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Private Thomas James Wroe of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's) (3 YORKS) was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 15 September 2012.
Sergeant Gareth Thursby and Private Thomas James Wroe were shot and fatally wounded by a rogue Afghan Local Policeman in Checkpoint Tora in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
Both men served proudly and in the highest traditions of The Yorkshire Regiment. They will never be forgotten.
Eulogy for Private Wroe is on the next page.
Private Thomas James Wroe was born in Huddersfield on 27th June 1994. He joined the British Army on 5th September 2010 and attended the Army Foundation College at Harrogate. On 11 November 2011 he completed his training and joined 3 YORKS. He was assigned to 3 Platoon, Alma Company as a Rifleman and completed demanding pre-deployment training, including qualifying as a Team Medic. Private Wroe spent several weeks working and training with the Battalion Rear Operations Group in the United Kingdom until he turned 18 years, deploying to join the rest of his Company on Operation HERRICK 16 on 1 July 2012.
Private Wroe was an outstanding example of a Yorkshire Regiment soldier. Even in the short time he had been with his Company he had shown himself to be enthusiastic, articulate and highly capable. He followed a strong family tradition of service in the Battalion and already had aspirations to attend a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre. His quick witted sense of humour made him popular with all. Private Wroe was 18 years old and is survived by his parents, Michael and Claire and sister Demi, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.
Thomas's family paid this tribute:
"Our son Thomas was a brave young soldier, who is loved by his family, girlfriend and friends. We can't believe you have been taken so soon from us. You will always be in our hearts for ever and ever. You would light up the room with your smile and bubbly personality. Our world will be a duller place without you. We are so proud of you son, on all you achieved and we are grateful for every special thing you gave us. We will always love you Tom."
Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Stenning MBE, Commanding Officer, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Tom Wroe had only been with us a few months, but in this short period he had made a significant impression on his fellow soldiers and commanders. Always eager and with unrelenting energy, he had pushed hard to join the Regiment inAfghanistan.
"Arriving only some two months ago, his energy and professionalism quickly earned him the respect of his fellow team members. But it was his humour and character that really stood out. Whenever anyone asked how he was, his consistent reply was 'always happy'. This phrase captured the young man Wroe was. On patrol his professional skills were impressively high given his relative inexperience. When back in the isolated checkpoint, his humour and vibrancy shone through and energised those around him.
"His quick wit, love of Huddersfield Town Football Club, board games and genuine 'can do nature' made him a popular member of the team. He already had that unique quality of command presence that an Army requires; people looked to him for leadership in dangerous and difficult moments. I have no doubt he would have attended and passed our Junior Leader Course, way ahead of his time.
"But today our thoughts are with his family, in particular his father, Michael, a fellow 'Duke' who has only just recently left our battalion. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his mother, Claire, sister, Demi and girlfriend, Jessica, who we know he loved so much."
Major Finlay Bibby, Officer Commanding Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Wroe made an immediate impression on joining Alma Company shortly before deploying to Afghanistan. His confidence, sense of humour and ever present smile made him hugely popular and fun to be with. Famously, he twice beat his Platoon Commander at Risk, a board game of military strategy, making him the 'Baby General'. He was an extremely talented soldier who was fulfilling his dream by serving with the Battalion on operations, the same Battalion that his father served with. I have no doubt that Private Wroe would have achieved great things in the Army. Alma Company will miss him immensely and our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, Michael and Claire, sister, Demi, and his girlfriend, Jessica."
Captain Oliver Sparks, Battle Captain, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Wroe arrived at the Battalion as an incredibly keen and enthusiastic young soldier. He had come from a military family as his father had also been a 'Duke' and he was certainly keen to follow in his footsteps.
"He impressed from the outset and threw himself into pre-tour training with an impressive vigour. Being only 17 he knew he would not deploy immediately with the Platoon but was constantly asking me to ensure that when he got out he would be with the rest of the boys. He had made friends very quickly which summed up what kind of a guy he was.
"When he eventually got out to theatre I had handed over the Platoon and I could see him chomping at the bit to get down to the checkpoint with the guys. It is with great sadness that I did not get to command him on operations. He was certainly a soldier with great prospects for the future and it is an absolute tragedy that such a bright light has been extinguished at such a young age.
"My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this incredibly difficult time."
Second Lieutenant Callum Cameron, Officer Commanding 3 Platoon, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Wroe, despite being the youngest soldier in my Platoon, was the soldier whose career I most looked forward to. He always showed a level of professionalism in his soldiering at this early stage of his career that was on a par with the most experienced.
"He perfectly embodied the confidence and undoubtedly cheeky wit of a Yorkshire soldier. His enthusiasm for his career, alongside his soldiering abilities, meant he was a young soldier every Platoon Commander would hope to have in his Platoon. He was the man to volunteer first for a task without even being asked, he was first to clean his rifle after a patrol and was first in with a joke.
"Nothing encapsulated this more than the respect and standing he earned from his peers in the Platoon, despite his age. I seriously doubt that for the rest of my career I will be as impressed by a new soldier as I was by Private Wroe."
Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major) Darren Szymanski, 3 YORKS, said:
"A young man with a promising career ahead of him, Private Wroe recently joined the Battalion and excelled as a Rifleman. Utterly reliable and trustworthy, he quickly settled in as part of a very tightly knit team. Popular and well respected by all, Private Wroe was the epitome of professionalism. His loss is sadly felt by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Warrant Officer Class 2 (Company Sergeant Major) Duncan Wyeth, Company Sergeant Major, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Tom Wroe the son of my good friend Mick Wroe. Keen and full of energy, you were too young to deploy immediately but as soon as you turned 18 you fought to come to Alma Company and especially 3 Platoon. Always with a cheeky smile and never with your head down, I don't think I have ever seen a young soldier with so many friends. Alma Company will never forget you, young warrior."
Lance Corporal Paul Barrett, 3 Platoon, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Wroe joined the 3 Platoon family a short while before we deployed on Operation Herrick 16. Even though he was the new guy he fitted in straight away, giving as good as he got from the lads. I couldn't have asked for a better soldier. It was with sadness that he stayed behind in England for the first part of the tour. When he finally re-joined 3 Platoon out here he said, 'I've finally made it!' The smile on his face said it all; he was back with his brothers. Rest in peace, you will never be forgotten."
Lance Corporal Liam Tuite, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"I have not known Tom for a great deal of time but it was more than enough to call him a true friend. He stood tall and proud and loved his job. I was speaking to him in Camp Bastion before he deployed on the ground. He was saying how much he could not wait to get out there. I loved that and admired the fact that he was so enthusiastic and committed. He was loved by everyone he spoke to. He was always up for a laugh and a joke but serious and professional when he needed to be. He will be greatly missed by all. We thank you brother."
Lance Corporal Ian Young, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"I first met Tom when he arrived at 3 YORKS and moved into my corridor. I knew instantly we had got a special lad; smart, keen and always happy. I will always remember him having to wake me up on a morning and popping in on a night just to talk. I will miss you mate. You were a good lad and did us all proud. I'll always think of you and you will still make me smile just like you did back then, so rest easy and I'll see you again one day."
Private Dominic Hern, 3 Platoon, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Tom was a great friend and I am proud to say I was friends with him. Tom always had high morale and could always make me laugh, in and out of work. He loved his girlfriend, Jessica, with all of his heart, as she did him.
"Tom couldn't wait to come to 3 YORKS. All he wanted to do was to be a soldier and come to Afghanistan. Tom fought to be with 3 Platoon in Afghanistan and I am so glad he did in the end. Although he had just come to the Battalion, Tom knew everything, and really was a top soldier and a real Yorkshire Warrior.
"Tom was also a big family man and was especially close to his sister, Demi. He was, and still is, a great friend, son, brother, boyfriend and a soldier. Tom has done his country, family, friends and Meltham so proud."
Private Christopher Hudson, 3 Platoon, Alma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Wroe was one of the nicest lads I had ever met. Coming out to Afghanistan just after his 18th birthday, he always looked forward to going out on patrol. He was always happy, smiling and always lifted the mood. I spoke to Private Wroe about the Army and he told me his Dad was a 'Duke'. He said he always wanted to be in the Infantry, which was obvious during Mission Specific Training and also out in Afghanistan due to the way he went about his job. I didn't know Private Wroe that long but during the time I did know him he became a good, loyal friend who had an infectious smile. You will be missed pal and you will never be forgotten. Always in my thoughts."
Private Kyle Mitchell and Private Luke McLaren, Burma Company, 3 YORKS, said:
"Private Tom Wroe was an inspirational lad. He was loved by everybody that knew him. He was so young, he wanted to follow in his Dad's footsteps and join the Duke of Wellington's. He dreamed of going on tour and was over the moon when he finally got out to Afghanistan. I have never seen anybody love the Army as much as Tom did. He died doing the job he loved and, although he is no longer with us, we will never forget him. Rest in peace, mate."