Two soldier’s, one sailor

John A Silkstone

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REAL IRA ARE 'COWARDS' SAY FAMILY OF MURDERED BRITISH SOLDIER

The family of a British soldier murdered by dissident republicans in Northern Ireland described his killers as "cowards" as they laid him to rest.

Sapper Mark Quinsey, 23, was gunned down as he took delivery of pizzas in front of the main gates of his barracks hours before he was due to fly to fight on the front line in Afghanistan.

Another soldier, Sapper Patrick Azimkar, 21, was also killed in a hail of 60 bullets outside the Massereene Barracks in Antrim on March 7. Both were unarmed.

The Real IRA claimed responsibility for the attack in which two other soldiers, and two pizza deliverymen, were also seriously injured.

Hundreds of people packed Immanuel Church in Highters Heath, Birmingham for Sapper Quinsey's funeral.

His coffin, draped in the Union flag and bedecked by his regimental cap, was followed by his parents Pamela and Bill Quinsey, and his tearful sister Jaime, 25. She told the funeral "It breaks my heart to think that I will never see you again. What's happened to you is just so hard for me to understand. "You were the most caring, respectable young lad I knew. You did not deserve what those cowards did to you. You will always remain in our hearts. I will always love you."

Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis, Commanding Officer of 38 Engineer Regiment, read a statement on behalf of the murdered soldier's parents. They said: "We couldn't have been more proud of Mark joining the Army. He was looking forward to going to Afghanistan. He wanted to prove what he was made of.

"He has been cheated of the opportunity to serve his country, which is what he so desperately wanted to do. "We have 23 years of wonderful memories with Mark but we will miss him every day of the rest of our lives."

Poland is to decorate Sapper Marc Fitzpatrick, 21, one of the British soldiers who survived the attack.

He risked his own life to save one of the pizza delivery man, a Pole who has only been named as Marcin at the request of his family.

As the gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons Sapper Fitzpatrick pushed the Pole into the foot-well of his delivery car. The soldier was shot in the chest and wrist during the assault.

Aleksander Szczyglo, head of Poland's National Security Office, said: "He showed great courage and saved the life of one our countrymen. He deserves to be honoured by Poland."
Sapper Fitzpatrick will be invited to Poland to receive a medal, likely to be Order of the Polish Republic, from President Lech Kaczynski.




MOTHER OF SUBMARINER TELLS OF HER 'MENTAL TORTURE' OVER DEAD SON

The mother of a Royal Navy seaman killed when an oxygen generator exploded on board a nuclear submarine told an inquest of the "mental torture" she has endured since her son's death.

Operator mechanic Anthony Huntrod, 20, from Sunderland, died from multiple injuries while leading mechanic operator Paul McCann, 32, from Halesowen, West Midlands, was poisoned to death by carbon monoxide when the 3.3lb (1.5kg) device blew up on board HMS Tireless in 2007.

Brenda Gooch, 47, the mother of OM Huntrod today told an inquest into his death that he had waited six days before she found out whether she would be able to bury her son, and a further six months before she learned of the full extent of his injuries.

"When I received the news on March 21 that my son had been killed I went into shock, this was then followed by disbelief," she said in a statement read to the coroner, Derek Winter.
"I had to wait six weeks before I found out if I had a body to bury as the only information I had been given was that my son had taken the blast.

"Those six days were the start of what has for nearly two years been what can only be described as mental torture for me," she told the inquest at the Regus Centre, Doxford Park, Sunderland.

The inquest has heard how the men were involved in a wargames training exercise on board the hunter-killer class sub, which was sailing hundreds of feet under the arctic ice pack 170 miles north of Deadhorse, in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

They were trapped in a forward escape compartment when the Scog (Self contained oxygen generator) exploded, buckling the hatch doors and preventing rescuers from reaching them.

Tireless, which had 130 crewmen on board, surfaced immediately, punching a hole through the pack ice for survivors to be airlifted to safety.

But the inquest heard it took rescuers 44 minutes to reach the cabin where OM Huntrod and OM McCann lay injured.

"As a mother, to hear that my son had to lie there alone with horrific injuries is heartbreaking," Ms Gooch said. "The images and feelings I have had to endure cannot be put into words. I was not there when my son died, I could not help him, and I could not comfort him. "I never got to say goodbye to my son, and that goes against everything that is natural in a mother, and the bond she has from the day her child is born. The instinct to protect, and be there for your child never goes away, no matter how old they are," she said. Ms Gooch told the coroner she thought the duty of care owed to OM Huntrod and OM McCann was "blatantly disregarded" and had resulted in their deaths.

"This must never happen again," she said. "My son's death needs to be a reminder that any complacency, a lack of duty of care or cost with regard to a person's safety is unacceptable at any time and on any terms."

The inquest heard how the Scog which exploded could have been taken from a supply of almost 1,000 oxygen canisters found in a hazardous waste store in Plymouth.

Some of those recycled from the dump may have come from a faulty batch, which should have been recalled, but only 90 of the 294 faulty Scogs were recovered by the Royal Navy.

The defect meant that some of the Scogs could burn with "ferocious violence".
OM Huntrod's father, Alan Huntrod, 56, himself a former member of the Merchant Navy, told the corner he thought it was "a remarkable coincidence" that his son died after those Scogs were recycled.

Mr Huntrod said: "What we know is that this Scog exploded. What we also know is that Scogs which had reached such a state that submariners had rejected them for service were subsequently reintroduced into service just before Tireless embarked on this tour of duty.

"For the Ministry of Defence to conclude there is no causal link is far too convenient, and I do not accept it."

Brian McCann, the father of Paul McCann, told the coroner that his son had described HMS Tireless as "a nail, waiting for disaster to happen" when on leave at Christmas 2006.
The inquest, which is being heard without a jury, continues.

Stand at easy boys and rest in piece.

Silky
 
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