The father of a Wearside military policeman murdered in Iraq has spoken of his pride at seeing his older son promoted in the same service.
Redcap Corporal Simon Miller was killed alongside five comrades when a mob attacked their police station in Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.
Now proud parents John and Marilyn have seen Simon’s brother Jon promoted to Warrant Officer 2nd Class (WO2).
The 38-year-old dad-of-two is currently stationed in Bulford, Wiltshire, where he is serving as a Sgt Major with the 2nd Military Intelligence Unit.
He is already working to attain WO1 Status, with the intention of taking a Queen’s Commission to become an officer.
John said it has been Simon’s example that inspired his brother to join the Military Police.
“Jon always wanted to be a graphic designer, he was always winning awards when he was at school and college for his designs,” he said.
“When he was 18, he decided he wanted to join Northumbria Police, but after his third interview, they said ‘you need to go away and get a little bit of life experience.’ He went off the idea and carried on with his graphic design.”
But a trip to se Simon at his barracks rekindled the idea of a career in uniform: “It was actually Christmas 2001, when Simon was on duty and could not get home for Christmas,” said his dad.
“One weekend Jon and I went to see him. We were outside the police station and Simon pulled up in a police car and got out with his uniform on.
“I used to say to Jon, ‘I think you should spread your wings, look for better options,’ then one day he came to me and said ‘I have been looking at the army website.
“I said ‘Are you thinking about joining up?’ and he said ‘I was looking at what our Simon’s got and I would like some of that.’
“Jon was 24 when he signed up. He had seen a bit of the world and knew what he wanted to do.”
But it was just as Jon was reaching the end of training that the family received the terrible news from Iraq.
“It was difficult when he was passing out,” said John. “Simon being killed was a really difficult time for him.”
Jon was supposed to be posted to Germany but remained at home in Washington for Simon’s funeral and to support his parents.
Eventually his dad told him it was time to resume his career: “I said ‘You need to move on, get on with your life.’ I did not want him to have the life sentence we have had, so off he went.
“He has never looked back, though Simon is always are the forefront of his mind.
“Now he is married, with two boys.”
Simon, named after his uncle, is seven and Ollie is three.
John was immensely proud when his older son received his promotion, though he admits it was an emotional experience.
“I could not have been happier,” he said.
“It has been a bit bitter sweet, in a way, but he has done fantastically.
“So proud we are, his mum and me.”