Friday, 17 August 2018
logo
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
        



dv-header-dday
     |      View our Twitter page at twitter.com/defenceredbox     |     

inmemoriam




Warrant Officer Class 2 (Company Sergeant Major) Colin Beckett deployed to Afghanistan on 15 October 2010 as Company Sergeant Major C Company,3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA). He was based at Patrol Base FOLAD in the Nad-e Ali District of Helmand Province.

On the morning of 5 February 2011, he was deployed on an operation to interdict the movement of insurgents into Shaheed, a village on theNahr-e-Bughra canal where C Company have been developing a protected community. At 0834 Company Sergeant Major Beckett was fatally woundedby an Improvised Explosive Device which detonated as he was moving into position to cover his fellow patrol members.

Company Sergeant Major Beckett, known as 'Tom' in the Army, was born on 20 February 1974 in his home town of Peterborough. He joined the Armyin July 1990 and was posted to 3 PARA on completion of his training. A strong performance on the Anti-Tank Cadre in 1993 saw him take the firststeps down a specialisation in which he would become a master, leading Anti-Tank soldiers at nearly every rank. Company Sergeant MajorBeckett's outstanding command ability was recognised early and he moved up the ranks swiftly, excelling on Anti-Tank and rifle command coursesas he went, all fitted around operational deployments to Northern Ireland and Kosovo.


It was as an Anti-Tank Section Commander that he deployed to Iraq during the first Operation TELIC in 2003 but he had been promoted by the timehe deployed as a Platoon Sergeant with C Company on Operation HERRICK 4, 3 PARA's first deployment to Helmand in 2006. He was soon back inAfghanistan on Operation HERRICK 8, again at the forefront commanding his soldiers, this time as a Fire Support Group Second In Command during3 PARA's tour as Regional Battle Group South. After promotion to Warrant Officer Class 2 in 2009, Company Sergeant Major Beckett tookover as Company Sergeant Major C Company in the vital lead-up to operations. It was in this most challenging role that he deployed toAfghanistan in October 2010 as part of 3 PARA Battlegroup, Combined Force Nad-E-Ali (North).

An inspirational and iconic leader with a staggering amount of operational experience, Company Sergeant Major Beckett was known andrespected across the Parachute Regiment. In a career that spanned two decades, he spent only a handful of months away from the Battalion inwhich he was a central figure, one of the Non-Commissioned Officers that make up its unyielding core. In C Company, his company, and within theAnti-Tank specialisation his contribution of over 20 years of service is the stuff of legend and he will be profoundly missed.

He leaves behind his parents Del and Kim and his wife Rachel who is expecting their first child mid-February 2011. Mrs Rachel Beckett, said:

"Anyone whoever met or knew Colin 'Tom' would have been touched by him in a big way and he will never be forgotten. He was a fantastic soldier,a great son, a good brother and friend and a truly special husband. My bestest friend, my soul mate, my absolute world. We love him and shallmiss him so very much. May his love for life, strength, humour and strong character, live on forever in his baby girl Freya."

Lieutenant Colonel James Coates, Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Colin Beckett was one of the most talented Sergeant Majors of his generation. With a long and distinguished careerspanning countless deployments and three tours in Afghanistan, he represented the very essence of a Paratrooper; professional to the core,devoted to his men and hugely respected.

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett died following an explosion on 5 February 2011 during a patrol near the town of Shaheed in Nad-e AliDistrict, central Helmand. Under his close mentorship, in the weeks preceding his death, C Company 3 PARA had secured a huge swathe of Nad-eAli District in a series of bold and decisive operations which already hold a legendary place in 3 PARA's history. More recently his Companyhad been operating from a patrol base in Shaheed, aiming to deliver improved security and development to the area in the face of asignificant threat from insurgent activity. On the morning of 5 February, characteristically, he was deployed on patrol with hissoldiers, seeking to disrupt this threat, when tragedy struck.

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett will be remembered for many reasons. Those who worked with him saw a man with humility and a natural aptitudethat set him apart. He dealt superbly with his soldiers and was immensely popular with everyone he met. His sense of humour was secondto none; I will never forget how he captivated the entire Sergeants' Mess during the last Summer Ball. He was a family man and a truegentleman. But most of all, to us, he will be remembered as a fellow Paratrooper and trusted friend who unconditionally gave his all in life.Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Rachel, who is expecting their first child, and his wider family. We pledge now to keep hismemory alive through our continuing actions throughout this tour and beyond. His legacy will be the example he set to us all and the
decisive role he played in bringing lasting security to 3 PARA's area of operations in Helmand.

"Utrinque Paratus."

Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major) Richard Hames, Regimental Sergeant Major, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Tom Beckett is 'The' Company Sergeant Major. He drove his company forward continually whilst deployed on the ground.He was the Dad to the young toms, Uncle to the young officers, a Brother to his Platoon Sargeants, best friend to the OC and an utterlyprofessional Paratrooper who I will dearly miss. The commitment he gave to every one of his Paratroopers in the Company was second to none. Heoozed professionalism, gave sound advice, and was level headed in the heat of battle.

"Not only have I lost a friend but the Warrant Officers' & Sergeants' Mess of 3 PARA has lost a warm hearted and dynamic character who wouldalways bring his great humour and an infectious smile to any Mess member ho was sitting lonely gazing into a beer. The Battalion has lost anicon of a soldier; looked up to by so many, respected by his peers and the chain of command. A CSM who always worked for his Paratroopers, hewill be dearly missed by all. A true Airborne brother.

"Tom, thoughts and prayers from all of 3 PARA are now with your wife Rachel, and your parents Del & Kim."

Major Ollie Kingsbury, Officer Commanding C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Tom Beckett died as he had spent the whole tour: watching my back, taking a fire position to prevent anythinggetting at the company HQ.

"I had only known him for about 2 years, but he was a great mate as well as my right hand man. He kept my feet on the ground for some of ourwilder plans, but he never let us rest on our laurels. He was as bright as any soldier I have met, and he could adapt his natural warriorinstincts to the subtler requirements of Afghanistan. When something really needed doing, however, it was hard to stay in front of him. Hecould have used his job to stay comfortably in camp, but on every company patrol he was the first to get his kit on. He was a constantexample of how to operate in some very uncomfortable situations. In a fight in Helmand, or in the Mess he was the same: cheerful but levelheaded, full of banter but with a core of steel. His credibility as a soldier was second to none.

"He has left a gap in the Company that simply will not be filled, but our grief and loss can not come close to that of his family. His wifeis expecting their first baby in less than 2 weeks, when he was due to be on R&R.

"God bless you, Tom. We'll have a pint for you."

Captain Ed Withey, Company Second in Command C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 'Tom' Beckett is a great example of what a truly professional Paratrooper should be; he was tough and dedicated,but also had a level of understanding and compassion towards his men that is rare to find. As a Company Sergeant Major, Warrant OfficerClass 2 Beckett offered me invaluable support and advice along with a professional friendship that I look back on with fond memories. WarrantOfficer Class 2 Beckett had a sense of humour that would brighten up even the most stressful of situations, never letting any event get thebetter of him.

"The loss of a Company Sergeant Major will always be hard for a Company, but I believe that the memories and legacy of such a fine individualwill strengthen its resolve for the remaining months of the tour. I know that Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett died doing exactly what heloved; leading by example and taking the fight to the enemy. His actions have been an inspiration to the men who have worked alongsidehim over the past months. His presence in C Company will be sorely missed."

Lieutenant Ben Neary, 7 Platoon Commander, C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Company Sergeant Major Beckett had the very best qualities of a Parachute Regiment soldier. He was firm yet fair and passionate aboutlooking after the Company. His unique laugh could be heard a mile off. I will always be thankful for the all the advice he passed onto me. Hisdeath will have a lasting impact on us all. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Lieutenant Ben Sebley, 8 Platoon Commander, C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett - a true Paratrooper. May you rest in peace."

Lieutenant James Higginson, 9 Platoon Commander, C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Company Sergeant Major Beckett's death has been felt by everyone in C Company. He was a huge character who knew and understood every one ofthe blokes. I will remember him by his jokes and his comical evil laugh, and mostly by his generosity in the time he gave to the youngofficers. He made up the fabric and spirit of C Company - his company - and he will be missed by all of us."

Warrant Officer (Class 2) Matt Lawson, Regimental Signals Warrant Officer 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"My friend Tom. Tom was a pivotal member of the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess, his approach and manner in all aspects relating to hiswork was done with the utmost professionalism, and as such were well respected. He was a man of considerable moral courage, never afraid tomake an unpopular decision to get the job done. I saw Tom as what I would call a "People Person", someone with whom you felt at ease talkingto and able to confide in; always taking the time to listen regardless of the personal and professional issues he was experiencing at the time. Tom was the ultimate professional, a paratrooper, someone who, in truth, I looked up to in most respects. His attitude and approach were unrelenting, an example to us all.

"Tom, God bless, I will never forget you. We are left with a void that will be difficult to fill; until we meet again mate. Your friend."

Colour Sergeant Glenn Hobbs, Company Quartermaster Sergeant C Company 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Tom, over the past year you have taught me how to be a Company Sergeant Major. It's been a true pleasure over all these years. Your humour andmanner will be missed by me greatly. My thoughts are with your family.

"Rest in peace friend."

Colour Sergeant Michael Taylor, Anti-Tank Platoon, Fire Support Commander attached to C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regimentsaid:

"Company Sergeant Major Colin (Tom) Beckett - A career-long friend, we will miss you.

