To: John McCarthy
Sent: Saturday, March 20, 2004 8:01 AM


Mar 14 2004

New shock for grieving dad

By Mike Hamilton

AN ARMY chef is being forced to leave his regiment after his wife lifted the lid on the curse of Britain's Gulf War babies.

Lance Corporal Andy Saupe - devastated by the death of his son at five weeks - was carpeted by Army bosses after wife Alex voiced concerns about the controversial anthrax vaccine.

MOD bosses have ordered Gulf War 2 veteran Andy, 23, to leave his unit because his wife's revelations "damaged morale". Last night his family slammed the MoD action as "outrageous bully tactics" as MPs and campaigners backed his case.

Grief-stricken Alex, 25, spoke out to the Sunday Mirror after son, Kye, was born 10 weeks premature and died after five weeks of desperate illness.

She said she thought the tragedy was linked to the anthrax jabs her husband had before serving in the war.

We revealed how the tragedy was part of a cluster that has hit 33 Field Hospital in Gosport, Hants, since the Iraq War ended last May. In every case at least one of the child's parents was given the anthrax vaccine before being sent to the Gulf.

Andy had two of the injections - linked to foetus damage and a catalogue of illnesses among soldiers - 10 days apart in December 2002 before his unit was called up. Andy, of Gosport, Hants is barred from speaking publicly. But his mother-in-law, care assistant Shaheen Anderson, 43, said: "Andy was called back from a course in Aldershot on Thursday, given a dressing down and told it would be best for him to be moved from his unit - although he doesn't want to.

"These are outrageous bully tactics. He has done nothing wrong and has had nothing but support from his mates, who realise he is distraught at losing his son.

"Alex is still attending St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth about Kye's death, so if they are moved that will become a lot more difficult."

Shaun Rusling, vice chairman of The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: "This is outrageous, and nothing more than an MOD witch-hunt.

"They have singled out this one poor lad. His wife has said something truthful and the MOD don't like it. They are trying to silence people. It is extraordinary they can accuse her of damaging morale, when they are giving troops a vaccine that poisons them and damages their babies."

Mike Hancock, MP for Portsmouth South, said: "This should be the subject of an independent investigation into that sort of systematic bullying and frightening people into not telling the truth or trying to get to the truth. I will take it up personally with the MoD."

And Lib Dem Defence spokesman Paul Keetch added yesterday: "The MoD will do itself no credit trying to persecute soldiers whose wives have aired genuine grievances."

An MoD spokeswoman said: "There was a meeting on Friday where the Commanding Officer told Cpl Saupe his position in the unit had become untenable because of recent media activity. He has not been formally disciplined.

"He was informed that the Commanding Officer would be seeking an alternative posting for him."

-The NGVFA's helpline number is 01482 833812.