UK & World News
Body Parts Of Troops Kept Without Permission
Body parts of 30 soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been kept by the Ministry of Defence without the permission of their families, officials have said.
About six body parts and more than 50 tissue samples were retained by the Royal Military Police (RMP) without relatives of the servicemen being notified.
The remains were discovered last month when a new manager was appointed at the Military Police's Special Investigations Branch (SIB).
The MoD said it would confirm the identities of those involved on Thursday and write to families offering a formal apology and details of the material held.
An urgent investigation has been launched and a helpline for concerned relatives has been posted on the MoD website.
The body parts were reportedly found at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, while the tissue samples - which make up 90% of the material and were kept on laboratory slides for matching or identifying the dead soldiers - were discovered at the SIB's headquarters at Bulford Garrison in Wiltshire.
Major General James Everard, Assistant Chief of the General Staff, told Sky News the samples relate to 30 service personnel dating back to 2002 and confirmed that two families have so far been informed.
He said: "We owe a huge apology to the families involved and those who will now be feeling stressful even if it doesn't affect them."
Maj Gen†Everard blamed a "failure of process" for the tissue samples being kept.
He said: "There was some suggestion that the tissue samples were being held for wider purpose. They weren't.
"These were just tissue samples that we had failed to recover post-inquest and deal with in line with the families' wishes.
"It's a failure of process, nothing more than that, but we absolutely recognise this will cause distress and we're deeply sorry."
A Royal British Legion spokeswoman said: "The Royal British Legion is deeply concerned that the wishes of bereaved families were ignored in these cases and urges the MoD to take corrective action urgently and to ensure that this never happens again.
"Human remains must be treated with utmost respect and accountability, not only to protect the dignity and feelings of service families, but also to preserve the integrity of the inquest process.
"We will be following this matter with interest.
An Army spokesman said: "There are occasions when it is necessary for the RMP Special Investigations Branch to retain slides of forensic material from individuals killed on operations as part of their investigation - this is standard practice.
"However, the RMP identified there were a small number of cases where this had been done without the correct processes being followed to inform families."
The MoD said a change in the way the SIB liaised with families was to blame for the consent not being achieved, adding that when the oversight came to light in July the procedures were immediately changed.
what do you think?
Danger --- Lawyers at work !!!
Edgar. Distressing for the families and it should not have happened but I am with you on this.Listen hard and you can hear the Lawyers circling scenting easy money
At least its not in the hundreds, or like Alerts Hey. Still small comfort for the families that it's small samples.
Another kick in the teeth for the Armed Forces and their famlies..... another disgusting decision frm the MOD. Horrendous
This is disgraceful. Bad enough that we ask these people to fight on our behalf and risk their lives in a pointless war, and then we treat them like this adding to the distress of their families. We don't deserve the armed forces that we have, or thanks to Cameron & Co and Major, Blair and Brown), perhaps I should write '...have left...'.
You say they risked their lives in a pointless war. IF YOU HAD BEEN LIVING IN 1939 IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE THAT YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE PROTESTORS IN LONDON PROTESTING THAT IT WAS NOT OUR WAR WITH GERMANY. YES THERE WHERE BRITISH PEOPLE PROTESTING AGAINST GOING TO WAR AGAINST GREMANY.
Lonsdale, if you ever bothered to read my comments here you would know that I support strong defencesand believe that our government is irresponsible and treacherous. We should not be in Afghanistan, other than for a short punishment mision, as trying to impose a western-style democrac y on a feudal tribal society is pointless. We are not protecting our country by being there as the Islamic terrorists have already spread into Yeme and Somalia. In the 1930s, I would have been urging re-armament, as I do now.
How long should such pieces of soldiers' bodies by kept, then? Can't everyone sign forms to say if they go to war, their death might have to be investigated, perhaps for an unknown length of time? They'd have to know, was their death caused by weapons, was it caused by health problems. Were there chemical weapons, nerve agents, all sorts of things. They might even want to compare their genetic code with future soldiers? Is it acceptable to keep such slides for one hundred years? What about one thousand years? Freezing parts in liquid nitrogen for long term study? Should soldiers sign consent forms for that? Why not forever? Why one thousand years? If humanity are here in one thousand years, they might want to study the slides beyond that date? Scientists have brought bacteria back to life frozen under Antarctic ice, for instance? Soldiers could agree to have their remains permanently destroyed, like some of my relatives have or to be studied for a specified or unspecified length of time?
Firstly my admiration goes out to the young soldiers serving in foreign lands. I'm sure if it was properly explained to their families they would understand. The Media trying to make a big story. These tissue samples are required by law encase there is a dispute over the persons death. When anyone dies in civilian street Joe public. There is a post-mortem and tissue samples are take before person is buried to ensure proper death certificate is issued even after burial. As far as I'm concerned these soldiers where treated with great respect. And being buried without these tissue samples they are still heroes that we are indebted to.
So why hide it from the families if it is required by law?
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For anyone who has read Lonsdale's comments, he is wrong. In the 1930s I would have been urging re-armament as I do now. We cannot win in Afghanistan and we cannot impose a Western-style democracy on a feudal tribal state. Claims that we are fightingh to protect our country are wrong as the evil has already spread to Somalia and Yemen, and here too.
Mr Lonsdale, there is a massive difference between defencive war, ie 1939, when men and women were conscripted to defend their country, and aggressive war, where career service personnel are sent on the attack, why?, because the USA were greedy for oil and used 9/11 as an excuse. Where were the "weopons of mass destruction" we were told threatened us?. I and my husband are both ex service personnel, we always knew that being killed was an occupational hazard. It's those left behind who suffer most.
hmmm astrange thing for the M.O.D to do ??? .Very distressing for the relatives .Sort this out fast ,its awful.
SO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING David Wragg 7:01 PM on 9/8/2012...Betts Stalford 7:04 PM on 9/8/2012 THAT OUR YOUNG SOLDIERS GIVE THEIR LIFE'S FOR NOTHING. WITH DUMPTIES LIKE YOU I AM SURE THAT WILL BE REALLY COMFORTING TO THEIR FAMALIES.