Families mourn Cape Town men killed in Iraq

Time of article published May 9, 2006

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By Anél Powell

A former member of the South African special forces from Cape Town travelling on a British passport and a British soldier formerly from the city have been killed in Iraq.

It pushes fatalities with South African links in the country to 19 among the more than 5 000 the foreign affairs department estimates to be working there.

Richard Andrew Kolver, 43, of Hout Bay, was killed early on Monday in a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad.

David Ian Dobson, 27, from Constantia, was one of five British personnel presumed dead after their Lynx helicopter crashed in Basra City on Saturday.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Vincent Hlongwane said while they were aware of the helicopter crash in Basra, there was no confirmation yet that any of the dead had South African links.

Foreign affairs could also not confirm the details of the incident in which Kolver died.

Both Kolver and Dobson were travelling on British passports.

Kolver had been working in Iraq for the past 18 months. He was due to return home from Baghdad this weekend. His wife Trudy said she received the call about her husband's death shortly after 8.15am.

When she had spoken to him a few hours earlier, Kolver had assured her that he was going on "a quick run".

Hours later, he was dead.

"I am still in shock," she said, adding that they had only been married for three months.

Although friends for 15 years, the couple married on January 28 this year.

The last photograph Trudy has of her husband, who she described as "the love of my life", was taken at their wedding.

Trudy said Kolver, who emailed her daily from Iraq, had said this would be his last assignment in the country.

A former member of the South African special forces, Kolver left to work in Iraq because he could not get a job in South Africa, Trudy said.

He was employed by an American company to accompany engineers to sites in Iraq.

Although the details of Monday's attack have yet to be confirmed, Trudy said she was told that Kolver had been guarding a power station.

She said it could take as long as 10 days before the paperwork for the release of Kolver's body would be completed.

Kolver leaves behind four stepchildren and his four-year-old daughter.

Dobson, known as "Dobbo" in Britain's 847 Naval Squadron, flew to Iraq in March.

A former Rondebosch Boys' High School and Waldorf pupil, Dobson trained as an officer at Sandhurst before he was commissioned into the Army Air Corps.

He represented the army at basketball and the army air corps at cricket. He also played provincial basketball when he was in Cape Town.

His father, Howard, said his son "loved flying and loved Cape Town". "We are suffering a great loss, but we supported him (being in Iraq)."

A friend of Dobson's, who asked not to be named, described Dobson as "an incredibly nice and honest guy".

He said Dobson was well-liked and would be missed.

On his last visit to Cape Town, Dobson had said he was tired of being away and that he wanted to return home.

Howard said he would be flying to the United Kingdom to finalise arrangements to retrieve his son's body.

He was unable to comment on Saturday's attack that left his son and four other crew missing, presumed dead, as he was instructed to direct all queries to the press office of the British High Commission in London.

According to reports, the helicopter was shot down by insurgents.

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