One after the other, they took it in turns to mild a candle for his or her misplaced boy.

5 girls united in grief – and fury – over the bestowing of a knighthood on the person they blame for sending their soldier sons to their deaths.

Final week the Each day Mail revealed an open letter by Carol Valentine, Hazel Hunt, Caroline Whitaker, Caroline Jane Munday-Baker and Helen Perry to the Queen, begging the monarch to revoke the honour awarded to ex-Labour prime minister Tony Blair on New Yr’s Day.

On Saturday they hugged and shed tears as they met for the primary time to share tales and lightweight a candle for his or her courageous sons, every killed in Afghanistan earlier than their thirtieth birthday.

Amid the solemn environment of Coventry Cathedral, these ‘moms in arms’ spoke about their collective anger that Sir Tony – as they’ll by no means name him – had acquired the best award within the land.

United in their grief: From left, Caroline Whitaker, Carol Valentine, Hazel Hunt, Caroline Jane Munday-Baker and Helen Perry at Coventry Cathedral at the weekend, each holding pictures of their sons who died in action in Afghanistan. From left: Gareth Thursby, Simon Valentine, Richard Hunt, James Munday and Michael Pritchard

United of their grief: From left, Caroline Whitaker, Carol Valentine, Hazel Hunt, Caroline Jane Munday-Baker and Helen Perry at Coventry Cathedral on the weekend, every holding photos of their sons who died in motion in Afghanistan. From left: Gareth Thursby, Simon Valentine, Richard Hunt, James Munday and Michael Pritchard

Mrs Valentine, whose son Sgt Simon Valentine, 29, was killed whereas attempting to clear land mines close to Sangin in August 2009, stated: ‘We could by no means have the ability to cease Blair’s knighthood, however collectively we are able to present the world the devastation he has brought on to us and numerous different households.

‘Once we come collectively, it brings us unity, energy and hope. Our boys had been as soon as all a part of a loyal band of brothers – now it’s our flip to change into moms in arms to struggle for his or her honour and guarantee their sacrifice isn’t forgotten.

‘What did Tony Blair get for beginning the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? He obtained a knighthood of the best order. What did we get? We obtained to bury our sons.’

Within the letter the ladies appealed to the Queen – as a mom and grandmother – to revoke the honour which they are saying ‘tramples on our sons’ sacrifices’.

Though commonly involved by way of social media, the 5 girls had by no means met all collectively in particular person earlier than deciding to drive a whole bunch of miles from their houses in several elements of the UK to collect on the cathedral this weekend.

Mrs Whitaker, whose 29-year-old son, Sgt Gareth Thursby, was shot useless by an Afghan policeman at a checkpoint in Helmand in September 2012, admitted the bereaved moms had been all members of a ‘wretched membership’ none of them wished to belong to.

‘As we speak was very emotional however massively vital,’ she stated. ‘We’re solely a small snapshot of the catastrophic grief suffered by hundreds of family members due to these wars.

‘However our message is that this. We’re not going away, and we are going to shout from the rooftops to be heard. Tony Blair took our troops and our nation into conflicts that we had no enterprise in. It’s unjust and immoral for him to be honoured and rewarded for these seismic disasters.’

The ladies met simply hours after a petition calling for Sir Tony, 68, to be stripped of the gong handed one million signatures.

They agreed with its founder that the previous PM ought to to do the ‘respectable’ factor and hand again the award within the wake of a lot opposition.

Mrs Munday-Baker stated: ‘The net petition has now surpassed greater than one million signatures and nonetheless he stays silent. If he had any decency, he would hand it again, however this man has no disgrace or compassion for anybody.’

Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2005 after he won an historic third term in officer. On New Year's Day he was honoured with a knighthood as part of the Queen's Honours List

Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair assembly the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2005 after he gained an historic third time period in officer. On New Yr’s Day he was honoured with a knighthood as a part of the Queen’s Honours Listing

Her trooper son, James, served alongside Princes William and Harry in The Family Cavalry and was 21 when his automobile was blown up in Helmand in October 2008. 

‘Blair is a narcissist who despatched our sons to their deaths in a warfare we should always by no means have been to,’ Mrs Munday-Baker added.

‘If Blair’s son Euan had been a serving soldier on the time, I’m wondering if he would have been so dedicated and keen about sending his personal boy to the entrance line? Generally my head and my coronary heart are damaged in one million items however whenever you sit with different mums you keep in mind that you’re by no means alone in your grief.’

Mrs Perry, who misplaced her navy police officer son, Michael Pritchard, 22, to a ‘pleasant hearth’ incident in December 2009, added: ‘Over one million signatures to see him off and but he does nothing.’ 

Mrs Hunt stated: ‘Each household who has misplaced a cherished one has been betrayed by Tony Blair and his knighthood is the ultimate stab within the again.

‘Our sons misplaced their lives for nothing. The world is now a bloody treacherous mess due to the meddling of our then prime minister.’ 

She has already threatened to ship again her Elizabeth Cross bestowed on her by the Queen in honour of her son, Richard, who died aged 21 following an explosion whereas on patrol in Musa Qala in August 2009.

‘I really like our Queen and I don’t blame her for this unholy mess,’ she stated. 

‘Her troops love her, and we all know she loves and honours them too, however she has been positioned in an not possible place over the protocol of honouring former leaders. Blair may save everybody this distress by handing again the knighthood.’