News In Depth
Ex-nurse dedicated to saving others
He knew the dangers of working in war-torn areas. But that did not deter Khalil Dale from wanting to make a difference to vulnerable people.
The 60-year-old found his calling working with the Red Cross around the world, dedicating himself to healthcare programmes and saving countless lives. There is a cruel irony in the fact that this Scotsman, described as gentle and caring by his friends and colleagues, met his death in such a brutal way.
Mr Dale was known as Ken when he worked as a staff nurse in the A&E department at Dumfries Infirmary, later becoming a Muslim convert and changing his name.
Outside of work, he was involved with the Friends of the Earth and the CND campaign, and was also a talented photographer, having studied at Dumfries and Galloway College.
His first overseas mission with the Red Cross came in 1981 when he went to Kenya to distribute food and help those affected by drought.
Mr Dale's work also took him to Somalia, from 1991 to 1993, where he worked in field hospitals in the aftermath of the country's famine.
In an interview for PBS documentary Frontline, transcribed on the broadcaster's website, he described the horror of seeing a community brought to its knees. He said: "At the beginning of the intervention I went to a town in a region.. where there was a population of about 17,000 people.
"I was the first one to get in. And I was overwhelmed, I'd never seen anything like it. There were bodies - people who had died of starvation, there were people with gun shot wounds, there were young children, women, just lying, waiting to die, really emaciated and there weren't any nurses, doctors, there was nothing.
"The whole infrastructure collapsed and they were just people who had given up hope and it was horrific."
He described food convoys being attacked, and one Red Cross colleague who was fatally shot, adding: "To me, it was a completely unacceptable death."
This was a man aware of the risks, and he poignantly discussed the fact that the Red Cross was usually unarmed. He said: "Usually, the Red Cross never ever deals with people with guns. We never carry guns in our vehicles.
"But in Somalia we had to employ guards and escorts to see us through the dangerous areas and to cross frontlines. I think Somalia was the first for many things, not just for UN armed intervention - peace keepers they call them - but obviously for the Red Cross. Times are changing and the Red Cross isn't protected as it used to be."
As well as Somalia, he worked in Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Mogadishu - his work there leading to him being awarded an MBE.
He was on secondment with the International Committee of the Red Cross when he went to Pakistan nearly a year ago.
It was to be the last assignment of a man who had helped so many others, his death, as British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nick Young said, robbing people of the expert help they so badly needed.