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inmemoriam

There were 151 U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan in 2008.

British troops suffered 50 deaths

Canadian troops 28.

Other countries in the 41-nation coalition lost 56 troops combined.


Afghan police again suffered gravely in the fight against Taliban and other insurgents. At least 850 Afghan police were killed over the last year, according to data compiled by The Associated Press.

This blog will month by month record UK fatalities on operations and will carry the remembrances of the friends of the fallen. It is a matter of great sadness that the UK force in Afghanistan suffered a loss on the last day of the old year and the first day of the new year.

30 January

CORPORAL DANIEL 'DANNY' NIELD

S COMPANY, FIRST BATTALION, THE RIFLES

Attached to 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery)

Corporal Daniel 'Danny' Nield was killed as a result of an explosion,

believed to have been a Rocket Propelled Grenade, in a contact with

enemy forces during a deliberate operation north of Musa Qaleh in

Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Friday 30 January 2009. He was deployed

as the Forward Air Controller (FAC) in a Fire Support Team (FST) of 29

Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. They were attached to an Operational

Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) from his own unit - 1st Battalion The

Rifles - working alongside the troops of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Corporal Nield was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire on 15 March 1977.

Educated at Pittville School in Cheltenham, he joined the Army Cadets at

the age of 13. On 2 September 1993 he enlisted at the Cheltenham Army

Careers Office joining the Gloucestershire Regiment, who later became

the Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW).

Corporal Nield completed a Potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer

(NCO) Cadre in December 2000 and his Mortar NCO Standard Course in

December a year later. Corporal Nield surprised his colleagues by

leaving the Army in April 2004 but rejoined in July 2006. After the

founding of The Rifles he then went on to pass the demanding Forward Air

Controllers' Course in April 2007.

Corporal Nield's calm West Country exterior masked the steely

professionalism of a true warrior who relished his time spent on

operations. Having served on operations in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and

Kosovo, he had already completed a previous tour of Afghanistan.

Corporal Nield had also taken part in exercises with his Regiment across

the globe including Arizona, Botswana, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Kenya and

Kuwait.

Corporal Nield deployed in September 2008 for Operation Herrick 9 as

part of an FST where his role was to control fast jets and attack

helicopters in direct support of UK and Afghan Forces on the ground.

This was his second tour in this role and was clearly a job that he

loved. His experience, dedication and unwavering enthusiasm were an

inspiration to all. He consistently provided clear and concise advice

to his ground commanders and used his initiative to bring in air

support, frequently in circumstances of extreme pressure and danger, to

have a decisive effect on the enemy. As such he was largely responsible

for the safe return of many of his UK and Afghan colleagues over the

tour.

Corporal Nield was a personable, reliable and loyal team member. His

sense of humour was legendary across the Regiment and he would seldom

miss an opportunity to poke fun at his mates. As an FAC within an

artillery-dominated Team, Corporal Nield would often be heard winding up

his colleagues with the phrase, "Guns for show, jets for a pro!" for

which they seldom had a repost! Blessed with a nickname unspeakable in

polite company, he would habitually introduce himself as such much to

the entertainment of his colleagues.

Corporal Nield will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege to

serve with him from his FST, the Riflemen of S Company OMLT as well as

the wider regiment of The Rifles. However, it is his parents Peter and

Sheila, sisters Emily and Kimberley, and brother Anthony who will feel

his loss the greatest and our thoughts and prayers go out to them all as

we mourn the passing of a great Rifleman who died living the life that

he loved.

"Once a Rifleman, always a Rifleman"

SWIFT AND BOLD

Lieutenant Colonel Joe Cavanagh, Commanding Officer, 1 RIFLES, said:

"It was with great sorrow that the 1 RIFLES Battle Group learned of the

death in combat, north of Musa Qaleh on 30 January 2009 of Corporal

Daniel 'Danny' Nield. He was a popular Rifleman, full of character and

at the top of his profession; revelling in the qualifications and

experience in battle-winning skills that always took him to the front of

the battle. I will remember him speaking confidently, convincingly, and

provocatively - and with humour - about such matters from the seat of a

borrowed quad bike in the sunshine in his dusty District Centre during a

short but well-earned break between tasks. His enthusiasm for his

profession was as memorable as his 'Zap' moustache and he was full of

ideas on how new talent should be identified and new techniques

developed. He was a brave man doing vital work; we are lucky to have

known and served with him, and poorer now he has died."

Major Nick King, Officer Commanding S Company OMLT, 1 RIFLES, said :

"Corporal Danny Nield was a highly professional member of a small team

operating under often extremely stressful circumstances here in

Afghanistan. Cool under fire, he intuitively provided timely advice and

effective air support having a decisive impact on the enemy and helping

extract his colleagues from tight situations on more than one occasion.

Corporal Nield thrived in the small team environment where his sense of

humour was most devastating! A proud and reliable Rifleman, he will be

sorely missed by all that had the pleasure of knowing him."

WO1(RSM) Rod Poulter MC, said : "Cpl Danny Nield was one of the great characters in our Regimental Family. I had the pleasure of serving alongside him in the 1st

Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment, commanding him in Cyprus with

the then 1 RGBW, and more recently as a fellow Rifleman in the 1st

Battalion The Rifles. Danny Nield was a very proud West Country soldier

and an avid Gloucester RFC fan. Hugely sociable, Danny Nield believed

in working hard and playing harder. Wherever he went he made his mark

and inevitably made yet more friends in the process. His death will be

felt by his many fellow Riflemen across all seven Battalions of The

Rifles. Danny you will be sorely missed but we will never forget you."

[Note: It is a tradition in The Rifles that Serjeant is spelt with a 'J' ]

Company Serjeant Major Shaun Aston, S Company 1 RIFLES, said "Danny Nield was a strong, confident NCO who loved the work he was involved in. He never stopped encouraging the young Riflemen around him passing on all his years of experience. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fellow Riflemen. Sadly missed but never forgotten."

WO2 Mark Getley said "Corporal Danny Nield was the ever-professional soldier who loved his job. He had the utmost respect for his friends and colleagues (although

he would never dare say so!) and will be sadly missed but never forgotten."

Acting Serjeant Danny Ashton said : "Danny Nield was born and bred in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. He loved the Army and was passionate about his job. Always ready for a good night out, Danny Nield was gifted with a cracking sense of humour.

He was very proud of his Gloucestershire roots and watching Gloucester

rugby team was dear to his heart. He will be greatly missed by his many

friends from across the Regiment."

