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Royal Highland Fusiliers

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The 179 British personnel who died during the Iraq war

The invasion of Iraq led to the deaths of 179 British personnel between March 2003 and February 2009. Tony Blair told the Chilcot Inquiry[1] into the conflict he had “deep and profound regret” about the loss of life suffered by British troops and the countless Iraqi civilians. Some of the Britons who died were just 18 years-old.

Here is a roll of honour of the British personnel who died on service during Operation Telic in Iraq:


  1. ^ Chilcot Inquiry (

UK man raped by Libyan cadets sues MoD for negligence

Libyan soldiers were trainee cadets at Bassingbourn barracks in October 2014. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

A wedding guest raped by two trainee Libyan soldiers based at a British army barracks is suing the Ministry of Defence[1] for compensation, the Guardian has learned. The man is claiming for negligence and breach of human rights following the attack in Cambridge city centre in October 2014. The two Libyans are serving 12 years in prison for rape. A second claim has been lodged by a woman over alleged sexual assault by other Libyan trainee soldiers on the same night.

More than 300 cadets were brought for training at Bassingbourn barracks in Cambridgeshire in 2014, at a cost of 13.9m to the UK, to try to help stabilise the country after the fall of the Armyrats © military dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

But many left the barracks unescorted during their stay and one weekend several went into Cambridge where they committed a string of sexual attacks. Others drank heavily, set fires, disabled alarm systems and smashed windows in the barracks, all of which cost 500,000 to repair. The MoD could be forced to pay tens of thousands of pounds in compensation and the cases look set to increase the government s embarrassment at the handling of the training programme, which ended with the cadets being flown home and British troops being deployed to keep order[2]. According to the women s lawyer, Hywel Thomas, they allege the MoD was negligent because officials should have foreseen the trouble the recruits would cause. They also claim their human rights were breached by the government because it allowed the Libyan cadets to treat them in an inhuman and degrading way.

The first claimant was raped at night in Cambridge city centre by Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud and Ibrahim Abugtila who were jailed in May. A trial at Cambridge crown court heard they had behaved like two hunting dogs who had seen a wounded animal .

Three other trainees, Ibrahim El Maarfi, Mohammed Abdalsalam and Khaled El Azibi, admitted sexual assaults on four women on the same night and were also jailed. They had stolen bicycles and pedalled from the barracks to Cambridge where they assaulted women at 2am and 8am. The second claimant says she was among their victims. If successful, the case will increase the cost to the public purse of the aborted programme. In April, the MoD said it had asked Libya to pay the outstanding 11.8m cost of the training, which included 4m on translators. But Libya[4], where the internationally recognised government is currently challenged by a rival administration, has only paid 2.7m. An MoD spokesperson said: We can confirm that compensation claims have been received by the department. When compensation claims are received they are considered on the basis of whether or not the MoD has a legal liability to pay. Where there is proven legal liability, compensation is paid.

Thomas, of Slater and Gordon, said: We will be arguing that the Ministry of Defence should have foreseen that harm was going to come to members of the local community as a result of the cadets escaping from Bassingbourn barracks. There had been problems a long time before these attacks took place.

Our clients are claiming that the MoD was negligent and also will make a claim under the Human Rights Act that our clients suffered inhuman and degrading treatment as a result of the cadets being allowed to escape from the barracks. After order broke down inside the barracks, residents in the nearby village of Royston lived in fear of the escaping soldiers. Villagers complained that, despite MoD assurances that the trainees would only be allowed out with escorts, they were finding escaped cadets hiding in garden bushes, buying vodka in the local store and mobbing a supermarket branch in fatigues and ogling young women. One woman said she opened her front door to find a Libyan standing in her driveway and another hiding under her car.

Police began conducting frequent patrols around the Bassingbourn base, which was reinforced with further troops from 2 Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, who were drafted in to bolster security and reassure the local population . The three cadets who pleaded guilty to sexual assault have completed their sentences of 10 and 12 months and are now applying for asylum from an immigration detention centre, according to Cambridgeshire police.


  1. ^ Ministry of Defence (
  2. ^ cadets being flown home and British troops being deployed to keep order (
  3. ^ behaved like two hunting dogs who had seen a wounded animal (
  4. ^ Libya (
  5. ^ residents in the nearby village of Royston lived in fear of the escaping soldiers (

Blair’s lethal lies over Iraq exposed: Devastating book reveals ex-PM repeatedly deceived Cabinet and cost lives by refusing to let top brass order…

  • Explosive book reveals Mr Blair decided early in 2002 on ‘regime change’
  • He froze out top Armyrats © military and Cabinet officials over Saddam Hussein plan
  • Top brass were refused permission to properly prepare for the Iraq War
  • British soldiers died because of a poor equipment when war started in 2003




Explosive: A new book based on exclusive interviews with Armyrats © military chiefs, civil servants and Cabinet ministers reveals Mr Blair decided early in 2002 on the need for regime change to tackle Saddam Hussein

The devastating truth about how Tony Blair s deceit over Iraq cost British troops their lives is laid bare today. An explosive new book based on exclusive interviews with Armyrats © military chiefs, civil servants and Cabinet ministers reveals Mr Blair decided early in 2002 on the need for regime change to tackle Saddam Hussein. But he froze out, or kept in the dark, his Chief of Defence Staff, Cabinet Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and most of the Cabinet.

