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Questions over deaths of soldiers
By

THE death of three soldiers in Afghanistan, including one from , has sparked controversy over the protection afforded to servicemen.

Captain James Philippson, whose funeral took place on Monday, was the first soldier killed in the province of Helmand on June 11 and two more British soldiers were killed in the region on Tuesday.

Captain Philippson, of 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was in a patrol of armoured Land Rovers when he was shot by Taliban forces while evacuating two soldiers seriously injured in an earlier attack.

Two soldiers killed this week were in a similar vehicle which was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. They died in the ensuing battle.

The deaths have brought into question the British troops' use of open-topped Land Rovers, which leave soldiers more vulnerable than if they were in tanks but offer greater mobility.

Speaking last week, Captain Philippson's father, Anthony, of Oakwood Road, Bricket Wood, said more resources were needed to protect soldiers in dangerous situations.

"If this government and future governments are going to send men and women like James in serious harm's way then it is time they look at the resources that are provided "They have got the finest army in the world but the Ministry of Defence is not allocated the funds that they should be."

Captain Philippson's funeral on Monday attracted some 700 people who heard glowing accounts of a life tragically cut short at 29.

Speeches by friends and colleagues paid tribute to a man who lived life to the full and stood by the motto "life is not a rehearsal".

Lieutenant Colonel David Hammond spoke of the soldier's "sharp intellect, determination and infectious enthusiasm".

He highlighted his love of sport and socialising but described him as "a thinking soldier", recalling how he had set out to read both the Bible and the Koran.

Friend Andy Cox added: "He was a loving son, a caring boyfriend, a great support to many friends as well as a caring and inspirational officer."

The service was led by Canon Stephen Lake, a parent governor at St Columba's College where James went to school.

He said: "James lived a life of action. He crammed three lifetimes into 30 years."

11:59amMonday3rdJuly2006

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