Yesterday saw the start of an inquest into the deaths of 6 UK servicemen, based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, who with a US serviceman were killed as a result of a collision between two Sea King helicopters in the Iraq war back in 2003. Out of the 6 three came from Cornwall and one came from Devon. I was very pleased that on the inquest's first day relatives of the dead were able to voice their own moving tributes to those they had lost.
It was a subject discussed on the Radio Devon phone in Wednesday lunchtime. One impassioned member of the public was very distressed about the long delay between event and inquest and I have to say how I agree with him. Clearly the families can have no sense of closure on this awful tragedy until the inquest is completed. Justin Leigh, who hosts the programme, stated that one problem causing the delay was the fact that the bodies being repatriated to this country generally are flown to RAF Brize Norton and that the inquests are all carried out at Oxford as is happening in this current case. I really do not understand why some of these inquests can't be carried out elsewhere in the case of bodies being returned from abroad if it would shorten the agonies of the loved ones.
Just one further comment. I may be wrong but I don't believe that Tony Blair has written any letters of condolence to the families of those who have died in Afghanistan or the over 100 who have come back in coffins from Iraq, or have visited the families. If he had I think it would have been made public by now. With his bogus sincerity he and the other leading party leaders will acknowledge the deaths in Parliament but that seems to be it. Blair will always be remembered for taking us into a war on a false premise, that is his legacy.