Rifleman Popcynski, S Company 1 RIFLES said : "Danny Nield was a true professional whose dedication and natural soldiering ability allowed him to fulfil the demanding role of an FAC in Afghanistan to an excellent level achieving real and substantial

results. A good friend and fellow Rifleman, he will be greatly missed by his many friends and family alike."

Rifleman Christopher Sharpe, S Company 1 RIFLES, said : "My thoughts of Danny are of his love for Gloucestershire, and Strongbow cider. He was a much loved member of the Mortar Platoon and will be missed greatly. It has been an honour to have known such a character of the Regiment and my heart felt condolences go to his family and the many people who knew him."

17 January

ACTING CORPORAL RICHARD 'ROBBO' ROBINS

OMLT 7, E COMPANY, FIRST BATTALION THE RIFLES (E Coy 1 RIFLES)

Acting Corporal Richard 'Robbo' Robinson was killed in action during an ambush North of Sangin on Saturday 17th January 2009. He was on patrol with his Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) platoon with whom he had been operating since September 2008.

Corporal Robinson was born on 4th August 1987 and grew up in Saltash, Cornwall. He enlisted into the Army on 18th December 2003 attending the Army Foundation College in Harrogate in 2004 and completing his Combat Infantryman's course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick in January 2005 where he was posted to 'C' Company, The First Battalion, The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. He served with C Company as a Private in Iraq from April to November 2006.

He completed his Potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Cadre in early 2007. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in November 2007 and posted to the Reconnaissance Platoon of 'S' Company, 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES). He soon completed the arduous Sniper Course during the Battalion's jungle training exercise to Belize, Central America in the early part of 2008.

Corporal Robinson joined E Company, 1 RIFLES, in April 2008 as a Sniper, Mentor, and Section Second-in-Command. Having completed the Pre-Deployment Training that summer, he deployed with E Company to Sangin in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 9 at the end of September. He was twenty one years old.

Corporal Robinson was a key team player in an operating environment where the individual skills of each and every member of the team have a decisive effect on the outcome of every situation. With his reconnaissance and Sniper skills, and his sense of professional pride he provided those decisive effects, and did so with sensibility, determination, and a ready sense of humour. He was quiet and conscientious, keeping his eye on the detail and getting on with his daily tasks efficiently and without great fuss or search for recognition.

As a Mentor to the Afghan National Army, he brought all his professional experience to bear in a working environment where he was required to operate two ranks higher than his current rank. He received the acting rank of full Corporal for this tour, in recognition of the extra responsibilities and pressures of working at the Afghan Company level of operations in the isolated and austere environment of the deployed Afghan Patrol Bases. He took all this in his stride, dealing with each challenge as it came and ensuring that all his own Riflemen were prepared and administered for the myriad of often unpredictable tasks that the Operational Mentoring mission entailed.

His loss to the small and tight knit team of which he was an integral part will be felt heavily, but it is his family and friends, both inside and outside the Regiment who will mourn his tragic passing; our thoughts are with his brother Matthew, serving in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, sister Sophie, and his father Kenneth and mother Janet.

"Once a Rifleman, always a Rifleman"

"SWIFT AND BOLD"

Lieutenant Colonel Joe Cavanagh, Commanding Officer, 1 RIFLES said "For so many friends across the Battalion and outside the Army, and most acutely for his friends and family, Corporal Richard 'Robbo' Robinson's death in action in Afghanistan will bring great sorrow. He was a popular, talented man and will be badly missed. Highly qualified and richly experienced for one of his vintage, he was credible and confident as an Acting Corporal and was already showing potential well beyond that. How proud we are of this courageous young man; he had achieved great things and yesterday he gave his all with his team around him. We are lucky to have served alongside him."

Major Jonathan (Jonny) Kitson, Officer Commanding E Company, 1 RIFLES said "Corporal Robinson was a quiet and discerning character, who combined a calm approach to his everyday tasks, with a robust and strong work ethic that ensured that he and his men were prepared for all the eventualities thrown at him in this most challenging of operating environments. He was mature beyond his years, having gained valuable experience in Iraq, which he used to good effect during both the pre-deployment phase and once deployed, to educate and lead those under his command in a comprehensively assured and easy going manner. Having completed the Battalion's gruelling sniper cadre last year, he delivered this individualistic and specialist skill to the highest level of competence, as well as keeping his team informed, administered and consistently well led at the same time. He had the sort of potential which his gratifying to see in a young and committed Rifleman: resourceful, quick thinking, caring and ready to help others before himself, he epitomised the ethos of his Regiment as a junior commander and was set for a successful career. He had a ready sense of humour (such is the lot of a Newcastle United fan) and I rarely saw him without a smile on his face, or firing out the banter in the Patrol Bases or in the FOB (Forward Operating Base). The loss of such a talented, resourceful and well liked individual is a blow to the Company, and his team in particular, but it will be felt most deeply by his family and I can only express the Company's deepest condolences to them; you are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time."

Lieutenant Lyndon Pinches Team Commander OMLT 7, said "Corporal Robinson had been part of OMLT 7 from the very beginning and was welcomed into the team with open arms. Those who already knew him were pleased to have his skills and experience added to the team. He had already served in Iraq and trained in both the Recce and Sniper Platoons. Those who did not yet know him were soon to realise what he would bring to the party. He was incredibly level headed and calm in all circumstances, even when situations were at their most stressful on operations. He was a proud Rifleman and JNCO and had already proved his potential to go a long way in his career by doing the job of a Serjeant for the team in Afghanistan.

"Corporal Robinson was an asset that any team would be proud to have. His skills as a sniper and ability to achieve tasks well beyond his pay scale were more than evident in the many months he has served with the team and in his service with the Battalion. His likeable nature and good humour never failed to raise morale consistently, even when all those around him were in low spirits. On behalf of the team we are all so proud to have served and fought alongside him."

Warrant Officer Second Class (WO2) Paul Goldsmith, Company Serjeant Major E Company said "Robbo had been a member of E Coy 1 RIFLES right from the beginning when the Company was first established in April 2008. Coming from the Sniper Platoon he brought with him a wealth of experience and professionalism that helped to make the Company what it is today. Robbo, a quiet guy by nature, commanded respect from others by his ability and above all a cool head when in difficult situations, which was demonstrated on numerous occasions when out on patrol. He leaves a large void in the Company and an even larger one within his team which will not be easy to fill, if at all. On a personal note, it has been an honour and privilege to serve alongside Robbo and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends."

