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Parents of soldier killed by IRA call for monument to honour 'forgotten troops'

By Rebecca Black

The parents of a English soldier murdered by the IRA have called for a monument in London to honour troops who lost their lives here.

East Midlands pensioners Kathleen and Fred Dykes, both 86, said their son, Anthony, and others were "forgotten soldiers".

The 25-year-old, a father of two young children, was murdered on April 5, 1979.

He died along with Blues and Royals colleague Anthony Thornett after IRA snipers opened fire on their armoured vehicle as they entered Andersonstown RUC station in west Belfast.

The two soldiers were among 1,441 serving members of the British armed forces killed during Operation Banner, which ran from 1969 to 2007.

The majority of the victims were from the regular Army (814 people) and the Ulster Defence Regiment (548).

Kathleen and Fred Dykes claimed it was time a monument was erected in London in their memory.

"They are the forgotten soldiers," Fred said. "Last month, when I saw there was a monument up for the soldiers killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, I said, 'Why not Northern Ireland?' Why shouldn't there a be a monument in their honour?'

"In every war there have been monuments, so why shouldn't they do it for the boys who were killed in Northern Ireland? I hope we live to see it happen and I hope it's successful. It would mean a lot to us."

Their campaign was backed by their local MP, John Mann, who has written to Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to "put the wheels in motion". She has yet to respond.

Innocent Victims United also backed the Dykes' call.

"There are piecemeal memorial remembrances across within the UK and the National Arboretum, Lichfield, but we do feel symbolically that there should be a permanent memorial erected in London - the home and heart of our national parliament," spokesman Kenny Donaldson said.

"Tens of thousands of men and women served within the British Army in Northern Ireland and many had their lives taken. They lost limbs and often their wits.

"Their sacrifices and those of their surviving families should be both acknowledged and formally recognised."

Soldiers who were killed during Operation Banner are remembered at the Memorial Garden at Palace Barracks in Holywood, Co Down.

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