View Full Version : Friendly fire marine still hurt

12-12-05, 07:13 AM
Friendly fire marine still hurt
BBC News

A South West Royal Marine injured by friendly fire in Iraq is still being treated more than two-and-a-half years after being hit by shrapnel.

He is the only one of eight injured commandos still not back on duty after the incident in Basra in March 2003.

The men from 40 Commando in Taunton, Somerset, and 29 Commando Royal Artillery in Plymouth, Devon, were hurt during a 15-hour battle.

An inquiry ruled the friendly fire was due to "mistakes" and "oversights".

The Royal Marines were the first non-special forces troops in action at the start of the war on Iraq.

When the eight marines were injured during the assault on Iraqi positions near the Basra suburb of Abu Al Khasib, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was the result of "indirect fire" after 10 days of intensive fighting, an MoD board of inquiry heard last week.

'Blue on blue'

The MoD has now revealed that one individual, who has not been named, is still receiving treatment and is yet to return to duty.

A spokesman for the MoD said every precaution was taken to keep the risk of friendly fire, or so-called "blue on blue", incidents to a minimum.

Liberal Democrat South East Cornwall MP and Defence Select Committee member Colin Breed said he hoped new equipment would reduce the chances of such incidents happening again.

He said: "In battle conditions there will always be mistakes because of general confusion and activity of soldiers in so many locations.

"But I think friendly fire incidents are drastically reducing, and I hope they will be reduced even further when new communications systems are introduced next year."

The MoD board of inquiry ruled the marines were hit by friendly fire after a number of "mistakes and planning oversights".