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Byline: DON HALE

A YOUNG and rather green Wren is awaiting the 'Red Alert' call as she prepares for front line action in Afghanistan.

Felicity Liggins, 17, from Clay Cross, Derbyshire, is one of the youngest Wrens in the country and is part of the elite Royal Navy Commando helicopter force.

She joined the navy as a trainee chef on September 11 last year - exactly a year before the terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center.

Felicity was the first Wren to be attached to the Marines and was issued with a bullet-proof vest, rifle, knife and combat gear.

The last her family heard was that she was training in Oman and awaiting the call for action.

Her parents Kelvin and Lesley said they were very worried about their daughter and that they even frightened to leave the house in case she phoned.

'She's so young,' said Kelvin. 'There's a real chance of her being called to fight because she's with this elite unit. I'm worried but we have to keep our spirits up.

'We've set up an e-mail system but it's not quite the same and we've even stopped watching all the other TV - so that we can sit and wait for news.

'We just hope it's all over soon so that she can come back home.'

Another Derbyshire family who have spent much of the past 50 years fighting for Britain are also anxiously awaiting news of their latest member called to arms.

Dad Brian Wildgoose, from Bakewell, Derbyshire, saw action in Suez in 1956 and Cyprus while his son Simon fought in the Falklands War and Northern Ireland before injury wrecked his career with the Marines.

Now, as the military conflict in Afghanistan takes shape, Simon's brother Matthew prepares for probable battle aboard the landing ship LTS Tristram somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

Royal Marine Commando Matthew, 29, is no novice however, and has already seen action several times after just missing out on the Gulf War.

Now, almost a veteran with 13 years service since earning the famous green beret, his parents can only sit and wait for news.

'We're very proud of him,' said Brian. 'He has always wanted to fight and he is with the best-trained force in the world.

'The troops have been told very little about what's happening. All mail has been stopped and he is only allowed the odd phone call.'


WAITING GAME... Felicity Liggins and Matthew Wildgoose
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 14, 2001
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