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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 10:01 GMT
Army aims to boost public support
Soldier in Iraq
British troops have been stationed in Iraq for five years
The Army has launched a publicity campaign to encourage the public to show support for soldiers.

The campaign, which includes a website where messages of support can be left, comes days before the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion.

Entitled "To the Best", it aims to share stories of the work troops do.

However, it has attracted criticism from families who have lost relatives in Iraq and Afghanistan, who said funds would be better spent on equipment.

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, Commander Army Recruiting Group said: "The Army makes a real and broad contribution to society, one that is not always known about or understood by the public.

"In this campaign we aim to share the excellent work of soldiers in their many different roles as well as communicating the stories of the people whose lives they have changed."

'Important role'

To coincide with the launch, the Army commissioned an online survey of 1,000 people in January to discover more about attitudes to the military.

They're trying to recruit, but it won't work
Rose Gentle
Military Families Against the War

The poll found that 87% of those questioned supported British soldiers.

It also suggested that nine out of 10 people believed the Army has an important role to play in society.

A similar number said soldiers were the epitome of heroism. Nearly half wanted to see more soldiers on the streets in uniform.

But Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon died in a bomb attack in Iraq in June 2004, said the money should have been spent on providing equipment to help protect soldiers.

Mrs Gentle, who co-chairs Military Families Against the War, said: "They should be spending the money on getting the right equipment.

"They're trying to recruit, but it won't work. You're not going to join the Army if you don't get the protection you need.

"It's coming up to five years so it's a bit sad doing it now."

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