September 26th, 2016

Crabbs Cross ex-officer in march to back jailed soldier

Updated: 4:01 pm, Oct 31, 2015

AN EX-Royal Navy petty officer from Crabbs Cross was among those defying orders from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday, when he marched in London’s Parliament Square to show support for Royal Marine Sgt Alexander Blackman.

Tom Coyle travelled to the capital to join the rally held in support of Sgt Blackman, who was jailed in 2013 after being found guilty of murdering a severely wounded Taliban fighter whilst on patrol in Helmand province in 2011.

Blackman denied murdering the soldier and claims he thought he was already dead when he discharged his weapon.

Tom, who wore war medals that belonged to his father-in-law, an ex-Royal Marine, on his Petty Officer’s beret, said he thought the march went very well.

“We are a military family,” he added. “We have very strong links to the military and are quite passionate in supporting this particular event.”

Tom’s two sons are both involved with the military, as an ex-Marine and a Royal Engineer, and his wife was a WREN (Women of the Royal Naval Services).

“There was support from the writer Frederick Forsyth and from Sgt Blackman’s wife who presented a petiton to 10 Downing Street,” Tom said.