Acting Serjeant Simon Lake, Second in Command OMLT 7 said "Corporal Robinson, AKA Robbo, joined the "Devon and Dorsets" in March 2004 where he was moved into my room - he was only 17. Robbo was such a cool minded guy and an excellent soldier. We went to Iraq together in April 2006 and were then placed together in the same team for this Afghanistan tour where he brought so much experience to the team being Recce and Sniper qualified. He made my job so much easier; when I needed something doing Robbo was always ready and would have it squared away within minutes. It was a great honour to serve with such a great Rifleman, a legend in my eyes. But it was also a great honour to be his friend, a close friend, someone who I will never forget. It is a great loss to me. I know that his family will miss him the most and my thoughts go out to them."

Serjeant Sean Ridler, Second in Command Sniper Platoon, 1 RIFLES said "Corporal Richard Robinson, known as Robbo to all within the Sniper Platoon, was a strong member of the Platoon and was looked up to by all his subordinates and could be relied upon by his commanders to carry out any task given. He will be missed within the tightly structured community of the Platoon, especially his strength in the bad times, during and after the sniper cadre. He could always laugh at the bad things and bring good away. Robbo was a good soldier but most of all a great friend to have; the Platoon will be a different place as he will solemnly be missed by all."

14 January

CAPTAIN TOM SAWYER AND CORPORAL DANNY WINTER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN

The Ministry of Defence confirmed on 16 January that an investigation is underway into a suspected friendly fire incident in Helmand province on Wednesday 14 January in which Captain Tom Sawyer (Royal Artillery) and Corporal Danny Winter (Royal Marines) were killed. Two other members of their fire support team were injured in the explosion. The operation, aimed at clearing enemy forces from 'Green Zone' near Gereshk, involved around 100 NATO forces from Denmark and the United Kingdom.

Prior to the incident, NATO forces operating under cover of darkness and in an area made up of a complex web of buildings, walls, irrigation ditches and farmland carried out a heavy bombardment of an enemy position using a variety of weapons. Such is the nature of such

operations UK forces were working in a challenging environment under constant threat from enemy fire.

A Military Police investigation is now being conducted into the incident which is normal procedure when a fatality occurs. This investigation will take time to conclude since it involves talking to those involved, some of whom are injured, and needs to consider a multitude of technical issues. This also involves visiting the scene of the incident which due to bad weather and the fact that it is in a high threat area will inevitably take time.

CAPTAIN TOM HERBERT JOHN SAWYER

ROYAL ARTILLERY

Captain Tom Sawyer was serving with 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. He was in Helmand province deployed on operations as a Fire Support Team Commander attached to Zulu Company, 45 Commando, Royal Marines.

Capt Sawyer, from Hertfordshire, was born on 20th January 1982. He was educated at Watford Grammar and Rickmansworth schools and, as a teenager, was a cadet with the Air Training Corps in Watford. A keen sportsman with a passion for outdoor pursuits, Tom decided at an early age to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a career in the Armed Forces. Settling on the Army, he was selected for training as an officer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and successfully passed out earning the Queen's Commission as a Second Lieutenant in April 2002.

The next step in his career saw him selected by the Royal Regiment of Artillery for Young Officer training. On completion, he was posted to 32 Regiment Royal Artillery (subsequently 39 Regiment) as a Troop Commander. After this tour, Tom was posted to the Army Training Regiment at Pirbright where his flair for instruction and ability to communicate with all ranks were assets that helped him to excel. His final posting, to 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, came in September 2006, just in time for deployment to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 5.

On Operation HERRICK 5, Capt Sawyer was given command of an Afghanistan National Army outstation with a remit to oversee and facilitate Afghan Army mentoring and training. This responsibility again played to his strengths and he received a Brigade Commander's Commendation for his performance under incredibly testing circumstances. On returning to the UK, he immediately passed the All Arms Commando course and in so doing earned the right to wear the Green Beret of Commando forces. Assigned to 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery based in RM Condor, Arbroath, Capt Sawyer was appointed Battery Training Officer and charged with preparing his unit for its return to Afghanistan in October 2008.

As the training officer, Captain Sawyer organised and delivered a first class pre-deployment training package that ably prepared 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery for operations; the high standards achieved by the men of the Battery since, bear testament to his endeavours.

Robust, fit and ever determined, Captain Sawyer was a keen sportsman who recently organised and led the Regimental Telemark Ski Team to compete at Army level in Austria. Looking to the future and the welfare of the men under his command, he had also planned to take his soldiers adventure training in Cyprus on completion of Op HERRICK 9. Socially, Capt Sawyer was a dynamo of good humour and fun; his company being thoroughly enjoyed by officers and soldiers alike. His intelligent wit and pleasant persona made him approachable by all ranks and one of life's great characters. His death is a huge loss to the men of his Battery, his Regiment, 3 Commando Brigade and the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson Royal Artillery, Commanding Officer, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Captain Tom Sawyer died a hero, doing a job he loved and whilst taking the fight to the enemy in the only way he knew. He was a first-class officer with a natural flair for command and was hugely respected by all his fellow officers and by the soldiers he commanded. He excelled as an instructor and mentor, and the time he took to impart his knowledge and uncompromising professional standards to his Battery will undoubtedly be remembered as one of his greatest gifts. On operations, this selfless legacy, though immeasurable, has undoubtedly helped save the lives of both Afghans and British servicemen alike. He was a very proud and capable Commando Gunner with an exceedingly bright future. He had aspirations to achieve so much more in the military and with the determination and strength of character he possessed, would undoubtedly have achieved his goals.

"Utterly courteous in all that he did, I will forever remember Tom as a gregarious, fun loving, universally popular character with a ready smile and a joke. The great loss I feel as his Commanding Officer is incomparable to that which I know his wife and family will be feeling as a result of his death. My thoughts and prayers are with them all at this tragic time.

Major Jackson Docherty Royal Artillery, Battery Commander, 7(Sphinx) Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Tom Sawyer was the senior Captain in my Battery and also a great friend. He was extremely ambitious and had plans to pursue a career in the Special Forces for which he was well suited and in which he would undoubtedly have succeeded. Receiving the Brigade Commander's Commendation for his performance during his last tour of Afghanistan, he was keen to replicate this performance which he did with courage, honour, and humility, always putting his team's interests before his own. He was passionate about his job and the Battery could ask for no more from him. However, an Adjutant's nightmare, Tom was notorious throughout 45 Commando Group for his shenanigans and his desire to look cool whilst wearing the latest military fashion – if it was different, Tom had it. He also had a knack of getting away with it! He will always be remembered within commando forces and his passing is felt by us all. He has paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others. His wife Katy has lost a wonderful husband and we, in the Battery, have lost a great officer.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his newly wed wife, Katy and his parents at this time."

