48 hours after son dies in Iraq, parents face cameras and praise army's role
Key quote "Life was very difficult for his squadron, for his troop, but he still believed in what they were doing - they were doing it very professionally - and that they were, little by little, making a difference for the majority of the population." - Brigadier John Palmer
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THE parents of a British soldier killed in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq have issued a staunch defence of the army's role in rebuilding the country.
Speaking just 48 hours after the death of their son, Lieutenant Richard Palmer, Brigadier John Palmer and his wife, Sue, who bravely smiled for the cameras, said that the Scots Dragoon Guard had been "making a difference" while serving in Basra.
Speaking at their Hertfordshire home, Brigadier Palmer said: "Life was very difficult for his squadron, for his troop, but he still believed in what they were doing - they were doing it very professionally - and that they were, little by little, making a difference for the majority of the population."
Lt Richard Palmer, 27, is the 104th member of the British armed forces to lose his life since the conflict began in 2003, after a roadside bomb struck his vehicle patrol 25 miles north of Basra on Saturday.
He was leading a joint patrol with the Iraqi army when the bomb exploded.
Brigadier Palmer said despite the couple's fears for the situation in Iraq, they supported Britain's armed presence in the country.
He said: "We have a very, very professional army there and some fantastic young men and I often wonder, really, if the British public understand what they are going through. I think we should be very, very proud of what is happening and what the British Army is doing."
Lt Palmer had returned home on leave three weeks ago and showed his parents photographs of "his boys".
Brigadier Palmer, 56, who served in the same regiment for 30 years, added: "He talked about what they had been through together and thought a great deal of them."
He said his son had sympathised with the Iraqis' living conditions but added: "It is not a war where the enemy is somewhere over there and you know they are going to try and kill you. A lot of Iraqi people are very friendly."
Lt Palmer went to Sandhurst after Durham University and was commissioned in August 2004.
His commanding officer, Lt-Col Ben Edwards, said he had seemed destined for a "glittering military career".
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