Mother of first Australian soldier killed in Iraq expresses anger

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005

AUSTRALIA — Margaret Pardoel, mother of the first Australian soldier to be killed in Iraq since the commencement of hostilities, has expressed anger over the death of her only son, a father of three, who was about to return home to Australia and had been planning a career change. Mrs Pardoel and husband John were devastated by the loss of their only son.

Mrs Pardoel said she opposes the war. "I think it's just cold-blooded murder. Look at all those young American boys that have been slaughtered," she said. "I don't think this should have gone on ... He said to me one night he phoned, he said, 'Mum there's nowhere to hide here, it's just so dangerous, there's nowhere to hide'."

Thirty-five year old Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel had been on his last flight when the C-130 Hercules he was aboard crashed north of Baghdad yesterday, killing ten personnel. He was serving with the British Royal Air Force (RAF), to which he had transferred several years ago from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), as Navigator in 47 Squadron Lyneham RAF.

Mr Pardoel had been expecting to return in July to his wife and three children in Australia, where they had recently bought a new house in Canberra.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, says he is saddened to hear of the man's death.

"I want his family to know, and his friends to know, that he certainly did not die in vain, that this tragic accident occurred - or this tragedy because it may not have been an accident - but this tragedy occurred on a day when 65 per cent of the people of Iraq went out and voted," he said.

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