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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 10:49 GMT
Marine killed in 'friendly fire'
Marine Maddison
Marine Maddison was on river patrol on the Al Faw peninsular
A Royal Marine initially believed to have been killed in an Iraqi ambush actually died under "friendly fire", the Ministry of Defence has said.

Marine Christopher Maddison, 24, of Scarborough, died on a river patrol on the Al Faw peninsular in March 2003.

An internal inquiry has discovered the marine was killed by his own side after a series of operational errors.

The inquiry's leaked report also criticised the original investigation as flawed and full of factual errors.

Review recommended

Plymouth-based Marine Maddison died of shrapnel wounds after his landing craft came under fire.

The internal Board of Inquiry report was prompted by BBC One documentary Fighting the War, which claimed to have unearthed new information that cast into doubt the belief that he died in combat.

Bad planning, unreliable communications, inadequate equipment and poor leadership
The MoD's Board of Inquiry view of the 3 Commando operation in which Marine Maddison was killed
The leaked report said Marine Maddison was the victim of a 3 Commando operation plagued by "bad planning, unreliable communications, inadequate equipment and poor leadership".

It said the ability to make sure everyone in the battlefield knew where everyone else was - known as battle space management - had broken down.

There was no chain of command, standard operational procedures were not used and communications were unreliable, the report said.

It recommended that some of the brigade's practices should be reviewed.

'Inaccurate findings'

The leaked report also criticised the initial investigation into Marine Maddison's death by the MoD's Special Investigation Branch (SIB).

It is disgraceful that we might never have known what happened to Christopher, and we had the right to know
Christopher Maddison's mother Julie
"It is the board's view that professional inadequacies, factual errors, a lack of rigorous investigation of the facts available at the time... were the prime causes of the production of an inaccurate set of findings," the report concluded.

Marine Maddison's mother Julie told BBC News: "It is disgraceful that we might never have known what happened to Christopher, and we had the right to know.

"The military sometimes, I think, have this idea that once they have signed up a recruit they do not belong to us anymore. But they are quite happy to send them home in a coffin."

A spokeswoman for the MoD said efforts were being made to minimise the chances of the incident being repeated.

She said the Board of Inquiry's report was an internal document and as such, she could not comment on the reports of its specific contents.

However, the MoD has confirmed that marines from 40 and 42 Commando were on either side of the waterway where Marine Maddison's 9 Assault Squadron was working.

He was one of a group of Marines on a craft heading up an Iraqi river which came within range of another group of marines equipped with anti-tank rockets.

They thought they were observing an enemy craft and fired a rocket which hit the craft. Marine Maddison was injured and later died.

The BBC's Paul Adams
"A review has been ordered"

Fresh tributes for Marine
15 Oct 03  |  North Yorkshire
MoD to review marine's death
26 Jul 03  |  Devon
Hundreds pay tribute to Marine
16 Apr 03  |  North Yorkshire


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