Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 13:51 UK

Soldier's mother cannot reach inquest due to ash chaos

Privates Aaron McClure, Robert Foster and John Thrumble (Pic: MoD)
The men were killed by a US bomb

The mother of a soldier killed by "friendly fire" in Afghanistan cannot reach his inquest because she is stuck in Gran Canaria due to the ash chaos.

Ptes Aaron McClure, 19, of Ipswich, Robert Foster, 19, and John Thrumble, 21, both of Essex, died in August 2007.

An application from Lorraine McClure's counsel for an adjournment was rejected earlier and the inquest resumed in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

A representative for Ms McClure said she was "desperate" to get home.

Coroner David Masters said he regretted the situation but had to balance the needs of other family members.

We'd appeal to anybody who can get her back from Gran Canaria as quickly as possible
Hilary Meredith

Hilary Meredith, who represents relatives of dead soldier's families, appealed for help outside Trowbridge Town Hall earlier.

"There's one parent who is not here today, Lorraine McClure.

"She's desperate to be here to find out what happened to her son.

"We'd appeal to anybody who can get her back from Gran Canaria as quickly as possible."

Ms Meredith said the families wanted "total transparency" from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

'Lessons to be learnt'

"The families are here today to support their boys who were all fatally injured in this incident.

"It's extremely difficult to understand how in today's modern warfare an incident like this can happen, and be allowed to happen.

"There are lessons to be learnt by the MoD. There needs to be total transparency when incidents like this happen.

"The families need to have the truth and facts from day one."

The soldiers, members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, were killed when a US aircraft dropped a 500lb (228kg) bomb in Helmand province on 23 August 2007.

They were among about 100 troops from Seven Platoon involved in a series of offensive patrols in abandoned villages.

Pte McClure and Pte Thrumble, from Maldon, were at an observation post on the roof of a compound in nearby Mazdurak.

Pte Foster, from Harlow, was inside a house firing from a window when the airstrike was ordered, a previous sitting of the inquest heard.

The case continues following its resumption at the direction of Mr Masters earlier.



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