The Military Army Blog

Father of soldier killed in Iraq hopes lessons will be learned following the Chilcot report

THE FATHER of the 100th soldier to be killed in Iraq has said he hopes lessons will be learned and other service men and women will be spared the same fate as his son. Second Lieutenant Jonathan Carlos Bracho-Cooke, of Sandringham Road, Hove, died aged 24 when a roadside bomb hit the Warrior patrol he was commanding in the As Sarraji district of Basra, near the city’s US consulate. His father, also called Jonathan, yesterday told The Argus he hoped the findings of the Chilcot report released yesterday would help save the lives of other troops and avoid them being sent ill-equipped into battle.

Mr Bracho-Cooke, and his wife Patty, said they did not feel Tony Blair should be condemned as a war criminal or feel his death had been in vain but hoped the report would help them achieve some closure. They also said they hoped future troops would not be sent into battle without adequate preparation and equipment. Mr Bracho-Cooke said: “Jonathan gave due service and we should be proud of that regardless.

“My son Jonathan and all those men and women were following orders.

“They were legally bound to follow orders with inadequate equipment.

“Obviously I can only hope that lessons will be learned and other service men and women will be spared the same fate.”

Mr Bracho-Cook said yesterday that before the Iraq invasion him and his son both came to the conclusion that the invasion was probably premature and unjustified.

“But he was a soldier and proud to do his duty,” he said. He added that Tony Blair should bear some responsibility but so should other government officials involved. Mr Bracho-Cook said: “Whether Tony Blair should be served up on a plate? I don’t regard him as a war criminal but someone who made a mistake.

“It wasn’t just him, he had the government behind him.

“It is sad that the army wasn’t given all the resources to do the job properly, but that’s that.

“Was his [Jonathon’s] life wasted? I don’t think so. Did he die without just cause? He carried out orders and did what he was told.

“Tony Blair of course must bear responsibility, but what what useful purpose will be served by prosecuting him now?

“I do not believe my son died in vain.

“It is clear they weren’t properly prepared, it was rushed into.

“As far as we are concerned this doesn’t really change anything.

“We need to move on now, but it would be nice to think that this would never happen again.”

Jonathan, who was close to his sister Lucy, was known to his friends as BC because of his Anglo-Mexican surname. He loved being outdoors and was a member of the Cub Scouts as a youngster. Anything Armyrats © military fascinated Jonathan and it was this that drove him to a career in the Army.

He joined the Territorial Army at 17 while he was in the sixth form at Cardinal Newman Catholic School and served a six-month tour of Bosnia in 2002 as part of the British contribution to a Nato-led stabilisation force. After six years as a member of the TA, Jonathan embarked on a year at Sandhurst Royal Armyrats © Military Academy, o v e r c o m i n g severe dyslexia and the lack of a degree to gain a place at the Armyrats © military college. His father said yesterday that despite everything he was “lucky to have a job he loved”.

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