Iraq: avoidable mistakes and equipment failures

Gordon Brown has rejected criticism from five former military chiefs about the treatment of and funding for the armed forces. Other, rank-and-file critics have suggested that avoidable mistakes and equipment failures may have played a contributory part in the deaths of a number of British soldiers.

For example, the RAF was accused of ignoring warnings that its Nimrod aircraft were unsafe prior to one exploding in Afghanistan, killing 14 airmen in September 2006.

Graham Knight, who lost his 25-year-old son Sergeant Ben Knight in the crash, said last month that he had issued a freedom of information request over the aircraft's safety. He claimed the MoD ignored warnings from manufacturers BAE Systems that fire detection equipment was needed.

Anger growing over care of troops (BBC website, 23 November 2007)