Captain Sam Hewitt Royal Artillery, Fire Support Team Commander, 26 Regiment, Royal Artillery (attached to 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery) said: "Tom was a true friend, one who no matter the circumstances, would help anyone, often putting himself out so others were not disadvantaged. I am a much better person for having known him. Tom had an enthusiasm for life paired with an overwhelming kindness which always seemed to brighten up a room. He worked hard and possessed a natural ability to lead, gaining respect from the soldiers under his command throughout the Gunners. Tom always worked hard for his men and commanded with style and panache. He lived for his family and friends and died doing the job he loved. He was an officer in every sense of the word with qualities such as honour, selflessness and courage in abundance. The world will be a sadder place without Tom and I will miss him greatly. My deepest condolences are with Tom's wife Katy and his family. Mate, it was a pleasure to have known and served alongside you. You paid the ultimate sacrifice and you will not be forgotten."

Captain Rob Cooper Royal Artillery, Fire Support Team Commander, 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery, 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, said: "Tom was an outstanding officer, an outstanding Fire Supporting Team (FST) Commander and an outstanding husband to Katy. Tom was a true inspiration to me as a friend and those that he served. His devotion to his wife, Katy, was unrivalled and my heart goes out to her and Tom's entire family who he never stopped talking about. You will be sorely missed mate."

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Morris Royal Marines, Commanding Officer 45 Commando Group, said: "The tragic loss of Captain Tom Sawyer has been deeply felt throughout the whole of 45 Commando Group. A stalwart member of 7 Battery and 29 Commando RA, he has served with 45 Commando Group throughout two operational tours to Afghanistan and has lived and worked with us at home in Arbroath and abroad for the last two and a half years – he is truly considered to be one of our own. Over the last year in which I have known Tom, we have had the opportunity to talk often. On every occasion I have been struck by his zest for life, the enthusiasm and commitment that he showed for his profession and his humility and preparedness to listen to advice. He had every quality that could be expected from a Commando Gunner Officer and I have no doubt that he had a very bright future ahead of him. All ranks of 45 Commando Group and, in particular, Zulu Company, join me in sending my very deepest condolences to his wife, Katy, and his close family and friends."

CORPORAL DANNY WINTER

45 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES

Corporal Danny Winter was serving in Helmand province with the Mortar Troop of Zulu Company, 45 Commando, Royal Marines. A specialist Mortar Fire Controller, his role within the Company as the Commander's mortar expert required him to provide intimate mortar support to the front line of the fighting troops. It was whilst operating in this role, ensuring the ranks of Zulu Company were supported, that he was killed.

Corporal Danny Winter, known as Dan, was born near Manchester on 20th June 1980, and lived in Stockport. He joined the Royal Marines in October 1996 and specialised in the mortars heavy weapons branch very early on in his career. Serving with both 40 Commando and 45 Commando he had served operationally in Northern Ireland and in Iraq on Operation TELIC in 2003 where he was involved in the initial aviation assault of Southern Iraq.

After returning from Operation HERRICK in Afghanistan in 2007 he completed command training and his enthusiasm to deploy to Helmand for a second time was testament to his determined attitude. Corporal Winter was an extremely professional and dedicated member of the Unit Mortar Troop and he epitomised its unique ethos. He had a true passion for his specialisation and revelled in the small community of which he became a vital part.

Highly capable and determined, Cpl Winter was also exceptionally laid back and humble. He undertook everything with absolute gusto, whether it was at work, supporting his beloved Manchester United FC, or spending time with his family and partner Amanda, with whom he shared his life. His enthusiasm was infectious as was his smile, which always had a laugh not far behind it. His combination of attributes made him an irreplaceable character to be around. Unselfish and unswervingly loyal to all that knew him, he encompassed all of the qualities of a Royal Marine.

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Morris Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 45 Commando Group, said: "Corporal Danny Winter was an exceptional Royal Marine, Mortarman and Non-Commissioned Officer with a big future ahead of him. Clear thinking and forthright yet loyal, warm-hearted and very approachable, he was hugely influential both within the Mortar Troop but also within Zulu Company where for the last few months he had provided them with staunch fire support and planning advice throughout the many challenges that they have faced in Afghanistan. Brave, committed, extremely determined and operationally experienced he had a gift for giving honest advice and opinion without raising hackles and he was tremendously well respected by all ranks as a result. He was killed right at the forefront of an operation whilst providing the measured and balanced advice to his Commander that had become his trademark. His loss has been deeply felt across the whole of 45 Commando and his ultimate sacrifice will always be remembered. The whole Commando joins me in sending my deepest sympathies to his family and friends."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Kevin Cheeseman, the Company Sergeant Major of Zulu Company, said: "Danny has been Zulu Company's Mortar Fire Controller (MFC) Alpha for over a year and has worked with the Company throughout all pre deployment training, deploying on Operation HERRICK 9 as the Zulu Company MFC Alpha. Danny was always 100 per cent focused on his job and his professional opinion was always welcome and accepted within the Zulu Company Headquarters.

"Danny was a key personality within Zulu Company who all the lads looked up to. He always had time for the lads' questions on Mortar Fire and how best it supported them. He was out on the ground supporting most of the patrols over the last three months and would never pass up any opportunity to go out, even on the smallest of tasks. He discharged his responsibilities with pride and the utmost professionalism. Danny will be sorely missed within Zulu Coy. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and we just want to say that Danny was a true 'Zulu Warrior' who was very proud to serve with Zulu Company, 45 Commando and the Royal Marines. A true Bootneck has been lost."

Captain Olly Denning Royal Marines, Officer Commanding Mortar Troop, said: "Corporal Danny Winter was the epitome of 45 Commando Mortar Troop. He absolutely loved being a part of the Troop and was a part of its very character. He was extremely professional, fit and motivated. With a ready smile he worked hard without ever showing pressure, with a confidence and assuredness that steadied those around him. It was the 'work hard, play hard' rule he took most seriously and could swing from work to full run ashore mode at the blink of an eye. A true great, I will always consider myself lucky to have known Danny Winter."

