Trish Knight's son Ben was killed in 2006 when RAF Nimrod XV230 exploded in mid-air over the war-torn landscape of Afghanistan. All 14 Servicemen on board were killed - the largest loss of life in a single incident in the UK military since the Falklands War. The Knight family suddenly found themselves in the media spotlight. This is their story.
I am not a writer I am a mother!!!
My youngest son, Ben, was killed aboard RAF Nimrod XV230 in the skies above Afghanistan on 2 September 2006. He was twenty-five-years-old. The aircraft caught fire after air-to-air refuelling and a 'Mayday' was declared.
The aircraft exploded in mid-air. All fourteen crew on board were killed.
When Ben was growing up there were many occasions that warranted me wishing him 'good luck' - school exams or a game of squash to name but a few. However, Ben possessed a very logical mind and would always reply by saying, "There's no such thing as luck, Mother". He believed success depended upon knowledge learned; if he was unable to answer a question then he believed it was because he had not taken enough time to study the subject, and if he lost a game of squash it was because on the day his opponent was a better player. It was nothing to do with luck!
After the loss of Nimrod XV230, a small number of people criticized the intensity of our quest to establish what caused the aircraft to catch fire and explode, killing all fourteen men on board. Some said that those on board were simply 'unlucky' and that it was 'just an accident' and thought we should leave it at that. But there was no escaping Ben's words. For what happened aboard XV230 on that fateful Saturday was a result of a prior action. It had
nothing to do with 'luck', and although it was an accident as opposed to a deliberate act, all accidents have a cause.
Since Ben's death the family has fought tirelessly to uncover the true state of the Nimrod fleet, and to obtain an element of justice for Ben by bringing those people responsible for his death and the loss of XV230 to account.
In our opinion, our son was killed by incompetence, not by insurgents. The Ministry of Defence has accepted responsibility. The Nimrod Review by Charles Haddon-Cave QC, and commissioned by the Government, in my opinion, gave the illusion of justice but delivered none.
Although we welcomed its findings, unfortunately it was left up to the families to pursue justice, if they so wished.The publicity that surrounded the initial loss of XV230 was immense and immediately thrust us into the media
spotlight. In an attempt to come to terms with everything that was happening to us at that time I began to keep a diary, for I didn't want such an horrific situation to eventually fade into obscurity. I recorded everything that happened to us on a daily basis for the first three months following Ben's death and continued to keep a weekly journal there afterwards including the mix-up of body parts and having a writ served upon me. I continued to record my feelings and our experiences as we struggled to live without Ben, at the same time as attempting to obtain an element of justice for him.
My reasons for writing this book were twofold. Firstly,I am Ben's mother and although Ben is dead he remains my child. My love for him has not diminished. A gross injustice has been inflicted upon my child and as his mother I have a duty to him to correct that injustice if at all possible. This book tells of our quest for justice. Secondly,our grandchildren have all been deprived of ever knowing their caring, fun-loving Uncle Ben, as they were all born after he was killed. Our eldest grandchild, Callum, was born just three months after Ben's death. So this book is for them, so they will eventually be able to read all about their wonderful Uncle Ben who was so cruelly taken from us all by a Government Department that, in my opinion, put cost before lives.