War on a shoestring’

A GRIEVING Exmouth father, whose son was killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province in 2007, says the MOD s decision to garage eight Chinook helicopters killed his son.

A GRIEVING Exmouth father, whose son was killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province in 2007, says the MOD's decision to 'garage' eight Chinook helicopters killed his son.

Exmouth businessman Ian Sadler, 59, believes his 21-year-old son Jack, who died after suffering a catalogue of horrific injuries and was bleeding to death from a puncture wound, would be alive if more helicopters were available to serving troops, writes Becca Gliddon.

Mr Sadler, who exposed the army's decision to allow a cut-and-shut helicopter to be used by our fighting troops, believes his son paid with his life when the MOD allowed Jack to transport weaponry through a heavily-mined area in an unprotected, un-armoured Landrover, instead of airlifting the equipment.

Mr Sadler said the lack of helicopters resulted in his son - who still had a pulse when he was picked up - missing out on vital medical care once he was hit, because he was forced to wait 45 minutes for a helicopter to arrive.

He said the length of time his son had to wait was 'nothing short of a scandal'.

The owner of Troopers, in Exeter Road, has hit out at the MOD for holding eight Chinook helicopters in a hangar at Middle Wallop, and saying the aircraft were 'not cleared for operational use'.

Most Read

He slammed Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne's belief it was 'impossible' for troops to carry out patrolling tasks from helicopters.

Mr Sadler said: "It's unreasonable to have these people patrolling on our behalf in vehicles that are just going to get blown up. We haven't got enough helicopters.

"People who couldn't aspire to the physical and mental requirements of these front-line soldiers are sending them out to fight in our name, in inadequate transport.

"We should be ashamed, but then most of us are unaware as the figures are kept under wraps. It is blatantly obvious to me the army is fighting this war on a shoestring.

"Had the right funding been available, my beautiful son might still be alive.

"If Jack had been killed in a contest with some Afghans I could accept that. But Jack was taken out with a mine, sitting there waiting for some booby to set it off.

"I have heard from a senior serving officer that we have the best kit in the world, but not enough of it.

"My son was so precious to me. If I could die to bring him back to life, I would.