Colour Sergeant Ross Gunning Royal Marines, Mortar Troop second-in-command, said:

"I considered Dan a true Bootneck from the start; a bloke who worked hard and played even harder. During this time I could see his passion for the job and his total devotion to his mates. Danny would always be the centre of attention on a night out, whether spinning 'dits' (stories) about his experiences on previous operations and exercises or just life in general, which he appeared to know a lot about, or so we thought. He enjoyed karaoke and was often seen with a cigarette and pint in one hand, whilst loosely holding the microphone with the other, and belting out Neil Diamond classics at the top of his voice, often involving everyone else around him to great effect. Danny progressed in his career and became an outstanding Mortar Fire Controller. This was a job that he put his heart and soul into - like his singing - and excelled at. He was one of the best. From all the Mortar lads our thoughts go out to your family during these difficult times. You will never be forgotten."

Sergeant G.T.C. Jones Royal Marines, 45 Commando Mortar Troop senior non-commissioned officer, said: "Corporal Danny Winter was one of the most professional mortar men ever to pick up a set of binoculars and a compass. He was a man's man, who always had time for you and especially his lovely girlfriend Amanda. If things weren't going your way he would be there raising your spirits with a cheeky grin, witty comment and a laugh that was infectious and unique to him. He was always the first one to call you out for a drink down the pub, and he was always the first to need taking home. He was the heart and soul of whatever the lads were doing at any time, and he genuinely believed that he was 'the best looking and hardest man in Arbroath'! Danny had a strong character, was calm under pressure and had the heart of a lion which enabled him to offer advice to friends and family and company commanders. He always led by example and was looked up to by the younger Marines. He was especially well respected in the world of Royal Marines mortars, and he was immensely popular in Arbroath.

"Looking back on his time in 45 Cdo Mortars, it is impossible not to smile at some of the comical exploits he used to get up to. On numerous nights out he would always crack his trade mark dance 'the Van Damme' which he executed with all the grace of Woody, from Toy Story. He was a fanatical Man United fan who never missed a game, and would always be singing Man United songs whether they won or not, even if it did wind everyone up.

"Danny Winter will be deeply missed by his family, and friends. He was a man who would do anything for you. He is a tragic loss to those who knew him closest and he now leaves a huge hole in Mortar Troop. Danny was a legend and an inspiration to all of us in Mortars and I know he would want us all to be strong and crack on. It was an honour to serve beside him and it was a privilege to have worked in the presence of this massive character. Danny Winter, a true Mortar man."

Corporal Mark Jolly Royal Marines, Mortar Troop, Alpha Mortar Fire Controller, said:

"Danny was a good friend, whether teaching other members of the troop how it should be done professionally, or on a run ashore. On most occasions we aspired to be like him whether it be as an MFC, run ashore or as a one man tribute band to Neil Diamond. Danny's wild ways were finally diminished, by the presence of a new passion in his life - Amanda, whom he fell for, head over heels. Amanda appeared to take control of Danny's personal remote control to great effect and they were good for each other. Danny you will be truly missed by all that knew you, and will always remain in our thoughts...and future spoofs!"

Corporal Lee Birkin, 10 Troop Z Company, said: "Danny Winter was an all round good bloke who did all he could to help 10 Troop Zulu understand Mortar support, and how best to use them. He explained on many occasions in his down time how the lads could call for Mortar support if he could not have eyes on their target. He was liked by us all and had time for all us with some great words of wisdom. Above all he was well respected and he will be missed dearly by the lads."

Marine Scott Longden and Members of 4 Section Mortar Troop, said: "Danny Winter was a Bootneck through and through who worked hard and played even harder. This will hit our troop hard because to us he was the face of 45 Mortars and our motto, "MMM", couldn't be more befitting to any other man. My last memory of Danny is walking into the Ship knowing that he would be on his favourite perch by the juke box, playing 'Caravan of Love' for me. Danny will be sorely missed by the men of mortars but certainly not forgotten."

A friend Marine, Sam Laid RM said: All I can say is that words cannot describe the loss of Danny Winter, 'the best looking man in Arbroath', as he would introduce himself. I first met Danny when I joined 45 Commando in 2003. Danny and a couple of other corporals, who know who they are, took me under their wing. I started drinking with them every weekend and leave period in Arbroath til this very day. He was his own person and a totally unique character. A true Bootneck. I could spin lots of dits about Danny ranging from our time fishing together, to waking up in his flat watching him rush about getting ready for work, with red body paint all over from the night before, when had been 'celebrating' Hallowe'en. He never did things by half and I know he will be sadly missed by his closest friends, his family, Arbroath and of course his girlfriend Amanda to whom my thoughts go out to at this time. I'm absolutely gutted, love you brother, God rest your soul and may your memories live on."

Lance Corporal Simpson, Zulu Company, said: "Danny was a nice genuine man and a true gent. He was a key man for Zulu Company, who was respected by all of us for his high standards of professionalism and support he gave at all times. He always had time for the lads and their questions, and for this we had the utmost regard and respect for him. We are gutted he has gone and he will be missed greatly."

11 January

MARINE TRAVIS MACKIN

UNITED KINGDOM LANDING FORCE COMMAND SUPPORT GROUP

Marine Travis Mackin of Communications Squadron, United Kingdom Landing Force Command Support Group (UKLFCSG) was serving as a member of the Security Sector Reform Group on Operation HERRICK 9. He was killed in action in Kajaki, northern Helmand Province on 11 January 2009 during a joint patrol with Victor Company, 45 Commando Group Royal Marines and the Afghan National Security Forces. Victor Company was conducting a deliberate offensive patrol alongside the Afghan National Army to destroy a key Taliban command cell. This cell had been responsible for numerous attacks on both coalition and Afghan National Security Forces in the Kajaki area. Whilst establishing a vital fire-support location to protect his colleagues advancing on a Taliban defensive position, he was tragically killed by an enemy Improvised Explosive Device.

Within Victor Company, Travis Mackin was a member of the specialist team mentoring both the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police in Kajaki. This role found him on many patrols providing training and advice to the Afghan National Security Forces and acting as the vital conduit between them and the Company. He was therefore often at the forefront of operations alongside his Afghan counterparts and was frequently required to guide and lead them into, and out of, hostile situations. It was whilst conducting this crucial role and leading his team from the front in a Company deliberate operation that Marine Mackin was killed. His loss is sorely felt amongst his comrades in 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.

