The chronic shortage of key military equipment is a huge issue. I heard stories from TA soldiers deployed to Iraq after being told that kit deficiencies would be “sorted in theatre” and getting to Kuwait to be told that the should have “sorted it out in Chilwell”. The buck cannot stop anywhere other with the Secretary of State for Defence.
The Government has abused the British Army’s “can do” attitude and asked them to do difficult jobs, in hostile environments against highly motivated enemies without the tools to do the job.
Sgt Roberts was killed because of equipment shortages but there are hundreds of soldiers who have had to deal with the fear of stepping out from behind cover not confident that their weapon will fire. They have had to drive along streets knowing their vehicles cannot protect them from a roadside bomb. They are working in small groups dispersed over large areas with radios that habitually don’t work.
These soldiers need to be apologised to as well, when they wake up sweating and screaming because the Army’s psychological support is overstretched apologise to them then too.
The armed forces are being asked to do more and more and more with less and less and less. Conflict costs lives, but to waste lives like that of Sgt Roberts is inexcusable.