Brown apologises to mother of dead British soldier for spelling his name wrong
Brown apologises to mother of dead British soldier for spelling his name wrong in 'dashed off' condolence letter
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:28 AM on 09th November 2009
Fallen: Soldier Jamie Janes was killed in Afghanistan on October 5. Gordon Brown addressed his condolence letter to 'Mrs James'
Gordon Brown has personally apologised to the mother of a solider killed in Afghanistan to assure her that he meant no offence when he spelt her son's name wrong in a letter of condolence.
The Prime Minister telephoned Jacqui Janes yesterday after learning of her distress over the handwritten letter, sent after her son Jamie, 20, of the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards, was killed by an explosion on October 5.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "As soon as the Prime Minister was told about this he personally contacted the mother to make absolutely clear that he never meant any offence and to underline his deepest sympathy for her, his complete admiration and thanks for the bravery and sacrifice of her son.
'He said he would do whatever he could to help her at this most difficult of times.'
Mr Brown's letter began 'Dear Mrs James'.
He also scribbled out a mistake when writing the soldier's first name Jamie, causing Mrs Janes to accuse the PM of disrespecting her son's memory.
Mrs Janes, 47, had earlier said: 'He couldn't even be bothered to get our family name right. That made me so angry.
'Then I saw he had scribbled out a mistake in Jamie's name.
'The very least I would expect from Gordon Brown is to get his name right.'
The PM made a further five spelling mistakes - 'greatst' for greatest; 'condolencs' instead of condolences; 'you' for your; 'colleagus' for colleagues; and 'securiity' for security - in the letter, which was published in The Sun today.
He ended with a repetition - by writing 'my sincere condolences' followed by 'Yours sincerely'.
Grammatical disaster: Mr Brown's letter contained the following errors - he got the family's surname wrong and scribbled on the name Jamie, wrote 'you' instead of your, and misspelt greatest, condolences, colleagues and security
'The letter was scrawled so quickly I could hardly even read it and some of the words were half-finished,' Mrs Janes said.
'It's just disrespectful.'
She added: 'In the days after Jamie's death I got letters from Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace, the Defence Secretary and his regiment.
'They were all written from the heart and made me feel Jamie's death was important to them.
'Then I got Gordon Brown's. I only got through the first four paragraphs before I threw it across the room in disgust.
Mourning: The family of Guardsman Janes watch his coffin leave St Philips Church in Hove, East Sussex, last month. His mother Jacqui was 'disgusted' by Mr Brown's error-strewn letter
'I re-read it later. He said, "I know words can offer little comfort." When the words are written in such a hurry the letter is littered with mistakes, they offer no comfort.
'It was an insult to Jamie and all the good men and women who have died out there. How low a priority was my son that he could send me a disgraceful, hastily scrawled insult of a letter?
'He finished by asking if there was any way he could help.
Upright: The Prime Minister neglected to bow after he laid his wreath at the Cenotaph yesterday
'One thing he can do is never, ever, send a letter out like that to another dead soldier's family. Type it or get someone to check it. And get the name right.'
Mr Brown's latest gaffe comes after he found himself accused of neglecting to bow after he laid his wreath at the Cenotaph yesterday.
This contrasted with other party leaders David Cameron and Nick Clegg, who both lowered their heads as they acknowledged those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
Mr Brown might have been disorientated after almost losing his footing as he knelt to lay the wreath. But while some observers were ready to accept his actions as an honest mistake, others were less forgiving.
Ian Sadler, whose trooper son Jack was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in December 2007, said he was 'extremely disappointed'.
He said: 'You'd think that if anyone was aware of the importance of bowing his head it would be Gordon Brown, given that scores of servicemen have died because he and his government have failed to provide them with adequate equipment.'
Mr Sadler, from Exmouth, Devon, added: 'Maybe he just forgot, but in his position he really should have remembered because it certainly comes across as a lack of respect.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1226278/Gordon-Brown-angers-mother-fallen-soldier-condolence-letter-spelt-family-wrong.html#ixzz0WLyG6ESP