[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Funeral outburst at Bush and Blair
Fusilier Gordon Gentle
Fusilier Gentle's former colleagues attended the service
A church minister has denounced Tony Blair and George Bush at the funeral of a Scottish soldier who died in a roadside explosion in Iraq.

Fusilier Gordon Gentle, 19, from Glasgow, was killed while on a routine patrol in Basra on Monday, 28 June.

At St James' Parish Church in Pollok, Church of Scotland minister Dr John Mann spoke of his anger at politicians who had led the country into war.

Members of the Royal Highland Fusiliers regiment attended the service.

The soldier's family have already criticised the decision to send him out to Iraq just weeks after he finished his training.

I want to believe that if there is a God in heaven then there will be justice because I want someone to pay for Gordon's death
Dr John Mann
And in a message directed at the prime minister and the US president, Dr Mann said: "Shame on you."

The American reverend told about 800 people who gathered to pay their final respects that Fusilier Gentle was killed fighting an unjust war.

Speaking during the service, Dr Mann said: "I want to believe that if there is a God in heaven then there will be justice because I want someone to pay for Gordon's death.

"And only God may judge who is ultimately responsible. I can only admonish. I am just a preacher.

"If I were to point them out I would say to President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair I have only three words of admonishment.

"And I pray that they may someday be inscribed on the tablets of your hearts. And those three words are 'shame on you'."

Mourners at St James' Church in Pollok
In an impassioned eulogy, Dr Mann spoke of his fury at the decision to go to war with Iraq.

He said the case for war was based on "misinformation and lies".

Fusilier Gentle's mother Rose, 40, father George, 45, and sisters Pamela, 21, and Maxine, 14, were joined at the church by members of his regiment and Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan.

Mr Sheridan knew the soldier most of his life and said he was sure he would be mourned by a great many people in Pollok.

Mrs Gentle has previously said her son was "just a bit of meat" to the government as she denounced the conflict in Iraq as a "war over oil".

Speaking outside the church, George McNeilage, the leader of North Pollok Community Council, said the family wished to thank everyone who had helped them during "this horrific period in their lives".

The people in this community are angry. The family are extremely angry
George McNeilage
North Pollok Community Council
Mr McNeilage said the family would consider what, if any, course of action to take over their son's death in the next few weeks.

But he added: "The people in this community are angry. The family are extremely angry.

"John Mann summed up the feelings of the family when he talked about the politicians. We don't see their sons and daughters in Iraq."

After the ceremony, Fusilier Gentle was laid to rest at St Conval's Cemetery in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire.

Last Post

At the graveside an Army bugler sounded the Last Post and a lone piper played Flowers of the Forest.

Fusilier Gentle's comrades paid tribute to him by firing a volley of shots into the sky.

The MoD has insisted the soldier had been fully trained for his role, while Mr Blair expressed his condolences to the family in the House of Commons.

Fusilier Gentle's death came on the day US coalition authorities transferred sovereignty to the interim Iraqi Government.

It also brought to 60 the number of British service personnel killed in Iraq since the war began in March last year.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific