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Lance Corporal Duane Groom, The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards was killed in Afghanistan on Friday 14 September 2012 when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Born on 7 April 1980 in Suva City, Fiji, Lance Corporal Groom joined the British Army in 2007. Having completed the Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, he moved to Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, where he participated in public duties and ceremonial tasks at the Royal Palaces. Two years later he joined 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, participating in an overseas training exercise in Kenya before deploying to Afghanistan in September 2009 with The Queen's Company.
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Upon his return he made full use of his time, taking part in the Infantry Skiing Championships in early 2011 and attending a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Cadre in January 2012. Newly promoted, he deployed to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty on 7 April 2012 as a member of the Operations Company for Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North). As well as working with his parent company, for seven weeks of the tour he provided force protection for British military advisors to the Afghan National Army. It was in this role, while protecting his Afghan and British colleagues as they extracted from a successful operation that he was sadly killed.
Lance Corporal Groom was a superb soldier. Fit, conscientious and extremely hard-working, he displayed great potential. Operationally experienced, he was always willing to help others and was widely respected and liked by all. Although quiet and reserved, he possessed a great sense of humour and always had a smile on his face. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder MBE, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Lance Corporal Groom was an outstanding soldier in every respect. Tough, keen, and unflappable, he was utterly committed to his fellows and the cause. We are all tremendously proud of what he achieved during his time in the Regiment, and particularly out here in Afghanistan where he contributed so much.
"His many friends and the broader Battlegroup will never forget this most talented of men. Moreover, we are determined to finish the mission that he so bravely helped to start. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends outside the Regiment at this most difficult of times."
Major Piers Ashfield, The Captain of The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Lance Corporal Groom was a dedicated soldier and devoted to the wellbeing of his family and friends. His unassuming approach and lightness of touch endeared him to everyone that was fortunate enough to have met him. He was the consummate professional; diligent, hard-working and unflinching in the face of any danger. The Company will always remember him and we send our heartfelt condolences to Lance Corporal Groom's family and friends."
Colour Sergeant Gareth Davis, Company Quarter Master Sergeant of The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Lance Corporal Groom was a proud member of The Queen's Company. He was a calm and trustworthy Junior Non-Commissioned Officer who never moaned and just got on with the job in hand. I am honoured to have been able to work with such a dedicated and professional soldier. My thoughts are with his family."
Sergeant Brian Paterson, Fire Support Group Commander, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Lance Corporal Groom worked with The Queen's Company Fire Support Group on a number of occasions throughout our deployment. During this time we got to know him well; he was a quiet person until you got to know him. He was liked and respected by all the members of the Fire Support Group as well as the members of the Brigade Advisory Group. He carried out his job with no complaints and always to the best of his ability. He will be missed by us all. We are truly devastated at his loss."
Corporal Joe Roligadra, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said:
"I have known Duane since I was 14 and he was always like a big brother to me. He was the sort of person who always had your back covered in good times and in bad times. We have been through a lot together before we joined the Army and he was always very decent and generous to me. The loyalty that he showed me was over and above that of normal brotherhood. I remember that when things got rough he would always tell me: "Joe, everything is going to be okay" and he always shared everything he had with me. He was a caring and honest person and was full of life; when growing up in Fiji together I always used to say that he had "the best smile in paradise".
"The more I think about him, the more I miss him. He was the perfect brother that I had always wished for. We always planned to join the British Army together and although we ended up in different regiments, he loved his new job and soldiering was everything to him. He loved it because it restored the virtues in life that we had lost and had always hoped to regain. He was the best friend, brother and soldier ever and I will miss a true and great person."
Guardsman Douglas Adams, The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"I first met Duane in 2009 before we deployed to Afghanistan, where very quickly he became one of the lads. He would always take time to watch over the younger guys around him and my lasting memory of Duane will be our trip to the Army versus Navy rugby game last year. I cannot believe you have gone, you were a best friend and a brother, I will miss you buddy."
Lance Sergeant Kieran Dunk, Support Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"As an attached member of Support Company, I only had a relatively short time to get to know the lads of The Queen's Company. However, in that time Duane's character, professionalism and charisma shone through. He was well liked by those above and below him and he will be greatly missed by all serving with The Queen's Company."
Guardsman Thomas Smith, The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Duane was a truly fantastic soldier who was totally fearless and a great and inspirational leader. He sometimes came across as a 'tough nut to crack' but once cracked I discovered he was a truly wonderful person and friend. Duane will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. Rest in peace mate."
Guardsman Neil Tufft, The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Duane Groom was an outstanding soldier and was a great member of The Queen's Company. When times got tough he'd be there to cheer up the lads and would command at a high level as he was an exceptional Non-Commissioned Officer. It is a sad loss to the Platoon and to the Company and he will be greatly missed."