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Chilcot Inquiry - Families react with anger

Families of military personnel who died in the Iraq War Credit: PA

The families of servicemen and women from the West who died in the Iraq war have reacted angrily following the publication of a damning report into the conflict.

Key findings announced by Sir John Chilcot include a failure to pursue all peaceful options before invasion, flawed intelligence and 'wholly inadequate' preparation - which led to a lack of essential equipment for troops

In total 28 people from the West died in the war and dozens who were injured continue to live with its consequences .

Jamie Cooper was the youngest British casualty in the Iraq War Credit: MoD

Jamie Cooper was the youngest British casualty in Iraq. He was 18 and a private when he was hit by a mortar. His hand was damaged and shrapnel carved a path through his body. He has no feeling in his lower leg.

Jamie, who lives near Bristol, agrees with Sir John's findings - although he remains philosophical about how it left him.

I don't think personally we should have gone there. I think we went there because the Americans wanted us to and we just followed along.

It's part of the job. I don't regret it. I signed up to being in the army and I got told to go and so I went.

– Jamie Cooper
The Iraq dead were repatriated through Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire Credit: ITV News

28 servicemen and women from our region died in Iraq, Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire unwantedly became world famous for the way it respected the dead on repatriation days.

The war lasted six years - it was shorter than the inquiry into it. The report It is nearly three million words long. But many of the words are damning.

Sir John said...

The circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for military action were far from satisfactory.

– Sir John Chilcot

Among the many findings the report said there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein, that Tony Blair pledged "I'll be with you" to President Bush months before the invasion, that flawed intelligence was the basis for the UK's Iraq policy and war was not the last resort.

Sgt Bob O'Connor died when the Hercules he was in was shot down Credit: Family

These are words which the families of servicemen and women have been waiting eight years for. Bob O'Connor was based at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire. His sister couldn't contain her fury.

I've gone back to that time when I learned that my brother had been killed. And there is one terrorist in this world that the world needs to be aware of.

And his name is Tony Blair - the world's worst terrorist.

– Sarah O'Connor, Sgt Bob O'Connor's sister

Today the former Prime Minister said the buck stopped with him.

I accept full responsibility for these points of criticism even where I do not fully agree with them.

I do not think it is fair or accurate to criticise the armed forces, the intelligence services or the civil service.

It was my decision they were acting upon.

– Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister

A decision which led young men like 21-year-old Daniel Coffey to war and his death.

Rifleman Daniel Coffey Credit: Family

Rifleman Daniel Coffey was 21 when he was killed in Iraq. His grandfather was in London today and said it brought back that darkest day.

As far as Daniel's family are concerned they put on a brave face but they haven't got over it. You can't. You never will.

– David Godfrey, Daniel Coffey's grandfather

His family isn't alone. A war far away - the consequences, the deaths and injuries, are felt back home still today.

28 service personnel from our region were killed in the Iraq War 2003-2009 Credit: ITV News

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