"Rest in peace Tom."

Corporal Rupert Reynolds, Joint Terminal Attack Controller attached to C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Tom, from Platoon Sgt to Company Sergeant Major, a good few years. I never did get you back for hot spoonings.

"Rest in peace mate."

Private James Stark, 9 Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"A truly inspirational sergeant major, who certainly inspired me to be a good paratrooper. Also good on 'The Bear'!"

The private soldiers of C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"He was everything a Company Sergeant Major should be: firm, fair, funny and professional every second he was awake. He was as proud to be aparatrooper as anyone could be. He has respect from his men that will never be lost in the Parachute Regiment.

"He will always be with us."

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Latest from icasualties.org

  • KP- ISIS claims responsibility for the deadly attack in Kabul city
    The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) has claimed responsibility behind the deadly attack in capital Kabul targeting an education center. The group’s Amaq news agency claimed the responsibility by issuing short statement on Thursday. Without disclosing further proofs, the group claimed that a suicide bomber belonging to the group carried out an attack in Shi’ite area o Kabul city.
  • 1tvnews- Siege near spy training center in Kabul ends
    Afghan forces killed two gunmen who entered an unfinished building to launch attack on nearby intelligence service training center in Kabul on Thursday. The gunmen got into the building in Qalai Wazir in Police District 5, west Kabul, around 10:00a.m. Sporadic gunfires, and a couple of explosions were heard from site of the attack and after six hours, authorities declared that the siege ended.
  • KP- Taliban militants suffer heavy casualties in US airstrikes in Helmand
    The Taliban militants have suffered heavy casualties during the airstrikes conducted by the US forces in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan. The provincial government media office in a statement said the US forces carried out airstrikes targeting Taliban militants in Nad Ali district. The statement further added that the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Chah Anjir area of the district, leaving at least 13 militants dead.
  • KP- Fresh clashes erupt among Taliban and ISIS in Nangarhar province
    Fresh clashes have erupted among the Taliban militants and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) militants in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said the latest clashes have erupted between the two sides in Deh Bala district. The source further added that the latest clashes have left one ISIS militant dead so far.
  • KP- Bodies of Pakistanis killed in Ghazni city being shifted to Pakistan
    Khattak was citing reports regarding the killing and apprehension of several Pakistani militants during the Ghazni clashes as he asked the Pakistani authorities in for an explanation. Calling the involvement of the Pakistani militants the repetition of the Jalalabad fiasco in 1989, Khattak said authorities in Pakistan must change its policy.
  • rferl- Afghanistan, The 'Unintended Casualty' Of U.S. Sanctions On Iran
    As the United States reinstates crippling economic sanctions on Iran, Washington's ally in the region, Afghanistan, could become collateral damage. A first wave of U.S. sanctions against Iran that had been eased under a 2015 nuclear deal went back into effect on August 7, targeting the country's economy. But Washington's censures of Tehran will also hurt Afghanistan, which has forged increasingly strong economic links with its western neighbor.
  • Reuters- Afghan Taliban considering Eid holiday ceasefire
    The Taliban are considering announcing a ceasefire during next week’s Eid holiday, despite heavy fighting seen over recent days in the central Afghan city of Ghazni, two senior Taliban officials said. They said no decision had been taken but senior leaders would meet either on Tuesday evening or Wednesday to discuss the option, which was being pushed by some Muslim states and other parties with good relations to the movement.
  • KP- Afghan forces foil bomb explosions in two different parts of Kabul
    The Afghan security forces have foiled two explosions in two different parts of capital Kabul as the anti-government armed militants are attempting to increase attacks in key provinces and cities of the country. The Criminal Investigation Department said Tuesday that an improvised explosive device was discovered from Deh Mazang area of the city close to Park Shahr.
  • Stripes- Battle for Ghazni ebbs as Taliban capture base in northern Afghanistan
    The U.S. military appears to have ended its bombing campaign in the embattled city of Ghazni, which was the scene of heavy fighting after the Taliban tried to storm it on Friday. An Afghan-led clearing operation to drive the last remaining insurgents from the city, located about 100 miles southwest of Kabul, was underway on Tuesday evening, but no U.S. air support had been needed for the first time since fighting started on Friday, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement.
  • Reuters- Afghan forces say regaining control of much of besieged city
    After five days of fighting, Ghazni, a strategically vital center two hours from Kabul on the main highway between the capital and southern Afghanistan was a city of burned-out buildings and vehicles with bodies lying in the streets. Local officials had been warning for months that the Taliban’s growing control over surrounding districts had left Ghazni vulnerable to attack and President Ashraf Ghani faced bitter accusations over the failure to protect the city.

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.

 

Cookies
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.