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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Marine's father says son 'well'
David Reid
David Reid sent a message to his family
One of the British Marines who was held in Iran has told his family that he is "fine and dandy" after his release.

David Reid, 24, sent a message to his parents via a British diplomat. His father told the BBC that he expects his son to be home soon.

Speaking from the family home in Aberdeenshire, 49-year-old Graham Reid said the first two days of his son's detention had been "really worrying".

The eight men, who were held on Monday, were finally freed on Thursday morning.

Mr Reid senior told BBC Radio Scotland: "They've got to go through the process with medical and debrief, and all the other stuff that has to be done.

"When we heard David was among those detained, we were absolutely shattered.

Village 'supportive'

"Monday night and Tuesday were really worrying times. Horrendous thoughts go through your head.

"When we saw the pictures of them walking along blindfolded, that was very disturbing. I couldn't really handle that at all.

"But the whole village of Kemnay has been absolutely excellent, people have been calling round and have been very supportive."

Paula Harkins
Paula Harkins, wife of one of the freed marines, expressed her relief
Mr Reid confirmed that his son would be returning home to Kemnay to rest.

"I'm sure he has been pretty scared, but he's a strong lad - mentally and physically - and I'm sure he has been coping well with the situation," he said.

"We've been told he'll be home for a while, but we don't know if he'll be going back there. As long as we get him home, that's the main thing."

David Reid, who is based at Faslane, has been a Marine for four years. He is an expert in landing craft.

He was among a group of eight men who were seized in the Shatt al-Arab waterway on Monday.

Marine Sergeant Tam Harkins, from Renfrewshire, was also among those held.

His wife Paula told the BBC of her relief at hearing her husband had been freed.

She said: "I still don't know where he is, or when he'll be back, but I know he is in British hands and I know he is safe - that's all that matters."

'Glad it's over'

She described the past few days waiting for news of her husband as "hell".

Mrs Harkins added: "I was devastated when I first heard they'd been taken. It is hard to described - I was just numb.

"Watching the images of him on television was hard, I felt so helpless - he looked absolutely exhausted.

"I'm just so glad it's over."

The men are thought to come from two Scotland-based units - Arbroath-based 45 Commando and the Fleet Standby Rifle Troop from Faslane on the Clyde - and from the 539 Assault Squadron in Plymouth, south-west England.

The BBC's Jim Muir, in Tehran, said the group had been given clean clothes and told the results of the recent Euro 2004 football matches.


SEE ALSO:
Iran releases British servicemen
24 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Talks resume on crew held in Iran
24 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Iran power tussle over UK sailors
22 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Patrolling the border waterways
21 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Delicate UK-Iran ties under strain
21 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Timeline: UK-Iran relations
22 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Country profile: Iran
15 Jan 04  |  Country profiles


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