Remembrance Day: Poignant image of a lost son

The picture was projected onto Glasgow's Riverside Museum.
The picture was projected onto Glasgow's Riverside Museum.

The father of a soldier who was killed in action has featured in a striking image to highlight the difficulties faced by others coping with loss.

The photo of Ian Wright from Blanefield shows him at a time when he misses his son Gary the most - while he is walking the family dog.

It shows him in a field with the figure of a soldier returning from conflict and was projected on to the Riverside Museum as part of a campaign which is being run by the SSAFA, the UK’s longest serving Armed Forces charity.

The ‘Left Behind’ campaign marks the one year anniversary of the withdrawal of British Troops from Afghanistan and it aims to raise awareness of the fact that, although the war is over, many individuals who lost a family member during the Afghanistan conflict, still struggle with their grief.

Ian has opened up for the first time about how difficult it has been for him to come to terms with the loss of his son.

Gary, who was in 45 Commando Royal Marines, was fatally injured by a suicide bomb which hit his vehicle while he was patrolling the Lashkar Gah in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan nine years ago.

The SSAFA collaborated with world-renowned war photographer Robert Wilson, who documented the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan last year, to create the powerful image for the campaign.

Ian said: “I’m pleased with it, I think it’s very effective.

“I’ve had a lot of postive feedback from people who have said they think it’s a really striking image.”

Gary’s family struggled with their grief for four years before they heard about SSAFA and attended their Bereaved Families Support Group.

Ian added: “Speaking to other people in a similar position, who have been through a similar situation to us was really beneficial for me.

“I could open up to other fathers who understood how it felt from a dad’s perspective and I stopped feeling so alone with my emotions.

“As a family we talk about Gary a lot which helps us, I enjoy keeping his legacy and kind, adventurous spirit alive by reminiscing.

“Even after nine years, I still find myself overcome with grief at times.”