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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Red Cap's family petitions Hoon
Corporal Paul Long
Cpl Paul Long was killed in Majar al-Kabir in June 2003
The family of a North East soldier have travelled to Westminster to fight for a posthumous honour for him.

Cpl Paul Long, a Royal Military policeman who lived in Essex, was one of six Red Caps killed by a mob in an Iraqi police station in June 2003.

His family, from South Shields, handed a 5,000-name petition to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon on Thursday.

Mr Hoon said he had listened to their concerns but he could not interfere with the system for awarding honours.

Mr Long's brother, Byron, feels the government should also acknowledge its part in the soldiers' deaths.

He claims that most of their ammunition was revoked, leaving them with only 28 rounds each, just a week before the incident in the town of Majar al-Kabir.

He said: "They didn't run away. They stood their ground knowing they had very little ammunition and unfortunately they lost their lives because of it.

'Listened to concerns'

"The reason we want him honoured is that I'm not too impressed with the way the government handled it.

"My brother and his mate were on the original operational honours list, but were taken off just before it went public.

"The government's excuse is that there wasn't a British officer present to cite them for the medals. We're campaigning to have this rectified."

After meeting with the family, Mr Hoon said in a statement: "I received the petition from the Long family and listened to their concerns at a meeting afterwards.

"I explained that I could not interfere with the military's tried and tested system for the awarding of operational honours."

But he added that "if any evidence came to light to support the nomination of gallantry medals for the RMP soldiers, I would ensure that it was considered by the chain of command."





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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
IC Newcastle Recognise courage of our Paul - 54 hrs ago
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SEE ALSO:
Dead soldier's family condemn war
21 Oct 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Ministers to decide on troop move
21 Oct 04  |  Politics
Family dismisses Iraq war report
15 Jul 04  |  Tyne/Wear


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