Family waits for news of soldier Toby
EVEN when your son has been a soldier for years, you don't get used to them being at the forefront of war.
June O'Connor of Ingrams Avenue has seen her son Lance Corporal Toby O'Connor, 24, go off to fight in Bosnia, Kosovo and now Iraq.
She has not heard from him in weeks and not seen him since Christmas.
"He went over at the end of January just before the shooting started and we haven't heard much from him, so that's a good few weeks. I don't know where he is based at the moment."
The family, including sister Rita, 14, brothers Paul, 18, Lee, 16 and Cavan 10 and Dad, also called Cavan, write and send parcels every week.
"We have been sending stuff. We send out food and have just started sending toothpaste and wipes."
Toby went to Sidley CP School and then Bexhill High. After spending time in the cadets, he decided to join the army and is now in the 211 Signal Squadron and based in Germany until he was called to Iraq.
"He is very well known from his school days. So many people know him and want to know how he is. He is quite a popular lad." said June.
Although he has been sent out before, this time is worse for June. "It is difficult with all the things you hear on the news about people missing and stuff. It is harder this time because I haven't heard from him.
"I think it's harder for a mum - I seem to take it harder than his Dad does. When he was in Bosnia I was a complete wreck."
At the moment she taking it a day at a time.
"Yesterday was not so good but today is a bit better."
Toby's girlfriend Stacey Tidd, 22, of Ninfield Road, has been keeping in touch with his family since he left.
"We have sent him out noodles and sweets. Stacey has sent him cakes and biscuits.
"I did a parcel up the other day with some toothpaste and toothbrush and some anticeptic spray. I even sent some tampons for him to give to some of the girls out there.
"I sent him some boxer shorts yesterday. Just after he got there he sent a letter saying he needed some socks because the ones he had had rotted in the heat!"