Sunday, September 01, 2013

Death Memorial

My son’s name was Kenneth John Laga, he died on 31st August 2005, along with two other young soldiers in Gutersloh, Germany.
I had lost my oldest son (non military) 7 months earlier, so Kenneth’s death was unbearable, and also totally needless.  The 3 boys were on a visit to the medical centre at another barracks.
Kenneth was with 26 Regiment, Royal Artillery.  The regiment had to replace the original duty driver that morning, as he was on a course.  The replacement driver, it transpired, had never driven a Land Rover Wolf alone, let alone on right hand drive roads (Germany), he should not have been given the full license to drive the vehicle as he should have undergone conversion training before being allowed to drive, this was his first driving duty!
 He did not get his work ticket signed before setting off (the work ticket is the equivalent to the insurance document), he lost his way, took a gentle left hand bend too quickly for his ability and lost control of the vehicle and smashed into two trees.  All the three boys died later that day of massive head and body injuries.
The front seat belts were torn apart as the roof ripped off the vehicle, it was left holding on by one screw.  What happened after has been a disaster as far as I am concerned.  My husband died  16 months later, he had a massive heart attack at the age of 53.
The only person who has faced any punishment was the driver, he was fined £1,000 at a court martial for careless driving, he appealed against this all the way to the House of Lords, all paid for by  tax payers money.  I have lost track of how many times I have asked about the Sgt who issued him with the full license, in fact he has been promoted now to Staff Sgt.  He has not had a  court martial or faced any internal discipline, he answered at the inquest that he had had an informal chat with his new commanding officer.
Elaine Laga, Mother of Kenneth Laga.

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