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Mum of killed Dagenham soldier: I’m glad we’re out of Afghanistan

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 November 2014 | UPDATED: 14:33 05 November 2014

Ann Williams, whose son Pte Tony Rawson was killed in Afghanistan

Ann Williams, whose son Pte Tony Rawson was killed in Afghanistan

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A mother who lost her soldier son in conflict has welcomed the return of British troops from Afghanistan – while her son’s friend calls for those returning home to be given more support.

Pte Tony RawsonPte Tony Rawson

Ann Williams, of Bushway, Dagenham, whose son Pte Tony Rawson, was killed in a gunfight with the Taliban in 2007, said she sees both sides of the argument over the withdrawal of troops.

“I’m glad they’re all coming home for their safety’s sake, but at the same time I wonder what will happen [in Afghanistan] when they have come home,” she said.

“I wouldn’t want other families to go through what we’re going through. Even though it was 2007, you still suffer every day.”

She added Remembrance has a special significance for the families of soldiers who have died in combat.

Pte Rawson's friend David Turner, who served with him in Afghanistan, said more should be done to help soldiers returning from conflictPte Rawson's friend David Turner, who served with him in Afghanistan, said more should be done to help soldiers returning from conflict

“I believe it’s important we remember all those who have given their lives. There are still those who are,” she said.

David Turner, 31, of Church Elm Lane, who served with Pte Rawson, said the withdrawal was a “long time overdue”.

“This should have happened many years ago,” he said. “I fought in Afghanistan, and I think, as many of my fellow soldiers do, that it’s not our fight. It comes from the government more than anything else.”

But David, who also served in Iraq – which British troops left in 2009 – said soldiers should be sent to fight Islamic State (Isis) terrorists there.

“In terms of Isis, the only way to deal with that is to take a robust attitude to it. A robust attitude means putting boots on the ground,” he said.

He said he doubted the Afghan army and police could secure their country and added troops may have to return in five years’ time.

David also called for more help to be given to servicemen returning with psychological trauma.

“There’s a lot of soldiers who serve, and ex-soldiers like myself, who don’t come back with physical wounds.

“Lost arms and limbs, losing their eyes and being blinded – you see that quite a lot. What you don’t see is the soldiers who suffer with the mental scars.”

He recommended charity Combat Stress, which helps veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other issues.


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