The Military Army Blog

Families of Iraq War servicemen will be relieved to get Chilcot inquiry report

THE sister of a British serviceman killed in the Iraq War said it would be a “relief” for her family to see the Chilcot inquiry report after waiting for so long. The two-million word report, six years in the making, will be unveiled by Sir John Chilcot tomorrow and is expected to be boycotted by relatives of some of the 179 Britons killed, who fear it will be a “whitewash.”

Flt Lt Kristian Gover, 30, was killed in a helicopter accident in Basra, southern Iraq, in July 2004, and at the time of his death was living in Oxford and based at RAF Benson[1] near Wallingford. Toni Thornalley, 44, who lived in Bampton, West Oxfordshire at the time of her brother’s death, said she and her mother Deirdre Gover, 69, would attend a briefing in London from Sir John tomorrow morning before his report is released.

She added: “It will be a relief to have the report after waiting for it for so long.

“I think it will be helpful for families to hear a summary before everyone else hears.

“To me it will be a tiny bit of closure or a final chapter – I miss my brother every day.”

Ms Gover confronted then Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Guildhall in 2009 after a memorial service for the British personnel who died, claiming he created an “unjust conflict.”

The inquiry was set up by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 and has examined the period leading up to the 2003 invasion, and the years up to the 2009 withdrawal. Liz Cuming, 69, from Kidlington, said she was a trained nurse and a reservist for the Territorial Army in 2003 when she was sent to the Iraq War. She said: “I went out to Iraq in 2003 and spent a full six months out there – I was treating casualties.

“I will be very interested to see what the Chilcot inquiry says – it has been a very frustrating wait for the families of soldiers who died.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith[2] said: “Given the length of time it has taken and its huge cost, the public have a right to expect a truly independent, incisive and evidence-based assessment, including lessons learned.”

Gerrard Jonas, of Fernham, near Faringdon, said he would continue to press for a full inquest into the death of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly. Dr Kelly, of Southmoor, near Abingdon, was found dead in July, 2003 after being named as the source for a BBC report claiming the Government s case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had been exaggerated. The original inquest into Dr Kelly s death at Harrowdown Hill was opened and adjourned, and the then-Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer ordered Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner to adjourn it indefinitely, saying the Hutton Inquiry would fulfil its function instead.

The inquiry said Dr Kelly s death was suicide.

Mr Jonas said: “Sir John Chilcot said from the start that David Kelly’s name would not be mentioned.

“I will continue to press for a jury inquest into Dr Kelly’s death.”


  1. ^ RAF Benson (
  2. ^ Andrew Smith (

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