Gregg Stone's parents: 'Our hearts go out to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan'
THE mother of a soldier killed rescuing an Afghan policeman from the Taliban says she has been left with "a bitter taste" after a rogue officer gunned down two of her son's comrades.
His victims have been named as 18-year-old medic Private Thomas Wroe and Sergeant Gareth Thursby, 29.
The killer, who was wearing the blue uniform of the Afghan Local Police, begged for medical attention after joining 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (3 Yorks) soldiers on a security operation.
He then shot the two soldiers – who were just a few weeks short of completing their six-month tour of duty – as they went to his aid at remote checkpoint Tora in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Saturday. Their comrades shot him dead.
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Angie Stone's son, Private Gregg Stone, 20, also of 3 Yorks, was shot dead during a mission to rescue a senior Afghan National Police officer in the same district on June 3.
She said: "It has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
"When I saw the news on Saturday night they said it was an Afghan dressed in the uniform of the police.
"I prayed that was the case. I actually wanted it to be the Taliban. I know they are getting hold of uniforms.
"But then the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed it was a rogue policeman."
Seven British soldiers have been killed this year in so-called "green on blue" or "insider" attacks by Afghan security forces.
Mrs Stone, 56, and her husband, Bob, 46, who live in the village of Atwick, near Hornsea, said her family are angry.
She said: "My other son Graeme is very angry. He had to go out. Bob was the same."
Private Wroe, who deployed to the war zone days after coming of age, was from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.
Sergeant Thursby, on his second tour of Afghanistan, hailed from Skipton, North Yorkshire.
Mrs Stone, deputy manager of William Hill bookmakers in Hornsea, said: "Our hearts go out to the families of these two soldiers.
"I know the nightmare that is beginning for them."
Mrs Stone said the families of the regiment's latest fallen soldiers will be struggling to accept what has happened.
"You try to be strong for each other," she said. "For the first few days you think you are going to wake up and find you've dreamt everything.
"Then comes the realisation that it is not a dream, that you are wake up feeling like this for the rest of your life.
"You never get over something like this. But you learn to live with your feelings and the heartache.
"People are wonderful and they help you."
Mrs Stone said she often trawls through photographs of her son, whose wife Sam is expecting the couple's first baby in December.
She said: "I am constantly going through old photos of Gregg.
"They are happy memories and memories are the one thing no one can take away."
Since Private Stone was killed, his family and friends have raised more than £3,000 for The Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund, which helps soldiers, past and present, in hard times.
Mrs Stone said she and her family, although still grieving, are counting down the days until 3 Yorks return home.
In a message, which she hoped would reach the soldiers at bases around Helmand province, she said: "You must come home safely to your families. We just want to see you all home."