Soldiers WILL carry Dennis Hutchings' coffin in MoD U-turn

Soldiers WILL carry Troubles veteran Dennis Hutchings’ coffin at his funeral after MoD caves in to pressure

  • Dennis Hutchings’ coffin can now be carried by serving soldiers, the MoD said
  • The U-turn came last night when the MoD agreed to provide military pallbearers 
  • Officials originally denied the request made for the Troubles veteran’s funeral 

The Ministry of Defence has U-turned on its refusal to let serving soldiers carry the coffin of Troubles veteran Dennis Hutchings.

Supporters of Mr Hutchings, who died last month aged 80 while on trial in Belfast over a fatal 1974 shooting, had called for members of his former Army regiment, the Life Guards, to act as pallbearers at his funeral on Remembrance Day.

Last night the MoD caved into pressure and agreed to provide military pallbearers, saying Mr Hutchings had served ‘with great dignity, diligence and courage’.

Dennis Hutchings, 80, died last month while on trial in Belfast over a fatal 1974 shooting. His supporters called for members of his former Army regiment to act as pallbearers at his funeral

Officials had originally denied a request made through the regiment by a former major who served in Northern Ireland alongside Mr Hutchings.

However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who served in the Scots Guards, vowed to ‘find out who stopped’ the plans.

Johnny Mercer, the Conservative MP who accompanied Mr Hutchings from his home in Cornwall to his trial in Belfast, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I am pleased for the family that the MoD will honour Dennis Hutchings in death as they failed to in life.

Mr Hutchings’ supporters gathered together outside Laganside Court in Belfast last month

‘He was a good man who served his country proudly in Northern Ireland.’

Mr Hutchings’s son John, 48, said: ‘I am absolutely over the moon and delighted that the Life Guards are providing these pallbearers.’

An Army spokesman said: ‘Mr Hutchings served for many years with great dignity, diligence and courage.

‘The Army was formally approached to provide a bearer party for the funeral.

‘As a mark of respect to Mr Hutchings, his service and his family, the decision was made by the Army to support the request.’ 

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