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Monday, September 24, 2012

Lynette Pearce gives birth in Afghanistan

Two Marines were killed after a fierce Taliban attack 2 weeks ago at Camp Bastion in Southern Afghanistan and Prince Harry is deployed there. Then hours after a British soldier told medics she was suffering from severe stomach pains, Lance Bombardier Lynette Pearce gave birth to a baby boy, the first child to be born to a member of Britain's Armed Forces in combat.

But her father Maurice Wallace, a Fijian police officer is angry, in fact he's shocked and upset because his daughter didn't tell her parents about the baby and the Army 'couldn't be bothered' to let him know.

But the 28 year old soldier, originally from Fiji, had no idea she was pregnant and has spent months fighting the Taliban with the Royal Artillery.  She couldn't understand why she started to put on weight while undergoing a punishing physical exercise regime, including five mile runs, but nobody thought to give her a pregnancy test.

Mr Wallace said "She has shown great disrespect to the Army and the Army has shown great disrespect to me and my family by their silence over this affair."  He added "It's a total disgrace, I've got a thousand questions, who is the father, what does this mean for her future, will she have to leave the Army?

"I'm furious with her because she hasn't been in touch with us since she had the child and I'm livid with all those British officials who had a duty to contact me immediately.  Lynette has been doing her duty for the British, so isn't it right that the Army should have done their duty to her family and contacted us immediately about the birth?  My wife and I are that baby's grandparents, yet we've been the last to know what's going on, it's outrageous.

"I'm a proud Fijian and I know my daughter is a proud Fijian yet I feel totally humiliated by her silence and the silence of officials from the other side of the world.  My wife and I are in total despair.

"If she didn't know she was carrying the baby, well, we can't blame her for not telling us but since the birth, surely the Army could have arranged for her to have a phone at her bedside so she could call us and tell us the news personally.  No doubt there will be congratulations but I'm not in the mood for any of that.  The British Embassy in Fiji could have tracked me down but they just haven't bothered."

Miss Pearce uses her mother's maiden name as she was born before her parents married, her father said.  She was captain of the Fiji women's football team from 2007 to 2009 and took part in matches against Tonga and Australia.  

The UK does not allow female soldiers to deploy on operation if they are pregnant but as her child was conceived before her tour of duty began in March, she is unlikely to face censure.  Britain has sent female soldiers home from wars after they became pregnant (about 60 from Afghanistan), but hasn't previously had a servicewoman go into labour in a war zone.

Miss Pearce's baby boy was born five weeks premature in the 34th week of her pregnancy at Camp Bastion's field hospital.  Mother and baby are now at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.