Lisa became only the second female member of the UK armed forces to die in Afghanistan. In addition, her death takes the total number of British military personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 364 (thus far).
Her commanding officer, Lt Col Adam McRae, described her as a “passionate, robust and forthright individual who enjoyed life to the full; be it at work, on the sporting field or at the bar.”
The level of personal accolades and tributes to Lisa have been truly outstanding however, putting the undoubted grief of family, friends and colleagues aside for a moment, what of the press coverage for the previous 363 deaths? As a society should we be more shocked or saddened because the latest death was a female? Is there some greater importance that the deceased was an officer, as opposed to a private soldier?
Is this latest fatality any more important (or sad) than any of the previous ones in this conflict, any previous conflict or indeed the last world war? Doesn’t the overtly enhanced coverage by our media actually serve to undermine all the efforts of those who fight for equality. Doesn’t it compound any perceived gender preference when selecting candidates for leadership and management roles?
Since yesterday, most media outlets that I have seen, have been awash with tribute and comment that so far, shows no sign of abating. Today, as something of an aside but partly an illustration of my point – BBC Report: “A former Gurkha soldier who won the Victoria Cross and later became the figurehead for a campaign on Gurkha’s rights to settle in the UK has died…” (Read more)
Yes, we have lost another one of our British Forces consummate professionals and, she was a person whom we should all be rightly proud of, irrespective of personal views about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. That said, shouldn’t there be a more balanced level of reporting by our media? More importantly, I have to wonder if any of the media editorial teams have actually considered the impact their blitz is having upon Lisa’s grieving family? Just a thought…
R.I.P. Capt Lisa Jade Head RLC
- You: Female bomb disposal expert dies in hospital after blast (telegraph.co.uk)
- British servicewoman killed in Afghanistan (guardian.co.uk)
- Second British woman soldier killed on Afghanistan mission named as Captain Lisa Jade Head (mirror.co.uk)
- Bomb disposal expert becomes second female soldier to be killed in Afghanistan after being blown up by homemade IED (dailymail.co.uk)
- Tributes paid to UK woman soldier (bbc.co.uk)
- Tributes to female army bomb expert (mirror.co.uk)
- Helmand death: woman soldier named (independent.co.uk)