Armed Forces International News - January 2008
Nimrod Crash Victims' Families Criticise OBE Decision
Posted by Paul Fiddian on 04/01/2008 - 18:02:16
The families of those killed in the Nimrod tragedy in September 2006 have criticised the fact that an OBE will be awarded to the military figure in command of the squadron the fated aircraft belonged to. The most recent New Year’s Honour List includes the name of Wing Commander Martin Cannard – there, for the work he has carried out in respect of the deceased’s relatives.
The accident in question occurred when a Royal Air Force Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol aircraft crashed in Afghanistan, close to Kandahar. The crash claimed the lives of all fourteen on board, of which 12 hailed from the RAF Kinloss-based 120 Squadron.
Report Said Fuel Leak the Likely Nimrod Crash Cause
A report on the Nimrod crash issued towards the end of last year attributed the cause to a likely fuel leak.
120 Squadron was commanded by Wing Cdr Cannard when the incident occurred.
As far as the father of one of those killed is concerned, the fact that Wing Cdr Cannard is being awarded in this way “beggars belief.” Graham Knight – parent of Sergeant Ben Knight – added that, when the news emerged, he felt “completely shocked at first, then outraged.”
"We've had very little interaction with Mr Cannard," he stated. "If anybody deserves anything, it is the visiting officers that we all had."
Such visitors, he explained, provided significant support to the Knights after the Nimrod tragedy, as well as the other families involved.
Mr Knight further added: "In the report, they say there was a question mark over the air-worthiness and safety of the aircraft, then you have got the commanding officer, one of the people responsible for the safety, getting an OBE. It just beggars belief really."
MoD: Wing Commander Deserves OBE
A spokesman from the Ministry of Defence, however, asserted that the Wing Cdr in question was deserving of the OBE, highlighting how “extraordinary devotion, compassion and leadership under the most trying circumstances" has been displayed.
In other recent related news, it emerged in December 2007 that the aircraft intended to replace the Nimrod MR2 - the reworked MR4 - will likely exceed its forecast costs.
Source – Armed Forces International’s Political Correspondent
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