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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 14:27 GMT
Mother's plea for Fusiliers' name
Barbara Edwards
Barbara Edwards wants to safeguard the Royal Welch Fusiliers' name
The mother of a Royal Welch Fusilier killed in service in 1993 has pleaded with the government to keep the name of the regiment he served with.

Barbara Edwards is shocked by plans to merge the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Wales. If that happens the name will be changed.

However, Ms Edwards said her son Wayne, the first British soldier to be killed in Bosnia would have been against it.

The Army Board's executive board meets on Thursday to discuss the issue.

Last week, the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, was presented with a detailed document from politicians and former soldiers, calling for the names of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Wales to be preserved.

Lance Corporal Wayne Edwards
Lance Corporal Wayne Edwards was killed in 1993

They are due to be merged into a new regiment called the Royal Welsh however the government has said the newly named outfit would keep its identity and traditions.

The Fusiliers' administrative headquarters is currently in Wrexham and a campaign has been launched in the town to protect its identity.

Wayne Edwards from Cefn Mawr near Wrexham joined the Royal Welch when he was 18. The lance corporal was shot in the head and killed eight years later aged 26.

His 65-year-old mother said she wants his regiment's name to remain.

Pride

"I think it's very sad if they do [lose the name], they've been going for many years and I think Wayne would be really upset if they did change their name.

"He'd always wanted to go in the Army, he was a cadet when he was little and he was proud to be a Royal Welch because he said he was Welsh and he was proud to go in.

"Many of these lads have been fighting wars and that so why should they lose their name," she added.

Mrs Edwards, who has two daughters, said she can still remember the January day when her son was killed in Gorni Vakuf in 1993.

Wayne Edwards' funeral
Wayne Edwards was the first British soldier killed in Bosnia

At that time he was attached to the Cheshire Regiment as part of the United Nations peacekeping force.

"He was killed by a sniper, he was escorting an ambulance with three ladies in, two were pregnant and the sniper had him through the slit of the tank and hit him in the head," she recalled.

"The three women got to hospital and two of them had their babies. Unfortunately my son lost his life but he gave life to two children."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the meeting was an internal issue between senior generals.

"Our aim throughout the process of restructuring the infantry has been that all new regiments will preserve the history and traditions of their constituent parts," the statement added.

It said though it was "aware of the concerns expressed".




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