‘My son died saving others’

Jane Duffy, with her daughter Laura and grandson Harry. Pic: Peter Adamson
Jane Duffy, with her daughter Laura and grandson Harry. Pic: Peter Adamson

The mum of tragic Tayport soldier Liam Tasker has said she feels her son has been left behind now that British troops have pulled out of Afghanistan.

Speaking on the eve of the Remembrance Day weekend, Jane Duffy said she feels the war in which her 26-year-old son was shot and killed, was in vain.

“With the army coming back I feel like Liam has been left there,” she said.

“It’s strange but I have never really felt that he died, just that he is still out there fighting. Now the army has come back I feel empty .

“I don’t know why they were in Afghanistan in the first place and now that they’ve left I think it’ll just go back to how it was.”

Jane added: “Liam was there to do his job and he did it well and really he died saving lives.”

Liam, a Lance Corporal in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, and and his sniffer dog, Theo, made 14 finds of hidden roadside bombs and weapons caches in the five months before Liam was shot by a Taliban sniper while on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

Liam was the 358th member of the British armed forces to die since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.

Theo was said to have died of a broken heart after returning to Camp Bastion.

Just weeks before the 22-month-oldspaniel was praised for the number of finds he had uncovered and following his death Theo received the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery.

Jane, who moved back to her hometown of Tayport from Belgium following Liam’s death, said this weekend is always a poignant one and the recent withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan had, “brought it all back”.

On Sunday she will attend the Remembrance Service in Tayport before spending some private time at her son’s grave with his sisters and his friend Karl Ingram, who is also a soldier.

“This weekend will be hard, it always is. My husband won’t be here as he works out at NATO in Belgium but I’ll have my daughters and it’ll be good to have Karl here too.”

Jane said that since her return to Tayport she’s had a lot of help from the charity Forces Support based in the West Midlands.

Not only did they help refurbish her new flat when she first moved in but also provided emotional support.

“They have been great and this week they erected a special arbour up in my garden which contains a plaque in Liam’s memory,” she said.

Bill McCance from Forces Support said Jane’s arbour was one of three built in Scotland for bereaved families this week. The others were for Rose Gentle, the mother of fusilier Gordon Gentle, and for the parents of Corporal Tam Mason.

Bill McCance from the charity explained they began building memorial arbours for families around 18 months ago when the young girl asked for somewhere to remember her dad.

“We realised that these arbours were a great source of comfort to many families with some people spending hours of peaceful time in them thinking of their loved ones.

He added: “We had got to know Jane when we first did up her flat and we’re delighted she is so pleased with the new addition to her garden.”

To find out more about the charity and make a donation visit www.forcessupport.org.uk or their facebook page.