after ranger was shot while resting in “secure area” in west Wales live-fire range A British soldier who died when he was hit by a machine-gun bullet at a live-firing range in west Wales was unlawfully killed, an inquest jury has ruled. Ranger Michael Maguire, 20, was shot in the head as he relaxed after removing his armour and helmet at the range in Pembrokeshire

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Iraqis captured by UK troops ‘were told they had been taken to Abu Ghraib’

By Sharon Black

Al-Sweady inquiry into allegations against British troops hears captured Iraqis were played recordings of screams to scare them Iraqis captured by British troops were told they had been taken to the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, used by Saddam Hussein and after the invasion by US forces, and said recordings of screams as though someone was being tortured were played to scare them, a public inquiry into allegations of murder and abuse of unarmed prisoners by UK forces heard on Wednesday. The prisoners alleged they were abused and humiliated after they were taken from a camp north of Basra to a British detention centre at Shaibah further south, Jonathan Acton Davis QC, counsel to the al-Sweady inquiry, said.

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UK to withdraw 11,000 troops from Germany by 2016

By Sharon Black

Defence secretary to announce accelerated pullout, which will require £1bn spend on new UK housing for troops More than 11,000 troops currently based in Germany will return to Britain within three years as part of a major restructuring of the army that will require ministers to spend £1bn on new military homes. The announcement on Tuesday marks a sharp acceleration of the withdrawal of British forces in Germany, which have been stationed there since the end of the second world war.