MoD leaves widows off guest list for unveiling of war memorial to their loved ones
The memorial is due to be unveiled on Thursday to commemorate military and civilian personnel who served in the Gulf War, 2003 Iraq War and Afghanistan War.
Only 2,500 places were available at the opening at Victoria Gardens and the event afterwards at Horse Guards in central London, and a number of wives and families of soldiers killed in the wars say they have been snubbed.
“All the Hooray Henrys and the dignitaries will be there who haven’t even lost anybody in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan – and they haven’t even got the decency to write a letter to us to inform us of what is going on,” Wendy Rayner, whose husband Peter Rayner was killed in Afghanistan, told the Times Tuesday.
Rayner said that other widows had also not been informed of the ceremony.
“It makes you wonder: do your men get killed in war because of the incompetence of higher ranks, and that incompetence means they can’t even organize this event properly?” she said.
Julie Hall, whose son Darren Deady was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, did not receive an invitation either.
“I feel disappointed. It is in memory of our kids,” she said.
“It is hard when you hear that a lot of dignitaries are going to be there. What right have they got to be there above us? They haven’t sacrificed anything, have they?”
The memorial, which will feature two pillars to represent Iraq and Afghanistan, was backed by the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper and was partially funded by the global arms giant BAE systems.
On the 9 March HM The Queen will unveil the Iraq & Afghanistan Memorial honouring the duty and service of both UK armed forces and civilians pic.twitter.com/FzN7528myc— Ministry of Defence (@DefenceHQ) February 28, 2017
It will be opened by the Queen and Prince Harry, who served as an Apache pilot in Afghanistan.
“To ensure each group is represented, we asked charities and groups representing the bereaved of each service to suggest attendees and we look forward to welcoming them on Thursday,” an MoD spokesperson told the paper.