muirkirk in the hills of ayrshire - from the muirkirk enterprise group


Danny Masterton is freed

Danny Masterton from Muirkirk has returned home on two weeks compassionate leave after being freed, with his military colleagues, following their illegal arrest by Iranian authorities. A "welcome home Daniel" yellow ribbon banner welcomed Danny back to the village.

Danny and his colleagues were on duty in Iraqi waters, carrying out ship inspection duties. On completion of an inspection of a cargo ship, two Iranian patrol vessels entered Iraqi waters and arrested the UK military personnel, an act which led to a diplomatic stand-off and condemnation from many other nations.

Marine Masterton is a member of the elite Fleet Standby Rifle Troop, based at Faslane on the Clyde.

Danny, his family and his home village of Muirkirk featured strongly in the Scottish press.

On Wednesday 4th April 2007 came the news that the UK personnel had been released to the UK Consol and would be flying home the following day.

On the evening of 4th April Muirkirk once more featured strongly in the news with television cameras present in the village and reporters interviewing a number of locals, including Muirkirk Enterprise Group Chairman Jim Currie and local councillor Jimmy Kelly.

Speaking on BBC Scotland Jim Currie said "The best thing Danny did was to go into the marines. It gave him something to look forward to in life. Unfortunately, he didn't expect this type of thing to happen."

Local councillor Jimmy Kelly added that the Mastertons "are a well-respected family in the village and I'm quite sure that there is not one person that's not grieving for them at the moment. I just hope these people see a bit of sanity and what they are doing to mums and dads and release them."

In a statement released through the Ministry of Defence the Masterton family said: "Whilst we understand the media interest in the ongoing incident involving our son, this remains a very distressing time for us and our family, and all the other families involved.

"Our thoughts are also with them, and all the marines and navy personnel caught up in this situation.

"We are grateful for the support shown to us by our family, friends and colleagues, and very much appreciate it. Now all we ask is that our privacy be respected."

Danny was well-liked in the Muirkirk community, played football and was a keen member of the Boys' Brigade from a young age.

"Danny's quiet until he has a couple of drinks then he's the life and soul of the party. He loves singing Wonderwall by Oasis on the karaoke."
(Nicole Durkin quoted in The Herald)

On news of the release of the UK military personnel Danny's father, former Clyde and Ayr United Footballer Danny Masterton, and his sister Sarah flew south to meet Danny at a Royal Navy base in Devon.

On Thursday 5th April 2007 the group were flown back on a British Airways flight from Tehran to London's Heathrow Airport, witht he aircraft specially cleared to land on the runway normally reserved for take-off. The plane taxied to the VIP and Royal area of Terminal 4 where two Sea King helicopters awaited to transfer them to Devon.

Media Links to the story

Danny Masterton in release suit supplied by Iranian authorities

Danny Masterton in combats as seen on Iranian TV