Sunday, September 03, 2006

The loss of Nimrod air personnel in Afghanistan and cost to the families.

Having been on the beach in Nairn and watching an RAF Nimrod training over the airfield on Wednesday this all has some resonance.

When I was a boy my father was stationed at RAF Lossiemouth - just as it was changing over from a Naval Airstation and I attended the local school on the hill over looking the air station. One day we were in the play ground and noticed thick black smoke coming from the edge of the airfield. Some of my friends said a navy Gannet had crashed just short of the runway. At the end of the break the twins from the end of our road whose father (in the Fleet Air Arm) we knew flew in Gannets where first in line to go back in. That evening our mother came by to tell us he had been one of the casualties.

The impact was that they lost not only their father, but a way of life and his widow close contact with the friends in the services. They left the house to travel back south soon afterwards.

You can only guess that the same thing is happening again here. What makes these services deaths extra hard on the family is that they loose not just their husband/father, but also their house, social network and perhaps feeling of belonging which comes with the services. Many service wives will have given up on careers to follow the rapid postings around the country and world and may have less than many other people to fall back on.

I'd like to think the MOD will look after them well. But I have my doubts. Are we short changing the very people we should be most supporting ?

No comments: