Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 14:09 UK

Soldier death 'won't deter sons'

Corporal Paul Joszko
Corporal Paul Joszko died in Basra last June aged 28

A young mother says she would not stop her sons from becoming soldiers despite the fact their father was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Corporal Paul Joszko, from Abercynon, Cynon Valley, died with two other soldiers from 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales).

A year on, Kayleigh Billingham, 19, said she would be proud if their sons followed in his footsteps.

But she said she believed soldiers should now be brought home from Iraq.

She has two sons, Dylan, two, and Iestyn, seven months.

She said: "I know some people could be dead against me saying to my kids I wouldn't mind if they followed their father's footsteps, but it would be nice for them to grow up knowing that's what their father did.

"And hopefully they can have that life too that he did," she said.

"I would be proud of them if they did say 'mam, I want to follow daddy's footsteps or I want to join the army and be where my father went.'"

I just look at them every single day and it's like looking at their father, the pair of them
Kayleigh Billingham

But she said she thought it was time UK soldiers were brought home from Iraq.

"Too many things are happening now, too many boys are getting injured," she added.

"It's not a good thing. They should be brought home and that's what I feel.

"At the end of it I hope they do finally achieve what they have gone out there to achieve, but I think it's just too long now. Too many families getting hurt."

Miss Billingham found out she was expecting the couple's second child a week after Cpl Joszko was deployed to Iraq.

"Obviously he had the phone call and I told him then," she said.

"He was happy. He wanted another one anyway so I'm glad he knew I was pregnant before it happened so he died knowing he had another child on the way.

"I sent him the first scan photo out to him so he did see a little image of it."

Iestyn was born on what would have been his father's 29th birthday.

Miss Billingham, who had been with Cpl Joszko for two years, said her children often look at photographs of their father and she talks about him "every day".

She said: "I'm just taking it day to day at the moment. Obviously when you're in the house on your own you think what does my future lie ahead of me, the kids' future?

"Are we going to be alright? But he's given me two lives to bring up and that's what I'm going to do, the best I can.

"I just look at them every single day and it's like looking at their father, the pair of them."

Baby born on late dad's birthday
07 Dec 07 |  South East Wales

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