September 27th, 2016

A hero remembered as conflict flag is lowered

A hero remembered as conflict flag is lowered A hero remembered as conflict flag is lowered
Updated: 10:14 am, May 07, 2015

THE FAMILY of Redditch’s fallen hero from the Afghanistan war have not backed calls for an inquiry, saying it would not bring him back.

This week the flag was lowered at Camp Bastion as the last soldiers left, marking the end of the 13-year conflict which cost the lives of 453 British men and women including Lance Corporal Dale Hopkins.

The 23-year-old died in August 2009 while on routine security patrol alongside Afghan National Security Forces to the north of Lashkar Gah when the Jackal vehicle he was travelling in was hit by an explosion followed by a small arms fire attack.

Since his death his family, friends and colleagues have organised countless fund-raising events, to date collecting more than £32,000 for The Afghanistan Trust charity.

Reflecting this week on the war, his sister Emma Morgan told the Standard the family had mixed views but did not think an inquiry similar to the one held following the conflict in Iraq, which many have called for, would make any difference.

“It’s not going to bring our Dale back and do we really need to bring up the reasons why he died and the other soldiers? No we don’t.

“It’s still a struggle without having to have to go through it all again.”

She added their mother Sue Featherstone had not wanted Dale to join the army and thought bringing the soldiers out was a good thing, as it meant no other families had to go through what they had gone through in the last five years.

“She does feel he died in vain now though.” Emma added. “I, on the other hand, had many conversations with my bro about how he felt being out there and was he scared, but he actually said he didn’t feel scared – he may have just said that to me to stop his big sister worrying about him.

“But he also said he believed he was out there for the right reasons. He loved his job and the soldiers who he worked beside. I have very mixed emotions about them leaving. I would like to think they have left and made a difference out there.

“I have not liked reading stories in the press saying this war shouldn’t have happened and there were flaws because at the end of the day 453 British men and women died fighting the Taliban.”

Redditch MP Karen Lumley, who visited the troops during the war, said hopefully they had left the country in a better state than it was when they arrived.

“The Afghanistan army can now take over and make sure the Afghan people can live in peace and have fair elections.” she said.

“I don’t think an inquiry is needed at all, we need to let them get on and live their lives.

“We must never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, including Dale Hopkins, for the future of our country.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/Dale-Hopkins for more information about the family’s fund-raising efforts or to donate.

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