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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 20:46 GMT
Soldier's family speak of anguish
L/Cpl Allan Douglas (Pic: Highlanders)
The death of L/Cpl Douglas has devastated his family
The family of a Scottish soldier killed in Iraq have spoken of their anguish and claimed: "It wasn't his war".

L/Cpl Allan Douglas, 22, from Aberdeen, who was serving with The Highlanders, died after coming under fire in the Maysan area on Monday.

His mother Diane said: "It wasn't his war. But as he said, he's in the army, that's his job."

A Royal Scots Dragoon Guard killed in Basra on Tuesday has been named as Cpl Gordon Alexander Pritchard, who was 31.

He died from injuries sustained in an explosion while on a rations and water run in Um Qasr.

Cpl Pritchard, who was married with children, was commanding the lead Land Rover as part of a three-vehicle convoy.

Cpl Gordon Alexander Pritchard
Cpl Pritchard had followed his father into the army

He was the 100th UK soldier to die in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

His parents, Jenny and Bill, released a statement in tribute to their son, who had followed the family tradition of joining the army.

They said: "Cpl Gordon Pritchard was the epitome of a modern, professional soldier.

"He was a well-trained, well-motivated soldier serving in a regiment that he was extremely proud of, as did his father and elder brother.

"He was a loving son, and a very proud family man, and he will be deeply missed by us all.

I do not think Tony Blair should have put any young kids out there
Diane Douglas
Mother of Allan Douglas

L/Cpl Douglas' family believe the young soldier's body will be returned to Aberdeen later this week for his funeral.

Speaking to BBC Scotland from her home in Aberdeen, Mrs Douglas said: "All I know is that Allan had taken a bullet, was taken to hospital and died of his injuries.

"We are now waiting for an inquiry as to what happened.

"Allan's been in Iraq for a couple of months now, he was home at Christmas for a fortnight.

"He did not want to go back this time - he'd seen enough the first time he was over.

"But as he said, he's in the army, that's his job.

Diane Douglas
Diane Douglas said she did not want her son to go to Iraq

"He said it was a waste of time people being there, he just really didn't like it at all.

"I did not want him to go there at all - it wasn't his war. We were not very happy that he had to go there.

"I think it's a damn disgrace, they should not be out there at all.

"I do not think Tony Blair should have put any young kids out there - there's been so many of them killed.

Deeply saddened

"He could not wait to get into the army, he thought it would be a great life, make a career out of it. Obviously it did not work out that way for him.

"We will bring him back home to Aberdeen."

She added: "We are of course very proud of him."

Mrs Douglas said the family would remember him as "just the happy-go-lucky lad he was", adding: "He just loved life, he just lived for life."

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Lt Col James Hopkinson, his commanding officer, said: "L/Cpl Allan Douglas was extremely well liked by all who knew him - he displayed all the qualities of professionalism, drive and humour that make a Scottish soldier.

"He made a true difference in Iraq. It is telling that since this sad incident a great many Iraqis, both civilian leaders and members of the security forces, have called to pass on their condolences. Allan made an impact in their lives that it will be hard to match.

"L/Cpl Douglas was not only a comrade but was a friend to many. He will be sorely missed by those who were privileged to serve with him."

Defence Secretary John Reid said: "My thoughts are with his family and friends."

The prime minister's spokesman said Mr Blair was "deeply saddened" by the deaths but added British troops would be in Iraq for as long as is necessary.

Our soldiers have shown great courage and bravery
Save the Scottish Regiments

A Save the Scottish Regiments campaign spokesman said: "Like Mrs Douglas the campaign has been bitterly opposed to the over-frequent tours of duty faced by Scottish soldiers, many of who have returned to Iraq without proper rest, both physically and psychologically.

"Despite being taken into what can only be best described as a questionable war, our soldiers have shown great courage and bravery."

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond said: "Our deepest sympathy and condolences go to the two families involved.

"The loss of 100 soldiers and the injury of many hundreds more hangs as a badge of shame on Blair's arm."


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