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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Soldier's mother criticises MoD
Phillip Hewett, Leon Spicer and Richard Shearer (l-r)
Lt Richard Shearer (far right) and his colleagues were 'bold and popular'
A Warwickshire mother whose son was killed in Iraq has called on the government to do more to protect its armed forces in the country.

Lieutenant Richard Shearer, 26, died in a roadside bomb attack on Saturday with two other soldiers from Tamworth.

His mother Maureen, from Nuneaton, has criticised the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for what she believes is a lack of staffing in the armed forces.

The MoD said it is confident there are sufficient troops in the area.

The government should give them the best conditions possible
Maureen Shearer

Lt Shearer and his colleagues Private Leon Spicer, 26, and Private Phillip Hewett, 21, both from Tamworth, were serving with the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment when they were attacked in central Amarah early on Saturday.

Speaking to BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire on Tuesday, Mrs Shearer said her son had told her that they were massively under resourced.

"Its really bad for our soldiers in Iraq. There's been so many bombings and attacks in Amarah that people don't know about.

"Richard told me there should have been 42 in his platoon and he had 23. There should be more men out there and they should be trained.

"Young soldiers of 18 and 19 are going out there with virtually no training. Richard went to Sandhurst and then went on to other courses. He had virtually only just met his platoon of men before he went to Iraq."

'Ultimate sacrifice'

She added: "The government should give them the best conditions possible."

A spokesman for the MoD said the work rates of each company are kept under constant review and that they are confident that Lt Shearer's battle group had sufficient troops to do the tasks required.

He added: "There is no minimum manning level. They are all set at the level where tasks can be accommodated at the high standards sets by the British Army.

"We are proud of all our servicemen and women and have paid and will continue to pay tribute to those who make the ultimate sacrifice.

"We are providing support for the families through the regimental support network."

A total of 92 UK troops have now been killed in Iraq.

Mother's tribute to soldier son
18 Jul 05 |  Staffordshire

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