Travis Mackin was born on the 9th December 1986 and had just celebrated his 22nd birthday on operations in Kajaki. He spent his youth growing up in Plymouth before joining the Royal Marines on the 5th of July 2004. His selfless and helpful attitude singled him out for praise throughout the rigours of Commando training.  He served with 45 Commando Royal Marines as a rifleman in Zulu Coy, during which time he deployed on combat operations in Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 5. Zulu Company was involved in some of the fiercest fighting of that deployment, predominantly operating in the southern region of Helmand province.

On his return to the UK he was selected for specialist training and joined the Signals Branch of the Royal Marines. He was noted for his strong performance on the communicators' course and qualified as a Royal Marines Communicator, Class 3 in July 2007. He subsequently joined 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines and served with 3 Commando Brigade's light amphibious raiding unit until April 2008.

A confident marine, he deployed to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 9 looking forward to proving himself in the challenging role of mentoring the Afghan National Police with his comrades in the Security Sector Reform Group; an aspiration which he rapidly and convincingly fulfilled. Already a veteran of this operational theatre in spite of his youth, he was always keen to impart his hard-won knowledge to those less experienced. He had great ambition, and huge potential; his infectious sense of humour and abundance of natural leadership made him an instant hit with the Afghan Security Forces that he mentored and fought alongside. Marine Mackin's family have

strong links with the military and his younger brother Corbin is serving with the 1st Battalion The Rifles, also deployed in Helmand on Op HERRICK 9. The loss of such an incredibly popular and exceptionally loyal member of our band of brothers is a tragedy. The tributes below say it all. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad and tragic time.

Travis was an enthusiastic and able sportsman. He had a passion for skiing and played ice hockey for the Royal Navy. His chosen sports were typical of his personality, full of exuberance and fun. He lived his short life to the maximum. Handsome with bright blue twinkling eyes he was full of stories and fun and his massive sense of humour endeared him to all. In quieter times he liked nothing better than a good book.

Colonel Haydn White, Commanding Officer 539 Assault Squadron and the Armoured Support Group Royal Marines, said: "Marine Travis Mackin was a highly professional soldier with an infectious sense of humour and liked by all that knew him. Whilst serving with 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines he was conscious that the 3 Commando Brigade Afghanistan deployment might pass him by. Not one to miss an opportunity, he constantly requested to join one of the units deploying and received his wish in April 2008, joining UK Landing Force Commando Support Group and subsequently seconded to support Security Sector Reform.

"Wherever he served, Travis was guaranteed to provide of his best and was an accomplished marine and signaller. He always had a real zest for life and those that met him were better for the experience. All of us mourn his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this tragic time."

Lt Col Graeme Armour Royal Marines, Commanding Officer Security Sector Reform Group, said: "Marine Travis Mackin was an archetypal Royal Marine who thoroughly embodied the "work hard - play hard" philosophy of life. He lost his life operating as a Section Commander, mentoring the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in Kajaki, where his professional and selfless efforts had contributed significantly to the provision of security in the area.

"As a Marine performing the role of a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer, Marine Mackin was in his element, using his personable nature and natural authority to gain respect amongst the Afghans, and his experience to help develop their skills. I am in no doubt that he was ready for a Junior Command Course after this tour; his star was certainly on the rise with his abilities proven in the harshest of conditions. He had the prospect of a successful and long career in the Royal Marines stretching before him. His love of life and cheerful, positive attitude were infectious and wherever he went you would find people smiling and laughing. He was a natural

extrovert. The sorrow that is felt throughout the SSR team, 45 Commando and the Task Force as a whole bears testimony to the man who we were all privileged to have known and served with, however briefly. He was a true Commando - he made you laugh - he will be missed."

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Morris Royal Marines, Commanding Officer 45 Commando Group, said: "Whilst Marine Mackin did not deploy to Afghanistan with 45 Commando he has been an integral member of Victor Company Group throughout the last three months at Kajaki. He tragically died whilst operating at the forefront of a Victor Company patrol and he is very much considered as one of our own. His courage, good humour and strong leadership will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues who respected him so much and his loss has been felt very deeply across the whole of 45 Commando."

Major Chris Ordway Royal Marines, Second in Command UKLF CSG, said: "Marine Mackin epitomised the Royal Marine Commando; his quick wit lightened even the darkest of situations. A Signaller by trade, he was rightly demonstrating that he was a Commando first and a Communicator second. An experienced lad, I had the privilege of fighting alongside his Company on Op HERRICK 5. He drew upon the knowledge he had gained on his previous operational tour to lead and inspire his Afghan comrades. The variety of Officers and Men of 3 Commando Brigade who knew him well, from across specialisations in the Corps, shows how easily Marine Mackin touched peoples lives in such a short period. A true brother in arms, his loss is felt acutely across Task Force Helmand and the wider Royal Marines. Our thoughts are with his girlfriend, friends and family at this most distressing time."

Major Nigel Somerville MBE Royal Marines, Officer Commanding Victor Company Group, 45 Commando RM: "A talented, popular and exceptionally courageous individual, Marine Travis Mackin died supporting his colleagues in the face of hostile enemy action. Brave, calm and always measured under enemy fire, Travis was synonymous with leading his team from the very front to support his colleagues around him. This is how he died and how he will always be remembered. The dedication, loyalty and pure courage shown by someone so young is truly humbling. His loss is a tragedy in every way and the Company, Commando and Royal Marines will be a much quieter place without him."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Robert Millman, Company Sergeant Major Victor Company: "Marine Travis Mackin was a true Marine; his sense of humour intoxicated all around him, and even when put in extreme situations, he could lighten the moment with a practical joke. He even arranged for Santa Claus to visit his Sergeant Major on Christmas Eve, a feat still unsurpassed by others - he will be in my good books forever. He was an inspiration to all young Royal Marines in the way he conducted himself on Operations, and at home. He will be sorely missed by all the Men of Victor Company Group and throughout the wider Royal Marines. The thoughts of all the men of Victor Company are with his family at this time of extreme grief."

