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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 22:18 GMT
Father of soldier in anxious wait
James Buchanan
James Buchanan's son is with the Black Watch near Baghdad
A father of a Black Watch soldier has spoken of his worry for his son's safety following reports that three soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

James Buchanan said he was "extremely worried" and added that he was anxiously waiting for news.

Mr Buchanan, from Arbroath, has previously called for UK troops to withdraw from the country.

Meanwhile, politicians in Scotland have expressed their sadness at news of the fatalities.

Three companies of armoured infantry from the 1st Battalion The Black Watch, with some 500 men and 50 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles were recently relocated to an area near Baghdad.

Mr Buchanan's sons, Gary, 32, and Craig, 27, have both fought in the war in the Middle East.

Sympathies expressed

One son remains in Iraq, the other is back in the UK for the time being.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, Mr Buchanan said: "My young lad is out there and I'm very worried. He's at the front with the Warriors and we've just heard that two of the Warriors have been attacked.

"You can imagine how I feel, and how his wife and the rest of the family feel.

"We are all sitting here wondering whose son it is going to be and whose husband it is going to be."

A former Black Watch officer whose teenage grandson is serving in Iraq said everyone connected with the historic regiment would mourn the dead soldiers.

The Black Watch is more than a regiment, it is also a community that will offer all necessary support and comfort to the families involved
Pete Wishart
SNP

Rob Scott said he was "sick to the guts" on hearing of the first combat casualties since the controversial deployment to support US troops around Baghdad.

Mr Scott, 61, also called on MPs to travel to Iraq in their next recess to experience the brutal reality of war.

He said he was relieved his grandson, Private Charles Scott, 18, had not been involved in the incident.

Speaking from his home in Methil, Fife, he said: "There will be a lot of people apprehensive until they realise it is not one of their own.

"But this [The Black Watch] is a family. I feel sick to the guts as three of my family have been killed. It is like losing one of your own."

Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell extended his deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the Black Watch soldiers who were killed.

He said: "No words will be able to ease the pain of their terrible loss, but the thoughts of everyone in Scotland are with them.

"Our thoughts are also with those who have been injured and their fellow soldiers who continue to carry out their duties in Iraq."

Sgt Steve Golding
Around 850 British troops are stationed near the city of Falluja
Scottish Secretary Alastair Darling said it was "dreadful news" and added that his thoughts were with soldiers and their families.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace said: "This is obviously a grievous time for the families, friends and comrades of those who have died.

"I only hope that they can take some comfort from the knowledge that they are in the thoughts of the whole of Scotland."

Scottish National Party MPs from the traditional Black Watch recruiting grounds of Perthshire, Angus and Fife reacted with great sadness to the news.

Pete Wishart, MP for North Tayside, said: "My heart goes out to all families involved. This is a tragedy that forces' families have long feared and dreaded.

"We all knew this mission had particular dangers and that the Black Watch was in harm's way.

"However, we bear in mind that the Black Watch is more than a regiment, it is also a community that will offer all necessary support and comfort to the families involved."

'Withdraw troops'

Annabelle Ewing, MP for Perth, added: "There will be a feeling of great sadness right across Perthshire where the Black Watch is considered family.

"At the time of this redeployment to the dangerous northern zone in Iraq, I voiced the concerns felt by many Black Watch families and I wish the Black Watch Godspeed and a safe return home."

While MP for Angus, Mike Weir, said: "My heart goes out to all the families and friends of these brave soldiers who have tragically lost their lives in this incident."

SNP MSP for Perth, Roseanna Cunningham, said: "My deepest sympathy is with the families of the soldiers who have been killed, and also with the families of those who have been injured.

"It is totally deplorable that the same Prime Minister who has sent these soldiers to war is intent on disbanding their regiments."

Tory Scottish secretary Peter Duncan added to the tributes.

He said: "All our thoughts and sympathies must be with the families and colleagues of the three Black Watch soldiers so tragically killed and also with those injured in this despicable act.

"I know that they have all served their country and their regiment with pride and distinction."

'Sad news'

Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said: "This is desperately sad news.

"My heart goes out the families of those killed or injured. This tragedy underlines the dangerous situation that Blair has led our country into.

"The Black Watch should be brought home."

The Scottish Socialist Party also paid its respects and repeated the call for the troops to be home for Christmas.

Party leader Tommy Sheridan said: "Our condolences go out to the parents of those Black Watch soldiers killed in Iraq.

"Yet more parents and loved ones are going to go through the nightmare of losing family members because of an illegal occupation which is about oil and world domination and has nothing to do with freedom.

"All the troops must be withdrawn from Iraq by Christmas or yet more tears will be shed and blood spilled on the alter of Bush and Blair's war for oil."


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