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Mother still against "wrong" Iraq war 10 years on
TEN years on from the start of the Iraq war a mother of two servicing soldiers still feels passionately against the invasion she believes was wrong from the outset.
Dawn Turner felt so strongly about the invasion of Iraq in 2003 she left the Labour party because she could not support a party that was prepared to go to war without UN backing and did not believe there were any weapons of mass destruction.
She stood as a candidate for the Nunnery ward in the previous Worcester City Council elections and now at the 10th anniversary of the start of the war she is as convinced as ever it was an unjust conflict.
Ms Turner, who is now the chief fund-raiser for Talking2Minds, a charity working with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, said: “Now I see the bigger picture and it has enforced my view even more - it was so damn wrong.”
She also says she sees the destruction left behind every day but feels their work is making a huge difference.
“I more concerned about the after effects. We are sitting on a ticking time bomb and you just don’t know how many we are sitting on.
“I have attended so many funerals over the last eight years of young soldiers through being killed in action or through suicide. This issue needs to be addressed and not swept under the carpet like some kind of dirty little secret.”
The anniversary is even more poignant for Ms Turner, as both her sons have since seen active service in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.
On seeing her eldest son, Scott - now 24 and serving in the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery - go to Iraq for the first time, she said: “He just seemed too young - he was only 18. He looked like he was wearing his dad’s clothes and I just thought this isn’t right.”
Despite not knowing whether she would see him again, she is supportive of his choice along with 22-year-old Robert who serves with the First Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.
“It’s a career they chose at an early stage. Even though I have my views on things I still had to be supportive as a mother about their life choices.”
The Talking2Minds charity, which gives war veterans the tools and coping mechanisms to carry on with their lives, is set to open a drop-in centre in about six weeks at the City Gym, Sheriff Street, Worcester.
War memories of the BBC's John Simpson: