THE dad of a military policeman murdered by an Iraqi mob fought back tears at an emotional service in memory of his son.
Corporal Simon Miller was one of six Redcaps who lost their lives when they came under fire from a 400-strong crowd in Al Majar al-Kabir.
The 21-year-old, from Usworth, Washington, died alongside his comrades in 2003, when they were attacked as they equipped a police station.
He is among fallen heroes being remembered as part of a pilgrimage to war graves across the country.
Cpl Miller’s dad John – who was joined at the ceremony by his wife Marlyn, son Jon, daughter-in-law Carolanne and grandchild Simon – said he was moved by the tribute to his son, a former pupil of Usworth School.
“It was a very emotional day,” said John.
“It was very poignant.”
Colonel Dudley Giles, one of the most senior officers in the Royal Military Police (RMP), visited Cpl Miller’s grave in Glebe on his nationwide cycle pilgrimage, which will see him honour members of the corps who have died on operations during his 33 years of service.
“I think it’s fantastic what he is doing,” said John. “Visiting all of the families and cycling such a distance.”
Col Giles was inspired to attempt the trip by the courage and dedication of the RMP.
He said: “I can remember the sense of disbelief and overwhelming sadness which overcame all members of the RMP when on June 24, 2003, we heard the news of the murder of six of our colleagues in Iraq. It was followed, only two months later, by the news of three more military policemen being gunned down in Basra.”
The Army’s Deputy Provost Marshal, who retires next year, plans to honour all 22 members of the RMP who have lost their lives.
This month, he set off from Brackley, Northamptonshire, and expects to cycle more than 2,000 miles before finishing in Colchester, Essex, on October 21.
Col Giles will meet relations of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.
He will also join them in short ceremonies of remembrance at each of their hometowns.
“We are a very small, tight-knit, regimental family,” he said. “These deaths, and all of the subsequent deaths which befell our military police men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, have hit us hard, particularly because, as policemen, we also have to investigate these deaths.”