THE mother of a son killed fighting Islamists in Syria has said: ‘He is our hero.
Jane Lyndon, 53, has spoken out after her son Ollie Hall, 24, died fighting while serving for Kurdish force the YPG in Raqqa, Syria, against Islamic State fighters.
New information from his mum Jane, of Lee-on-the-Solent, reveals Ollie did not die while clearing mines as previously thought and reported, but checking to see if the home of a refugee and his infant daughter was safe from bombs.
It was while Ollie, a former student of Bay House School, checked for any threats that he was killed in an explosion.
He is due to be repatriated at Heathrow Airport today at 3pm.
Jane said Ollie’s actions saved multiple lives and he risked his life to help strangers.
‘I have been told that Ollie undoubtedly saved three families’ lives and the rest of his colleagues that were there that day,’ she said.
‘His actions over the months he worked there would have saved many more lives due to his bravery.
‘He risked his life and his freedom, put himself in harm’s way to help strangers.
‘His commander expressed that he was liked by everyone and a tragic loss for all that knew him.
‘Even though we are immensely proud of Ollie and he is our hero, I would never want another family to go through this.’
The devastated mum said she was ‘incredibly proud’ of her son but added: ‘I wish he hadn’t gone and wish he was here but I’m very proud of him.’
A number of Kuridish nationals are expected to welcome the repatriation at Heathrow. They will be holding a vigil in his honour.
Jane said it was important for people to know the true circumstances surrounding her son’s death.
In a statement she said: ‘On November 25 my son Ollie Hall was killed while serving with the YPG.
‘Unknowingly to our family he travelled to Syria on August 18 and spent five weeks in an academy in Rojava, northern Syria.
‘Following his death some newspaper reports stated he was killed defusing an IED. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify now that I have a first-hand account from a source who was there at the time.’
The source told Jane: ‘For the sake of my hevals [friends], his family, and the uninformed, he was not trying to defuse a mine when he was killed.
‘Six of us were getting supplies when a man approached us holding his infant daughter near a check point.
‘He was a resident who had likely returned from a refugee camp to find his home had been the site of a major battle. He begged our unit to see if it was safe.
‘Ollie was simply trying to identify any threats.
‘By trying to identify any threats Ollie certainly saved their lives.
‘He told me how he had come here to help.’
Ollie’s death comes after Ryan Lock, 20, from Havant died fighting with the YPG in 2016.
Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, has since paid tribute to Ollie.
‘It’s very sad that Ollie has made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism,’ he said last night.
‘It’s extremely difficult to know what to say as it’s a very private and emotional time for the family. We can only send them all our sympathies at this time.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage added: ‘Our deepest sympathies go out to Ollie’s family and friends at what must be a very distressing time.’
Ollie will be repatriated with fellow Brit Jac Holmes, of Bournemouth, who was also killed in October fighting Islamic State.
He had been a sniper with the Kurdistan People’s Protection Units (YPG) since January 2015.
Councilor urges others not to join the fight in Syria
CIVILIANS intent on flying to the Middle East to battle Islamic State militants are being urged not to by a councillor.
Gosport Borough Councillor Graham Burgess issued the plea ahead of Ollie Hall’s repatriation today.
The councillor offered his condolences to Mr Hall’s family. But the Royal Navy veteran issued a stern warning to other civilians thinking of joining the fight against IS, urging them to follow Foreign Office advice not to travel to Syria.
‘I can’t see why untrained civilians would want to go and fight in a conflict that is not of their making,’ said the Lee East Ward Tory. ‘War is brutal. You can’t rewind it. A lot of those people who go there seem to think that if something goes wrong, they can just come out. You can’t.’
Mr Hall was the seventh Briton to die fighting Islamic State in Raqqa.
His death came almost a year after that of former Havant schoolboy Ryan Lock, of Chichester.
The 20-year-old chef was wounded while battling jihadists in Raqqa.
Surrounded by IS fighters, he turned his gun on himself to avoid capture and a ‘frightening and painful death’, an inquest at Portsmouth Coroners’ Court heard. An inquest at Portsmouth Coroners’ Court last year heard how, fearing capture, he shot himself.