A PROUD father says his soldier son lost his arm fighting a noble cause in the war on terror.
Ron Stockton was yesterday at the bedside of son Andrew, 39, who was evacuated from war-torn Afghanistan following a firefight with Taliban guerrillas which cost the life of a comrade and injured another British soldier.
Ron and wife Joyce, 63, of Milton Green, near Chester, believe the men are casualties of a necessary war on terror given the former Taliban regime harboured Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda recruits.
Ron, 65, told The Chronicle: 'I think there's an emotional cry by a lot of people who feel they should be brought home. Yes, they should be, if we want to be ruled by terrorists throughout the world.
'They are trying to stamp out terrorism aren't they? It's an important role for the British Army.'
Earlier this week Ron, who is chairman of Handley & District Parish Council, spoke to his son, a former Bishop Heber pupil, on the telephone from the Afghan field hospital where he had his left arm amputated above the elbow following Sunday's shoot out.
He understands right-handed Andrew, a warrant officer II with the 32 Heavy Royal Artillery Regiment, was aboard a Land Rover on a routine patrol when the men were ambushed by Taliban fighters armed with rifles in Helmand province, Southern Afghanistan. Captain Jim Philippson, a comrade and friend, was killed alongside Andrew, who was shot in the arm and had to be airlifted to safety.
Ron, who had a knock on the door from an Army captain in the early hours of Monday, continued: 'Andrew rang up and spoke to his mother. He had a good talk with her. She was very upset but she didn't know the circumstances, then she handed
Also by Andrew's side at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital this week were his sons Liam, 18, and Ben, 17, who works for Focus DIY in Chester and lives with his mum and Andrew's ex-wife Michelle Bleazard of Barton, and his siblings Wayne, 32, of Milton Green, David, 42, a serving soldier in Northern Ireland, and Sharon, 34, of Nomansheath, who was in the Royal Signals.
Ron said his son, who joined up at 17, had served in Iraq and Northern Ireland in the 1980s but this was his last tour of duty. He was due to spend his last four years training TA soldiers and spending more time with his partner Emma at their Wiltshire home. Now the future is uncertain but he hopes his son's strength of character and sense of humour will pull him through. the phone to me.
'It was as though we were down the road having a pint. There wasn't a quiver in his voice. He just said 'So you can get used to it dad, I've lost my arm'.'
Anxious time during Iraq service > > >
Anxious time during Iraq service
ANDREW Stockton's family went through an anxious time when he served in Iraq in 2003 in charge of missile systems and clearing mines.
His mum Joyce restricted herself to watching just one hour of news per day, in order to keep a sense of perspective on the war.
As a staff sergeant with 18 Battery, 32 Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery, a unit with long links to Chester, Andrew's job was look after missile systems just 30 miles from the front line and he would travel from one to the other by motorbike.
In a letter home he said: 'Don't either of you worry about me doing anything bravado, I ain't that daft,' before going on to ask for some decent tea bags.
He explained that he had also been clearing suspected minefields, reassuring his family: 'I wouldn't have walked right into a minefield.'
Ron said: 'We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and kind wishes for Andrew's speedy recovery.'