Sergeant Lee Collins, Security Sector Reform Group, IC OCC-D Kajaki: "They broke the mould when they made Travis. His energy and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds; he was the biggest bag of morale I have ever known in the Corps, always smiling, always laughing. Always looking for a new pet, Travis befriended cats, dogs, snakes, spiders and was raising two chickens in the FOB (Forward Operating Base). Travis was always willing to go further, carry more, do his bit and then a bit more. He was a completely professional Marine who would have gone far if he had been given the chance, the example he set would have made him an excellent Junior NCO. He died doing the job he loved. Travis always carried a Commando Dagger on his webbing, he always upheld the qualities of a Commando and deserved to wear it with great pride. The Corps will be a much quieter place without him. Our thoughts are with his family and his brothers and sister."

Corporal 'Adz' Burke: "Travis was a true mate and a great Royal Marine. If there was a joke to be made or a trick to be played, it was Travis. He always led from the front in the lead section and was never afraid to engage the enemy, with his offensive spirit being second to none. You could always rely on him to carry more kit than the next man with his sense of honour shining through. He died doing the job he loved and the job he was brilliant at. He always spoke about his family in a positive way, with always wanting to out-do his brother in the Army. Travis you will be missed my mate and don't worry we'll look after the chickens pal!"

Marine Tom Jeffcote, Security Sector Reform Group, OCC-D Garmsir: "Before deploying to Afghanistan Travis went into the Sergeant Major's office and asked to be sent to the "most dangerous place in Afghan". So they did. And I know he loved every minute of it, being out here doing the job he loved. He used to say he was destined to be the Corps RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) one day, a quote laughed at by his mates, but they knew it to be true. Out of work, Travis was a great lad who liked to get on the sauce, and would often drag me with him to the coldest beaches in Plymouth to go spear fishing. Even when sober he couldn't hit a barn door, but it never dampened his spirits. I think I speak for everyone who knew him when I say Travis was a 'hoofing' bloke and an excellent soldier and he will be massively missed by all of us. Both mine and his colleagues' thoughts are with his family at this time as they try to come to terms with this tragic loss."

1 January

SERJEANT CHRIS READ

6th BATTALION THE RIFLES (6 RIFLES)

Serjeant Reed was killed in action in the Garmsir District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 1st January 2009. Serjeant Reed was attached to C Company of the 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES) Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) Battle Group and was Second in Command of his team of 8 Riflemen working alongside their Afghan National Army (ANA) counterparts. The OMLTs assist and teach the ANA in all aspects of military operations. Serjeant Reed was killed by an improvised explosive device whilst conducting a vehicle patrol alongside the ANA in the desert of Helmand.

Serjeant Chris Reed was a Territorial Army (TA) soldier from Plymouth, who in his civilian career built luxury super-yachts. Although only 25 years of age, he was a highly experienced Territorial soldier, having joined the Rifle Volunteers in his beloved Plymouth in 2001. He completed a busy and testing operational tour of Iraq with the Battalion in 2005. In early 2008 he passed the tough and demanding Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course at the Infantry Battle School in Brecon, earning praise from the instructing staff for his ability and obvious leadership skills. He was an incredibly capable, intelligent and loyal Rifleman who was both popular and very well respected by all those who served alongside him. As a TA volunteer, or S.W.A.T. soldier ('Some Weekends And Tuesdays') as Reedy would put it, he dedicated much of his spare time to the Army getting involved where and whenever he could, always with a beaming smile on his face. He first volunteered to deploy to the Falkland Islands and quickly formed a very tight bond with his fellow Riflemen, and his many qualities became abundantly clear to his superiors.

The Regimental Serjeant Major for 1 RIFLES said after his first meeting with "Reedy" that it would be his "main effort to persuade him to become a full time Rifleman in my Battalion", a real testament to his character and competence.

He had made a strong impression on the tour dealing with the challenges he and his team faced with energy and humour. During a recent fire fight, his Team Commander and three ANA soldiers were injured by shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade blast. Without pause, Chris took control of the situation, overseeing the evacuation of the casualties and then continuing with the patrol. His Company Commander, Major Andy Watkins said of him, "Serjeant Chris Reed was one of those individuals who saw the best in everything and this outlook was infectious. His team was richer for him." His relaxed but professional manner never failed to bring out the best qualities in those around him. He took the time to form an excellent working relationship with his ANA colleagues; one of his peers Serjeant Leon Upton noted, "Reedy was conscientious and enthusiastic, taking the time to understand what made the Afghan soldier tick and they really responded to him as a result."

"Reedy" was born and bred in Plymouth and could always be heard talking about home, "The Muff", with many of the Riflemen he had grown up with. Serjeant Chris Reed was due to marry his fiancée Heather on return from Afghanistan and the number of "Blueys" passing through the post bag between Reedy and Heather was a constant source of wonder to his fellow Riflemen. He will be sorely missed by all members of The Rifles, especially the 1st and 6th Battalions, and his team. Our thoughts are with all those who were close to him and whom he left behind.

Once a Rifleman always a Rifleman

Lieutenant Colonel Joe Cavanagh, Commanding Officer OMLT (1 RIFLES) Battlegroup said:

"Serjeant Chris Reed was one of a very few 6 RIFLES Riflemen serving alongside his 1 RIFLES colleagues in the demanding OMLT role. That he was so successful is testament to his notable talent and dedication. Chris was assured in his dealings with the Afghan National Army – deftly applying the wider skills and experience he picked up in his civilian career – and also a great leader of his Riflemen in the most dangerous of circumstances. He was much admired for his professionalism and enthusiasm. On our most recent visit to his Patrol Base the Regimental Serjeant Major and I were greeted by Chris warmly before being treated to a confident, perceptive, incisive and memorable brief of his OMLT team's experiences and requirements – typical of the man. He represented and commanded his team of Riflemen superbly; we are all very proud to have served alongside him."

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Mereweather, Commanding Officer 6 RIFLES said: The death of Serjeant Christopher "Reedy" Reed is a hammer blow to the Battalion. He was a talented, committed and highly professional Non Commissioned Officer who engendered trust and respect from all who came into contact with him. I regarded him as one of my very best Section Commanders. He was undoubtedly a Company Serjeant Major of the future.

I last spoke with him during pre deployment training but my particular memory is visiting the Platoon Sergeant's Course on which he was a student in February this year. It was typical Welsh winter weather: cold, windy and very wet. Reedy's platoon was hidden in a wood and he appeared from the gloom, big smile lighting up his blackened face. Ever cheerful and enthusiastic despite being cold, tired and under pressure to produce a patrol plan, we discussed how he was doing and what the future might hold for him and the Battalion.

Once mobilised I was not surprised to learn that he had been selected to join one of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams with the 1st Battalion. His competence, previous military experience and natural easy going authority made him an obvious choice. A natural leader he relished the opportunity to train and mentor his Afghan Army colleagues.

