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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Family's pride in Iraq guard
Andrew Harries and daughter Ellie

The family of a civilian security guard shot dead in an ambush in Iraq have paid tribute to him.

Andrew Harries, 34, from Aberdare, south Wales, was killed on Tuesday when his convoy was ambushed near the city of Mosul, in northern Iraq.

His father, Geoff Harries, said he did not know his son was in Iraq before the call telling him he had died.

Mr Harries said his youngest son had not told him he was in Iraq to prevent him from worrying.

Mr Harries, who believed Andrew was in neighbouring Kuwait, told BBC Wales of his reaction to hearing his son had died.

He said: "It was a complete shock because I had no idea he was there.

"I am shattered - as if I am in a bad dream.

"I want to wake up and find it's not right.

Andrew Harries' father, Geoff Harries
Geoff Harries had no idea his son was in Iraq

"I can't really accept it.

"I am devastated. He was a brilliant son."

Mr Harries said that his son, who had a three-year-old daughter, Ella, had spent a decade in the Army before becoming a security guard with London-based firm ArmorGroup.

He added: "He'd done 10 years in the army.

"He was in the first Gulf War, two tours in Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

'Very proud'

"He came out of the Army about four or five years ago and became a health and safety consultant.

"He was called up then as a reservist back (to Iraq) in the second outbreak.

"When he came out of that, he took this job on as an armed security guard with ArmorGroup.

I would like to say to the person that took my brother's life, you've achieved nothing.
David Harries

"I'm very very proud of him."

Andrew Harries' older brother David, added: "I would like to say to the person that took my brother's life.

"Whatever you hope to achieve, whatever cause you wrongly believe you are furthering, you've achieved nothing."

Mr Harries' family had not wanted him to go back to Iraq but said he died doing what he wanted to do.

The 34-year-old's death was the second loss to the family in six months.

In November 2003, his mother Veronica died following a long fight against cancer.

Map of northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and Irbil
Mr Harries was driving between the cities of Mosul and Irbil

A neighbour of the family in Llwydcoed, Aberdare, Colin Morris, said: "Andrew went into the services straight from school. It was his life.

"This is a terrible shock for a very nice family.

"It's a terrible shock to his father so close to the death of his wife from cancer."

Mr Harries was a former pupil of Bishop Hedley High School, in Merthyr Tydfil.

The school's head teacher, Martin Gay, said he was shocked to hear the news of the death and said it had been a year of tragedy for the family.

Mr Gay said: "They were a tremendous family who were great supporters of the school."

Mr Gay added that he remembered Mr Harries as a good student.

Mr Harries was killed when gunmen opened fire on the convoy of cars he was travelling in as it drove along a highway between Mosul and Irbil in the north of Iraq.

His security firm had been hired to protect Foreign Office staff working in Iraq.

Arrangements are being made to fly Mr Harries body home for a funeral service in the UK.




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