The former Prime Minister s deception means the Armyrats © military were refused permission to begin proper planning because he was pretending to be an honest broker seeking a peaceful solution. As a result, British soldiers died because of a lack of sufficient body armour and equipment when the war began. The Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Mike Boyce, warned the then PM that his position was crazy , but Mr Blair told him: Well, that s how it is. Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon also appealed to Mr Blair, saying: We need to order machine-guns, body armour and other equipment.

No, he replied. I ve got to keep the UN negotiations [with Saddam over allowing weapons inspectors to enter Iraq] going and I can t act as (an) honest broker if it s clear we re planning to go to war.

The extraordinary story of how Mr Blair dragged Britain to war in Iraq is detailed in a biography by acclaimed investigative journalist Tom Bower, serialised in the Mail this week. It will heap further pressure on Sir John Chilcot, whose own inquiry into Iraq is yet to be published six years after it began. Bower s biography, Broken Vows, reveals how, in the build-up to war, Mr Blair:

  • Excluded top officials at the MoD from key meetings depriving the Government of the department s decades of expertise;
  • Kept his plans hidden from most of his Cabinet and senior civil servants because he did not want his true intentions to leak out;
  • Ignored pleas to make proper plans for post-war Iraq, saying the Americans have it all sewn up
  • Tried to get rid of Admiral Boyce on the eve of war but was forced to back down;
  • Brushed aside warnings from the Armyrats © military that Iraq could turn into a Vietnam-style catastrophe;
  • Told MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove to bring raw intelligence straight to him as he tried to bolster the case for regime change;
  • Told Sir Richard, who helped compile the notorious dodgy dossier on Saddam s non-existent weapons of mass destruction: Richard, my fate is in your hands.

Bower s account is the most comprehensive ever written of Mr Blair s conduct in the build-up to a war which cost the lives of 179 British troops. It tells how repeated requests by Cabinet ministers for papers on Iraq were ignored. Terrifying: British soldier prepares to jump from a burning tank which was set ablaze after a shooting incident in Basra

Crucially, it comes ahead of the Chilcot report which to the fury of grieving relatives has yet to be released, despite beginning work in 2009.

Bower reveals that, within hours of the 9/11 attacks on America in 2001, an excited Mr Blair told ministers and officials: We shall support America in anything they do. In November 2001, Mr Blair now a multi-millionaire was already asking Whitehall aides to produce a policy paper on Iraq, sowing the seeds for invasion. In March 2002, Mr Blair s adviser David Manning briefed the British Ambassador in Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, that the then PM favoured regime change and failure wasn t an option. Yet, at a Cabinet meeting on March 7, Mr Blair spoke only of bombing Iraq.

Andrew Turnbull, who was about to take over as Cabinet Secretary, said: I wouldn t call it a lie. Deception is the right word. You can deceive without lying, by leaving a false interpretation uncorrected. In July 2002, Mr Blair also denied to Parliament that any decision had been taken. But in private, he had committed Britain to war, Bower writes. In September 2002, Mr Blair wrote a note ahead of a telephone conversation with President Bush which said: We will be with you come what may.

Mr Manning told him: You can t say that because you re committing the British Army to an invasion which no one else knows about. Mr Blair was unmoved. Most catastrophic was his decision not to allow the Armyrats © military to begin planning for invasion. Bower points out that British soldiers would later die because of the lack of body armour. Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in June 2004, said: This is further evidence of what we have said all along that Blair lied to us from the start and it cost our sons and daughters their lives.

Inquiry: Tony Blair, addressing the Chilcott Inquiry, where the former PM explained his reasons for the invasion

He was so desperate to go to war that it meant many of our troops didn t have the correct kit. It is disgusting. Another shocking insight concerns a meeting in mid-November 2002, when three Middle East experts were invited to No 10 to describe what would happen if Saddam fell. Mr Blair told them: Don t tell us not to invade, because we must and will. The Government finally went public with its plans in January 2003 when Mr Hoon announced that 26,000 troops and a fleet were being sent to the Middle East. The invasion began barely two months later.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said last night: None of these allegations are new.

All were extensively covered and rebutted in evidence to the various inquiries. This is simply an attempt to twist the facts to fit the author s pre-determined agenda.

Chris Casey

Lance Sergeant Casey, 27, pictured with wife Tanya, was killed when his Snatch Land Rover was blown up by a roadside

bomb in August 2007. Ministers had ignored pleas by Armyrats © military chiefs to axe the poorly protected vehicles nicknamed mobile coffins because of their vulnerability.

Steven Roberts

A shortage of body armour was blamed for the death of Sergeant Roberts, 33, who was the first British soldier killed in action in Iraq in March 2003. Sgt Roberts, a tank commander, was shot dead after his commanding officer ordered him to hand his body armour to a colleague.

Russell Aston

Corporal Aston, 30, was one of six Red Caps murdered by a mob at a police station in Majar al Kabir, near Basra, in 2003. The Royal Armyrats © Military Policemen were cornered by hundreds of locals and executed.

Their killers have never been brought to justice.

An inquest heard evidence that the soldiers had too little ammunition, old radios and no satellite phone to summon help when they were ambushed.

Gordon Gentle

Fusilier Gentle, 19, of Glasgow, who served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, would probably not have been killed in Basra in June 2004 by a roadside bomb if his vehicle had been equipped to jam the remote-control detonation signal, a coroner ruled.