Shipley grandfather's plea sparks investigation

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By Marc Meneaud

A Ministry of Defence investigation has begun into claims a Bradford soldier and his fellow Yorkshire troops serving in the war-torn Afghan desert have not been receiving letters of support sent from home.

David Bryan, 73, of Nab Wood Drive, Shipley, contacted the T&A and MP Philip Davies after it emerged that gifts of sweets and letters were not getting through to the front because of major transport problems.

His grandson, Shaun, 19, and colleagues in the 3rd Batallion, The Yorkshire Regiment, had not received gifts from their families because there had been problems getting from the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) base to"forward operating bases" in lawless Helmand province.

Former serviceman Mr Bryan said the situation was seriously affecting morale, and urged Mr Davies to pass on a letter to the Ministry of Defence to highlight his concerns.

In a response, Quentin Davies, the Government minister responsible for military equipment and support, wrote: "The matter is now being thoroughly investigated out in Afghanistan, and the BFPO customer services team, who are in direct contact with Mr Bryan, will inform him of the outcome of the investigation as soon as it is known."

Mr Bryan welcomed the investigation, but added: "I realise the problems but on the other hand I am just very, very sceptical and cynical.

"I don't believe the political leaders understand the situation or take it seriously enough."

Mr Bryan said the postal situation had become so bad that he and his daughter, Shaun's mother, had stopped sending post to him and were instead relying on a few e-mails as their only point of contact.

He said the BFPO had called him after the T&A highlighted his concerns.