A FATHER whose son was killed serving in Iraq spoke yesterday of his concern that people were losing sight of the reasons for the war.

Lance Corporal Ben Hyde, from Northallerton, was killed along with five other military policemen during an ambush at a civilian police station in Majar al-Kabir, near Basra, in June.

His father, John Hyde, spoke as he was presented with a cheque for £130 raised when the Black Bull in Northallerton auctioned a signed Darlington FC football shirt.

The money will be donated to the Royal Military Police Central Benevolent Fund, which looks after families of RMPs killed or injured in combat. Mr Hyde, from Bankhead Road, in Northallerton, travelled to London yesterday to take part in an edition of the BBC1 talk show, Kilroy, to discuss the rights and wrongs of the war in Iraq.

He said: "One of the reasons I started get involved with things like going on television is that I think people are losing sight of what the lads are doing there.

"They went over there to give people freedom and they have got that now.

"For a person in Iraq to be able to walk past a police station without wondering whether or not he is going to get dragged in and tortured is something new."

Mr Hyde said he was not a "huge supporter" of the war, but said he thought that anti-war protests had been blown out of proportion.

"I do not particularly agree with the war or the timing of it," he said, "but a city the size of London has a population of eight or nine million people, and if they get 100,000 protestors, it is a small minority but they still get a lot of publicity.

"If we do pull out of Iraq it will be a bloodbath and our lads will have died for nothing. In a year or two it will be back to the same sort of position with a dictator in power in Iraq and a lot of oppressed minorities."