Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 18:26 UK

Reaction to Hercules verdict

There's been a mixed reaction at the end of the inquest into the deaths of 10 servicemen killed in a Hercules air crash in Iraq in January 2005.

BOB AINSWORTH, ARMED FORCES MINISTER

There were problems with our procedures, our ability to track the threat - to marshal all of the evidence of the threat - and that's something we are absolutely determined to address.

That has been exposed in the coroner's court - some of these issues brought out by our own Board of Inquiry.

We try to learn all of the lessons of every single accident and every single incident which occurs in theatre.

SARAH CHAPMAN, SISTER OF SGT BOB O'CONNOR

To know the words that I said three years ago and the anger that I felt - the only thing that has abated it is the fact that the coroner has recognised the importance of the issues.

My anger with the MoD and the failings of an organisation set to ensure that the duty of care is filled out and carried out with vigour for our Armed Service personnel in today's climate has been failed and let down.

Adhere to the military covenant, adhere to the promises you set out daily to your armed services personnel and to their families.

In the words of the poppy appeal, we will never forget, ever.

PAULINE STEAD, MOTHER OF FLT LT DAVID STEAD

Pauline Stead

We are truly disappointed that the RAF failed to protect our boys who were all highly-skilled and professional members of this crew, who were doing a very difficult job in a hostile terrain in the service of their country.

Numerous amounts of research and other documentation about the vulnerability of the aircraft went unheeded by many people over many years.

We are, however pleased that all the Hercules fleet operating in theatre have now been retrospectively fitted with ESF [explosion suppressant foam] following the Board of Inquiry recommendation for this system.

As a result of this, all air crew and their passengers travelling in these aircraft now have the protection that David and his crew were denied.

It is very sad that it took this tragedy to happen before anything was done.

MICHAEL NEVILLE, RAF LYNEHAM STATION COMMANDER

The strength the families have shown since that terrible day, as individuals and as a group, is truly remarkable.

And I know that their men would have been very proud of them.

People often talk about the service family - tragic events such as this bring the importance of that term into sharp relief.

On behalf of all RAF Lyneham, and indeed the armed forces, I would like to offer my most sincere condolences and my unyielding support to the families of the crew.

We will not forget them.

NICK HARVEY, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT DEFENCE SPOKESMAN

This verdict confirms the shocking failure of the MoD to fit key safety measures to its aircraft, despite a military report advocating this as early as 2002.

There is a vital need for better lines of communication within government and the Armed Forces to ensure such systemic failures are not repeated.

Ministers must ensure that the views of experts and frontline personnel are never ignored again.




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