Tragic Lee's sister welcomes apology

Private Lee Ellis
Private Lee Ellis
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The sister of a former Wigan Athletic goalkeeper turned solider has told how she cried on receiving a Government apology over his ambush death while serving in Iraq.

Pte Lee Ellis is one of 37 servicemen to have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan while travelling in lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers.

Families have complained bitterly over the years that these soldiers were ill-protected and that their deaths could have been avoided.

The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War was highly critical of the Government over its slowness in replacing these vehicles. And there has been a lengthy legal battle, which eventually saw the Supreme Court rule the families could bring compensation claims against the Government under legislation covering negligence and human rights.

Last week Defence Secretary Michael Fallon wrote to families, apologising for delays in bringing in alternative protected vehicles "which could have saved lives".

Pte Ellis’s sister Karla said: "I wasn’t expecting much, a bit like the Iraq Inquiry, and I was pleasantly surprised when I received the letter. I think I actually cried.

"I just went ‘wow’, like I did when I started to read the John Chilcot report. It’s an amazing achievement.

"Our loved ones have not just gone down as a number, we’ve fought for their right to life and although obviously we can’t bring them back, their legacy will hopefully go forward and give other people the courage to do the same thing."