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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Forces for Good

In December 2007, the funeral took place for Sergeant Lee Johnson of 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment - the Green Howards - who died in Southern Afghanistan on the 8th December 2007, as part of the operation to recapture the town of Musa Qaleh in Helmand Province.  Writing in a national newspaper, the Archbishop said:

"Our country asks a lot of our armed services and their families and their commitment to their duty comes into sharp relief at Christmas. We owe a debt of honour to all of our armed services personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places across the world where they continue to make an enormous contribution in helping to rebuild those countries.

At the time of the invasion of Iraq I, like many others, expressed my deep reservations about military action. Whilst those reservations remain so does my respect for the professionalism of those service personnel whose work has been so valuable in the rebuilding of that country.

Our Armed Forces have my deep admiration and respect for everything they strive to achieve in the name of this country and behalf of others. They are second to none in the sense of courage and duty.

That is why the Government needs to do more to look after these brave men and women. That means paying them more when on active service, housing them better and providing for the best medical and respite care if injured. These men and women risk their lives. The least we can offer them in their return is to deliver on the covenantal promise of a welcome return."