Family’s fears for brothers at arms

WORRIED ... Graham Ward's stepsons Daniel, 18, and Simon, 24, are being sent to Afghanistan at the same time.
WORRIED ... Graham Ward's stepsons Daniel, 18, and Simon, 24, are being sent to Afghanistan at the same time.

A FAMILY have told how they face a Saving Private Ryan scenario – after their soldier sons were sent to fight together.

Worried Graham and Mandy Ward fear brothers in arms Simon and Daniel Maguire may both be lost in battle.

The pair have just started tours of duty in Afghanistan and may face frontline action.

Mr and Mrs Ward, of Edinburgh Road, Jarrow, believe other nations would be less likely to despatch siblings at the same time.

They have raised their concerns with Army chiefs – but have been told nothing can be done.

Taxi driver Mr Ward, 43, the boys’ stepdad, said: “We are very worried about what could happen – my wife is beside herself.

“Every night at 8pm I put the bolt in the door because we fear getting the most dreaded of knocks.

“They are soldiers and we don’t have a problem with them fighting for their country, but we do object to them going at the same time.

“You would think the Army would take into account how devastating it would be if both were lost.

“There’s hardly a minute goes by when you are not thinking about what may be happening all those miles away.”

Simon, 24, a lance corporal in the Light Dragoons, is on his third tour of duty to danger zone Helmand province.

He has seen major frontline action, including witnessing a close comrade dying in a roadside bomb blast on his second tour three years ago. His 18-year-old brother, a private in the same regiment, is on his first tour.

The former Springfield Comprehensive School pupils are based at Camp Bastion, the main British Army base in worn-torn Helmand.

L/Cpl Maguire is three weeks into a six-month tour, with Pte Maguire, who also serves with a reconnaissance unit, having left five weeks ago.

They joined the Army after leaving school at 16 and their UK base is at Swanton Morley, Dereham, Norfolk.

In the Hollywood film Saving Private Ryan, three brothers are lost fighting the Nazis in Europe, while a fourth is ordered home.

Mr and Mrs Ward, 42, a nurse, say Army top brass proved unsympathetic to their plight.

Mr Ward added: “We spoke to their superior, but all he said was he had a son in Afghanistan.

“They are fine lads, and they adore the Army and they know the risks, but we are finding it very hard to deal with.

“It’s hard for any family who has a son fighting there and we have two. We are devastated that they are there now.

“What is happening is a bit like Saving Private Ryan – we don’t want to suffer the same.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazette