Monday, 20 August 2018
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Private Matthew Adam Thornton was a Territorial Army soldier of 4thBattalion The Yorkshire Regiment who deployed to Afghanistan withSupport Company, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment as an element ofCombined Force Lashkar Gah (The Queen's Royal Hussars Battle Group) inOctober 2011. He operated out of Check Point KHOORASHAN in the Babajiarea at the northern tip of the Lashkar Gah District. On 9 November2011, his and another multiple were patrolling to the north of CheckPoint LOY MANDEH in order to engage with the Afghan people and todevelop a better understanding of their area. During the patrol hismultiple was engaged by small arms fire and grenades. While he wasmanoeuvring and returning fire he was caught in the blast of anImprovised Explosive Device and tragically was killed.

Private Thornton was born in Barnsley on 3 November 1983. He waseducated at Darton High School prior to joining Fontenay Company, Eastand West Riding Regiment on 5 Oct 2004, which subsequently became DCompany, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment on 6 June 2006. He leftthe Territorial Army in 2007, but re-enlisted into D Company inSeptember 2009, eager to deploy to Afghanistan when the opportunityarose. It was with no surprise that he was one of the first tovolunteer his services for deployment on Operation HERRICK 15. Awayfrom military life he was employed as a factory worker for aYorkshire-based company, Premdor, manufacturing door and window frames.He was also an avid snow boarder, a sport in which he was a qualifiedinstructor.

Private Thornton quickly became very popular with those with whom heserved in Support Company. During his short time with the Company heshowed that he was a gifted, hard working and determined soldier, whoepitomised the values and standards of the British Army. With aninfectious smile and a keen sense of humour, he will be sorely missed byall who had the honour of serving with him.

He leaves behind his father, Michael, his mother, Susan, his sister,Sarah, and his brother, Nathan. The thoughts and prayers of all thosein his Battalion and Combined Force Lashkar Gah are very much with themat this most difficult time.

Tribute from the family of Private Matthew Thornton

Matthew was a dedicated soldier and passionate about the job. He lovedwhat he was doing. He loved life and lived it to the full - in his work,in his role with the Territorial Army and in his leisure time. Matthewwill be greatly missed by his family, his TA colleagues and his friends.His death leaves a huge hole in all our lives. We ask that our privacyis respected at this sad time.

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Crowley MC, Commanding Officer, 4th Battalion TheYorkshire Regiment, said:

Private Matthew Thornton volunteered for service with the TerritorialArmy and enlisted in 2004. For various reasons, he left in 2007, butmissed the challenge, the comradeship and the banter that service with 4YORKS gave him and re-engaged in 2009. A stalwart of D Company, he'tipped up' for everything and was always the first to volunteer andhelp his Company, professionally and socially.

One of the reasons he re-enlisted was to do his bit and serve onoperations in Afghanistan. When the opportunity came to mobilise he wasone of the first to put his hand up. There was never a doubt that hewould be exactly the right man to deploy. He embraced the training hereceived, showing a professional attitude throughout some hard trainingin Wales and Germany. I know that his talent as a soldier, hiswillingness to assist anybody and his wacky dress sense, combined withstrange dance moves ensured that he quickly integrated into hismobilised service with the platoon he joined in 1 YORKS.

Private Matthew Thornton displayed that he had the volunteer ethos inspades. He was a fine soldier and an even finer man. 4 YORKS is afamily and we have lost one of our own. He was a true YorkshireWarrior.Private Matthew Thornton was a son and brother of whom his heartbrokenfamily can feel justly proud. Our thoughts and prayers are with them atthis difficult time. We will remember him.

Lieutenant Colonel Dan Bradbury, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion TheYorkshire Regiment said:

Private Matthew Thornton joined 1 YORKS in June this year having beenmobilised from 4 YORKS - our sister Territorial Army Battalion. Hefitted in immediately: his abundant grit, determination, ready wit andsmile allowing him to ride out the demanding training and operationalcircumstances in Afghanistan. He was tragically killed on an operationto improve security in Helmand - a task we shall pursue in the finesttraditions of the Yorkshire Regiment. Hugely respected by his comrades
and commanders for his readiness to engage with any task he was given,willingly and without complaint, he is already missed. The thoughts ofthe Battalion are with his family and his close friends in SupportCompany - who will ensure that his legacy is not forgotten. We willremember him.

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Mortimer, Commanding Officer, Combined ForceLashkar Gah (The Queen's Royal Hussars Battle Group) said:

We in Combined Force Lashkar Gah are deeply saddened by the tragic lossof Private Matt Thornton. From the onset he made a lasting and deepimpression on all those who knew him. Utterly professional, he washugely committed to his job, and to his friends and comrades. Fit,robust and determined, he thrived on the daily challenges that he facedhere in Afghanistan. He was determined to make a difference. He alwayswent that extra mile and out of his way to help others. With bags ofcharisma and an infectious sense of humour, he carried those around him,especially during the more difficult times. This is what marked him outas a human being. We have lost an outstanding comrade, a fine young man,and a true soldier. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult and tragic time. We will remember him.

Major Craig Powers, Officer Commanding Support Company, 1st BattalionThe Yorkshire Regiment, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

I have had only had the pleasure and honour of knowing Private MattThornton since he arrived in Germany with Support Company in mid June2011 after volunteering to serve with 1st Battalion The YorkshireRegiment (1 YORKS) on operations in Afghanistan. As a member of 4YORKS, he was exceptionally motivated, keen and enthusiastic to sharethis opportunity and experience with his sister Battalion. It was clearhe was determined to get the most out of his time with the regulars and
fitted in with the Company ethos from the outset. Dedicated and everthe consummate professional, he also had a dry sense of humour which wonhim many friends throughout the ranks. His attitude and approachcomplimented his posting into the Fire Support Group as a rifleman wherehe excelled on pre-deployment training exercises.

Private Thornton's multiple is operating out of a small check pointwhere camaraderie is essential. It was apparent from my visits and hiscommander's feedback that he was contributing significantly to themaintenance of morale and was a popular and reliable team player. Thewhole Company are shocked and deeply saddened at this tragic loss oflife. We have all been deprived of a kind, capable and extremelytalented colleague who will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayersare firmly with his parents, brother, and sister at this difficult time.

Captain Stephen Jones, Plans Officer, Support Company, 1st Battalion TheYorkshire Regiment, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

Having worked with and known Private Matt Thornton from the start of ourpre-deployment training and all the way through mobilisation, it waswith great shock and sadness that I heard of his death. It has been myprivilege to serve with such a capable, hard-working, selfless andfun-loving soldier. He will be greatly missed by all his friends andcolleagues here in Support Company and by all those back home in 4YORKS. My thoughts are with his family and friends and all those whohad the honour of knowing him.

Captain Steve Dando, Platoon Commander, Support Company, 1st BattalionThe Yorkshire Regiment, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

Private Matt Thornton epitomised everything a commander could want froma soldier in his platoon. He was energetic, vibrant, enthusiastic aboutsoldiering and thoroughly embraced his life in the Army. Pte Thorntonwas a very popular member of the platoon. My thoughts and prayers andthose of my platoon go out to his family and friends at this time.

Sergeant Anthony Brown, Platoon Sergeant, Support Company, 1st BattalionThe Yorkshire Regiment, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

It's hard to describe Thorney, he was a funny character. He was veryhappy, he was always smiling and asking if you wanted a brew. He wasalways there for you if you felt a bit down. He was a very good soldierand I was very lucky to have him in my Check Point. He was trusted withsome of the more complex jobs and never moaned; he just got on with whathe had to do. And even took on the load for others. Never showing anyform of selfishness I was very lucky to have met Matt. It has been apleasure to command him as he just got on with it, no matter how bad theday had been. I miss him, not just as a soldier but as a friend and asa genuinely nice bloke to have around and know. My thoughts go straightto his family and friends at home. We are feeling a loss here so Icannot imagine what they must be feeling at home. Matt you will bemissed.

Private Jeremy Robbins, C Company, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment,serving with Support Company, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment,Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

Matthew Thornton was a most friendly and caring person who took greatpride in being a Yorkshireman from Barnsley. A soldier of the YorkshireRegiment, having always wanted to serve on tour in Afghanistan, heworked hard throughout his mobilisation and pre-deployment training with1 YORKS in Germany. We worked together from the start both on patroland at our checkpoint where he would always have a laugh with the ladsand be counting down the days to his R&R when he could be home again
with his family. Matt had just turned 28 a few days ago and hecelebrated in the best way he could with no stag and a birthday cake hismother had sent which had arrived in one piece. He was loved byeveryone and will be greatly missed by all his friends and colleagues inboth 1 YORKS and 4 YORKS.

All the Soldiers of Check Point KHOORASHAN, Support Company, 1stBattalion The Yorkshire Regiment, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

We haven't known Thorney for very long, but in the short time we havespent with him he has become a good friend to all of us, with his smileand sarcastic comments that cheered the group up when morale was low.All we can say is that Private Matthew Thornton was a very keen soldier,loyal to his job and an all round gleaming lad. We send all of ourrespects to his family and friends. It was easy to say that he was agood soldier but an even better human being with a kindness of heart andmost of all he was willing to help in and out of his job. God bless hissoul and keep him safe until we see him again on the other side.

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British military casualties - Editorial policy

In the service of our country.

Eulogies for all personnel killed on UK operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are posted as soon as they have been released by the UK Ministry of Defence. Each eulogy we publish for men down in operations brings a lump to the throat. We are losing the best of the best. Politicians must ensure that, when the newspaper cuttings have faded, their sacrifice has had some meaning, has helped bring about a good result. Anything else would be a waste for which they will be eternally condemned.

There is invariably at least a 24 hour gap between the official release of news of an event and the naming of the dead. This is to allow families to be informed and proper eulogoies to be produced. Occasionally families request no euologies or comment. We abide by guidance we receive on such sensitive matters. We regret that information on those who sacrifice almost as much through grave injury is seldom released by the MoD for operational reasons, and so we are unable to pay tribute.


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