Mother's fury at Iraq call-ups
A FURIOUS mother hit out at the Government last night for forcing part-time soldiers with little training or experience to serve in Iraq.Dorothy Lord said she was amazed ministers were making defence cuts and merging regiments when they had to resort to sending members of the Territorial Army (TA) to serve in the war-torn country.
By Danielle Nuttall
A FURIOUS mother hit out at the Government last night for forcing part-time soldiers with little training or experience to serve in Iraq.
Dorothy Lord said she was amazed ministers were making defence cuts and merging regiments when they had to resort to sending members of the Territorial Army (TA) to serve in the war-torn country.
The 57-year-old legal secretary was speaking after her only daughter won a last-minute appeal against compulsory duty in Iraq with the TA on medical grounds.
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Katherine Lord was told two weeks ago that she would have to leave her high-flying financial job in the city for the next 12 months in order to join British troops in Iraq.
The 25-year-old, from Ipswich, had not taken part in any TA activities since moving to London two months ago and had only ever attended once weekly meetings and the occasional weekend training session in her hometown.
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As one of a handful of Ipswich TA members selected for compulsory service, she was due to begin a two-month intensive training programme in Nottingham next week before flying out to the country.
However, she was told yesterday she would not have to go due to the likelihood she would need hospital treatment over the next few months.
Mrs Lord, of Valley Road, Ipswich, said it was a huge relief but criticised the Government for calling inexperienced, part-time soldiers to serve.
"Compared to regular army training, the TA training is limited and they don't receive the same preparation and training as a regular soldier would receive.
"Katherine joined the TA because she felt it would be challenging and was prepared to serve her Queen and country if required for national security but had not considered she would be called up to serve in a war zone which in itself has a huge question mark over whether our forces should be there at all."
She added: "I am angry with the Government. If the British Army is so desperate to compulsorily call up a TA unit then why are they making so many dramatic cuts in the defence budget by way of reducing personnel at all levels."
Miss Lord graduated from Birmingham University four years ago and now has a high-paid position as a business manager with Hayes Accountancy and Finance in Covent Garden, London.
She joined the TA unit in Yarmouth Road, Ipswich, for a challenge after leaving university and qualified as an HGV driver.
Her employers appealed against the decision to send Miss Lord to Iraq because she is such a valued part of the team but this was rejected.
However, Miss Lord appealed for a second time on medical grounds as she is due to have a hospital examination and may need follow-up treatment over the next few months.
The business manager's 29-year-old brother, Captain Robert Lord, is presently serving in Bosnia with the Army and has so far not been called to serve in Iraq.
Mrs Lord said: "I was devastated when she told me. I was very concerned about her health in that she would not be receiving the follow up treatments required.
"She was very shocked when she received the call up papers but she was very dignified about it. She was very, very scared."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said last night people joining the TA knew there was a possibility they would be called up to serve at some point.
"She would have been properly prepared to go and trained before she went there," the spokesman said.
"There is often a need for particular specialists and we have difficulty recruiting. Currently there are a number of key trades like doctors, nurses and engineers where we need key skills.
"The TA is very much integrated with the regular army and that's always been the case."