News / 

British Moms of war dead copy Sheehan

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

London --- Two women whose sons were killed while serving in the British army in Iraq will camp out Tuesday near the official residence of Prime Minister Tony Blair in an effort to revitalize the country's once robust anti-war movement.

Following the example of Cindy Sheehan, the American mother who camped near President Bush's home in Crawford, Texas, over the summer, Rose Gentle and Susan Smith plan to spend 24 hours at the entrance to Downing Street in London, beginning this afternoon. The street, a cul-de-sac on which the prime minister's residence --- No. 10 --- sits, is closed to the public.

"I'd actually like to see Tony Blair stand in front of the parents and give us a reason why he went into Iraq," Gentle said Monday. "Why did he agree with George Bush to take our boys into an illegal war?"

Her son, Gordon Gentle, went to Iraq in May 2004. He died in a roadside bombing in Basra just over a month later. He was 19.

Susan Smith's son, Phillip Hewett, went to Iraq in May 2005. He was killed in a roadside bombing in al-Amarah in July, but not before visiting his mother on a home leave and describing his war experience.

"He said about the Iraqi police, 'Mom, we train them in the day and they kill us at night,' " Smith recalled.

Polls here show broad opposition to the war. But in terms of public participation, the British anti-war movement peaked in February 2003, a month before the U.S-led invasion was launched. As war clouds gathered, several hundred thousand protesters --- organizers said the number was 2 million --- marched through London.

"They thought they might do something about it then," said Bob Worcester, head of the MORI public opinion research firm. "Now they know they're not going to do anything about it."

Since then the issue has receded, both from the headlines and the streets. In Britain's elections in May, while voters trimmed Blair's parliamentary majority by about 100 seats, the issue ranked 14th of 16 in terms of importance to voters, Worcester said.

Gentle and Smith hope to spark more protests. Gentle will not stay weeks outside Blair's residence, but she plans to travel the country to spread the message.

"This is just the start of Camp Gordon," she said. "Everybody who thinks it's wrong should stand up and have a say."

Copyright 2005 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast