Family of Woodsetts soldier killed in Afghanistan ‘disgusted’ by memorial snub

Private Gavin Elliott, of Woodsetts, was killed aged 19.
Private Gavin Elliott, of Woodsetts, was killed aged 19.

The family of a Woodsetts soldier killed in Afghanistan have spoken of their ‘disgust’ at not being invited to the unveiling of a new memorial.

Private Gavin Elliott, of Woodsetts, near Worksop was just 19 when he was shot dead while on patrol in the Helmand province in 2009.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial was unveiled in London on Thursday to honour Britons who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf - including the 682 who like Gavin made the ultimate sacrifice in those conflicts.

But Gavin’s family were among hundreds of grieving relatives who missed out on the chance to be there, after just 250 tickets were reserved for bereaved families.

Gavin’s sister Becky Elliott said her mum Jayne was never even invited to apply for a ticket and had only learned about the ceremony via Facebook once it was too late to do so.

“It’s all very well having the important people there, like politicians, but those it means the most to are the grieving families of those who died.

“For us and so many other families not to even be invited to apply for a ticket is an insult. It’s disgusting.”

Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Hill, who commanded B Company of the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, in which Gavin served, tweeted a photo of the vacant pews accompanied by the hashtag #dishonourable.

He later tweeted the Ministry of Defence and prime minister Theresa May, saying :”Not to invite bereaved families was STUPID”.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “We ensured all groups were represented, including bereaved families, which is why we asked charities and groups specifically linked to them to suggest attendees and granted all those applications.”

He pointed out there were already monuments elsewhere dedicated solely to the fallen from those conflicts.