My son should should still be alive.
AN Exmouth father – whose son was killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province in 2007 - believes his son would still be alive if the UK troops were better equipped.
AN Exmouth father - whose son was killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province in 2007 - believes his son would still be alive if the UK troops were better equipped.
In the same week eight bodies of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan were returned to the UK, businessman Ian Sadler, 59, hit out at politicians sending UK troops to fight "under equipped", writes Becca Gliddon.
Mr Sadler's comments have won the backing of East Devon MP Hugo Swire.
Territorial Army Trooper Jack Sadler, of Clyst St George, died on December 4 2007, when his armoured Land Rover hit a landmine in Helmand Province.
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This week, his father has called for purpose-built mine-protected vehicles to be supplied to British troops.
Mr Sadler, who owns army surplus store Troopers in Exeter Road, said his son would be alive if he had been in the type of vehicle used by the Americans.
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An inquest last week found Jack Sadler was unlawfully killed on active service.
Since his son's death, Mr Sadler has compiled an extensive dossier of information gleaned from meetings with politicians.
Mr Sadler said the Ministry of Defence was "shortchanging" servicemen and women. He claimed his evidence showed British troops were being sent to fight with a lack of essential equipment.
He said: "Jack was disappointed by the quality of the uniforms they were issued. He thought they looked as if they had come from China. In comparison to the quality of the American uniforms, he said they were 'cheap c**p'.
"The issue desert boots are rubbish. Jack normally wore German Lowa boots at his own expense. He asked for a sting-guard face mask. Little things like this should be issued.
"He said the issued helmet was too large and, when used in conjunction with the Osprey body armour, it meant the helmet was knocked down over his eyes in the prone position - making it very difficult to sight a rifle, if not impossible.
"The lip of the helmet knocked on the back of the body armour as he put his head back.
"This resulted in Jack ordering eight helmets of the same ballistic classification as the issue helmet, but with a different design that didn't get in the way in a combat situation. Jack and his pals paid for the helmets.
"So Jack went into theatre already thinking - and not just him, otherwise there wouldn't have been an order for eight helmets - that their equipment was not up to scratch."
East Devon MP Hugo Swire, who has recently returned from a whistle-stop tour of troops in Helmand Province, said an investigation was under way over the types of vehicles used in combat.
He said the government was feeling the force of public outcry over an apparent lack of equipment.
The East Devon MP believed the British troops were "overstretched" by the conflict and said the war should not be open-ended for the UK.
Mr Swire said: "Mr Sadler is right to question this. There are eight Chinook helicopters in mothballs and there's huge pressure to get them in theatre.
"The Americans have been told they are engaged in war. The British people are told we are engaged in 'operations'. We have to tell people we are at war with that country and we need to get resources there."