Yesterday the sad news came that six more young soldiers had lost their lives in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Before I go any further this post is not about politics and I care not whether our troops should or should not be there. No soap boxes.
Five of them were members of the Yorkshire Regiment. The Regiment formed on Tuesday 6 June 2006 from the three Yorkshire Infantry Regiments; The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire; The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment) and The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) plus their affiliated Territorial Army units. Collectively, these historic Yorkshire Regiments trace their history back to 1685 the year James Stuart, Duke of York, became King James II. Over time they have become known as the Yorkshire Warriors.
My initial reaction on hearing of the soldiers deaths was that they were just boys who had barely begun their lives. Now sadly their lives are completed and they are at their journeys end. On reading about them through the local, national and media press and also hearing their families speak of them it is clear that these were not boys, they were young men. I suppose the fact that I have lived more than half of my life coloured my perspective.
I find that I cannot empathise with their families, to do this would require me to understand what they are experiencing. How many of us can honestly say that we understand what they are feeling at this time. The emotions created through the loss of their children under such terrible circumstances. I can only imagine, and that is the problem. My children are grown up with children of their own. They are not facing the daily threats to their lives that the young men in Afghanistan are facing. I can only sympathise with their families, and I do.
And that is the reason for this post, it is not about politics, it is not about the rights and wrongs of armed conflict. Those things I will leave to others. I am a parent who loves my children with all of my heart. I cannot imagine the terrible pain caused by the loss of a son in these circumstances. But I will carry them and their families in my thoughts.
In memory of the Yorkshire Warriors:
Corporal Jake Hartley, 20
Private Anthony Frampton, 20
Private Christopher Kershaw, 19
Private Daniel Wade, 20
Private Daniel Wilford, 21,
all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment
Also in memory of: Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, who was killed alongside them.
The Captain, my father, was a Duke, (Duke of Wellington's Regiment) and a Yorkshire Warrior.