PLANS are being made to give Tony Blair the chance to offer a belated olive branch to families of those who lost their lives in the Iraq war - 13 years after the controversial conflict began.

Rose Gentle, from Pollok, Glasgow, whose son Gordon was killed in Iraq says moves have been made to organise a meeting with the former prime minister who face the ire of families through a possible legal claim in the wake of the critical Chilcot report.

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But there is no guarantee the meeting will ever happen as lawyers of the families consider legal action against him.

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Lord Falconer the Edinburgh-born former Lord Chancellor, and a close ally of Tony Blair who supported the invasion in 2003  told Ms Gentle after the Chilcot Inquiry report was unveiled, that he "was sure" the former Prime Minister would meet the families.

And Ms Gentle says a request was made for her email address by "one of Blair's sidekicks" so that the meeting could be arranged.

But she admitted that any meeting may not take place if the families' lawyers who are considering legal action do not sanction it.

Ms Gentle appealed for a meeting with Blair immediately after her 19-year-old son was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in June 2004.

She says she was refused and this was the impetus for families to get together to campaign for action.

Ms Gentle, who became a fierce critic of the military campaign, which experts believe led to the ongoing instability across the Middle East said of the invitation: "We will speak to lawyer, to find out if it is going to go further and whether it would be worthwhile meeting with him, or would it be the case to step back and not meet with him. I don't want to say that I will meet him if we are going to do anything.

"If he had agreed to meet 12 years ago, it would have been different."

Ms Gentle, was a shop cleaner, and was in an office in Springburn when an army family liaison officer broke then news of her soldier son's death 12 years ago.

HeraldScotland: UNLAWFULLY KILLED: Fusilier Gordon Gentle died within a month of his arrival in Iraq.

The handsome, dark- haired 6ft 3in 19-year-oldwho loved Celtic FC and cars was blown up by a roadside bomb in Basra after completing his 26-week basic training course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick.

Ms Gentle had last seen her son alive in May 2004, on the morning of her 40th birthday and has since campaigned for better protected vehicles for UK forces and the return of British troops from Iraq.

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"I saw it on the news that someone had been killed and thought, 'no'. But it was confirmed to me while I was at work. "I couldn't hold it together. I just kept saying it cannae be him, it cannae be him. I just couldn't believe it."

She then chose to tell her construction ground worker husband George, and her two daughters Maxine, then 15 and Pamela, 23.

"The army family liaison officer came with me but I wanted to do it. Rather that than just someone turn up at their work," she said.

There was a counselling offer from the military, but she said: "I feel if you have someone who hasn't lost anybody, they don't understand what you are going through. I think families need someone who has lost someone and can relate to them."

With Reg Keys she became a founder member of Military Families Against the War, a campaign group she ran from her son's former bedroom. It has since become what she calls "Families of the Fallen".


She admits that her role as a one of the prominent voices of the families' fight for answers over their loved ones' deaths has helped with the grieving process.

The conflict began in 2003 and British forces lost 179 personnel, of whom 136 were killed in action.

By 31 August 2010, when the last US combat troops left, 4,421 US personnel had been killed, of whom 3,492 were killed in action. Almost 32,000 were wounded in action. Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians also died as a result of sectarian killings and a violent insurgency.

Ms Gentle said her campaigning motivation came as she promised her son as he lay in his coffin, that she would demand answers.

"I got him home a couple of days before the funeral," she recalled. "I made the promise before we buried him. "I promised Gordon I would fight. Why was he in Iraq? I made a promise to him that I would fight to find out about why. It was the last thing I could have done for him.

"And I think that's what has kept me going right now. This fight has kept me going.

"I've never done public speaking before but I have just put him into my thoughts, and think I am doing this for him.


"You are up and down constantly, one day you will be fine, and the next day you are way back down again.

"The girls have always said, once this this is all over we don't know how we will react."

Her husband prefers to remain in the background.

"He doesn't speak publicly, he just disappears," said Ms Gentle. "He says there would be too many sweary words in it."

Ms Gentle was among the family members who gave a press conference after the Chilcot findings were divulged - concluding the first part of their fight for justice.

Sat beside Ms Gentle was Sarah O'Connor (below), whose brother, Bob, was killed with nine other airmen when his plane was shot down near Baghdad in 2005.


Ms O'Connor wept has she announced: "There is one terrorist in this world that the world needs to be aware of, and his name is Tony Blair, the world’s worst terrorist."

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Ms Gentle was asked if she agreed. She laughed and said: "I could have said a lot worse, but I kind of bit my tongue.

"I am just so angry with him, i just despise the man."