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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 2 April, 2003, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Mother speaks of marine's death
Sergeant John Cecil
John Cecil had a daughter and two stepchildren
The mother of a Royal Marine who died in a helicopter crash in Kuwait has spoken of her devastation at his death and expressed her hopes for a full military funeral.

Colour Sergeant John Cecil,36, was one of eight personnel from Plymouth-based 3 Commando Brigade who died in the crash in Kuwait.

Ann Nichol, 58, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, said she could not believe it when she heard the news that her son had been killed in the accident.

She had last seen her son when he visited at Christmas with his brother David.

It's not just my son - it's the country's son that we have lost
Ann Nichol, mother of John Cecil

The last she had heard from him were two letters and a card he had sent her from the Gulf after he was posted there.

She was told the news of his death in a telephone call from a fellow soldier at Stonehouse barracks, where he had been stationed.

"I was devastated. I just couldn't believe it," she said.

"It's not just my son - it's the country's son that we have lost.

"I hope we can have this military funeral."

His body was brought back to Britain on Saturday, with a ceremony at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Sergeant Cecil's widow Wendy left a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale at Stonehouse Barracks earlier this week in tribute to his North East roots.

He was born in Newcastle, but moved away from the area when he joined up.

He had an eight-year-old daughter Paige, with Wendy, and two older stepchildren, Jodie and Nick.



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