A wonderful West Country soldier - calm, modest, easy going but with a sense of purpose and obvious steel, he will be greatly missed. All ranks of the 6th Battalion are mourning the loss of a brother Rifleman.

Major Paul Miller OC Corunna Company, 6 RIFLES said : I did not know Christopher Reed but I did know Serjeant Reed. The ever professional Rifleman, it was his dedication to the Territorial Army, his 'can do' attitude, the everlasting smile and his loyalty to all those around him that he will be remembered for by all of Corunna Company. Throughout the company's Pre-deployment Training it was the high standards that the instructor Serjeant Reed expected and extracted from the riflemen that prepared Corunna Company so well for its up and coming operational tour; we will forever be in his debt. Ever thinking of his loved ones our thoughts are with his family and fiancée. Reedy we will all miss you.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Rod Poulter MC, Regimental Serjeant Major 1 RIFLES:

"Serjeant Chris Reed was a charismatic, diligent Senior Non Commissioned Officer who always put the Riflemen's welfare before his own. Chris knew his team inside and out, not only as soldiers, he knew them as men. He displayed great, natural leadership – something obvious to me when I visited him recently in his Patrol Base in Garmsir; his team had the utmost confidence in him – just as I did. To say that he had a bright future is an understatement. Once a Rifleman, always a Rifleman. He will be remembered."

Rifleman Haron Onderi, serving in C Coy 1 RIFLES:

"For the days I have worked with "Reedy", I have come to know him as a top bloke. A Non Commissioned Officer who is committed and works for everyone in the same way: right from the lowest Rifleman to the highest. Reedy, a kind bloke who is ever smiling made sure everybody else was on his list before himself. His leadership qualities were outstanding and this was clearly shown by him whilst fighting the Taliban, when the Boss had to leave ground because of his injuries, he took over. A boat maker by profession, he kept on saying how he loved both his civvy job and the Army as well."

Rifleman Marc Luscombe, 6 RIFLES said : Since the time I first walked through the doors of Millbay TA Centre in Plymouth and Chris Reed (then Lance Corporal) was on his tour of Iraq, he had already built up a reputation as a knowledgeable, capable and professional soldier. He was a true 'Plymothian' putting in long hours with his civilian employment in the dockyard and then volunteering many hours preparing training for his TA platoon. When it came to pre-deployment training for Op HERRICK 9, Reedy (now Serjeant) carried on his fearsome reputation and because of his exceptional ability was chosen for attachment to the 1 RIFLES OMLT. Although after his attachment our paths were not to cross again I understand that Sjt Reed remained faultless at his work. A true soldier; a true friend. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Rifleman Andrew Pooley, 6 RIFLES said : Cheers mate! You were an inspiration to us all. Your drive, enthusiasm and humour for everything you tackled never failed to amaze me. All of us at Plymouth will strive to maintain the high standards you set us and maintained yourself, with such effortless charisma. You were the glue that held us all together and will always be in my thoughts. Take it easy Number One....!

Colour Serjeant Nicholas Beresford, 6 RIFLES said : I will always remember Chris as the most dependable, cheerful, enthusiastic, friendly, and professional man I have ever had the fortune to call my friend. He will be missed as a soldier by all those who were lucky enough to serve with him and as a friend lucky enough to laugh with him. See you again Chris!

Rifleman Warren James, 6 RIFLES said : I will always consider myself fortunate to have worked with Chris. Never before have I met anyone with the same level of professionalism, knowledge and astute sense of humour that Chris displayed. The world will be a much quieter and sadder place without him. Best of luck mate, we'll miss you.

WO2 Deano Whitmarsh, 6 RIFLES said : I first got to know Chris during build-up-training. He was an extremely popular and professional soldier with a great sense of humour, admired by everyone, always friendly and helpful.

Rifleman Alexander Regan, 6 RIFLES said : 'Reedy' was one of the warmest and kindest men I have met and the most professional soldier I have seen. He will be greatly missed.

Lance Corporal Kevin (Lucky) Luckett, 6 RIFLES said: Chris was a good friend, a superb soldier and an example to others. I had some good laughs and jokes throughout training for Operation HERRICK. Chris loved his job; it is a big shame that he is no longer with us. It is a huge blow for those of us remaining as we have lost a friend and successful member of our team. It is the worst thing for any family to go through. My thoughts go out to them. I will miss you Chris.

Rifleman Joseph Petrie, 6 RIFLES said: Chris was a great guy who had something special about him that everyone wanted to be a part of. He shone in every aspect of his life, both in the TA and in Civvy life. He was a good friend to everyone. Our hearts go out to his family. He will be deeply missed.

Lance Corporal Vaughan Condron, Riflemen Graham Allen and Adam Bugden, 6 RIFLES said:

Chris was beloved and respected by all who had the opportunity to work with him. He was universally known throughout the Battalion and beyond. Always keen and at his most professional, he brought out the best in those around him. He was not only a capable soldier but an irreplaceable friend both within the Army he loved and to his family and work friends. To those at 'D' Company his passing is a loss which will hit hard and will be difficult to get over. It is the utmost privilege of those left behind to have served with one of the Army's finest NCOs.

Rifleman David Massey, 6 RIFLES said : There aren't enough words to describe Chris. Knowing him as a friend and colleague was a privilege to all who knew him. He was honest, down to earth and always there when you needed him, whether for help, advice or just a chat. His experience, knowledge and professionalism always astounded me for such a young guy. Full of life and always up for a beer with the lads at the end of a day's work. I can honestly say on behalf of all who knew him that he will be missed but never forgotten.

Corporal Tony Friday, 6 RIFLES said : Corporal Chris Reed was a good strong soldier, a very good leader to his men. Always cheerful and willing to help, Chris was admired by all who knew him and inspired confidence. It was a pleasure to have known him and to call him a friend. Chris died doing the job he loved.

Corporal Barry Crane, 6 RIFLES said : I have known Chris for several years and classed him as a true friend and a good mate. I will truly miss him and remember the laughs and jokes we had together always.

Rifleman George Coffin, 6 RIFLES said : Well, all I can say about Chris is he was one in a million. He would take time out to just say 'hello', just to check if you were OK. He will be sadly missed. He was a bloody good bloke and a top soldier.

Rifleman Charles Addison, 6 RIFLES said : Chris was utterly professional as a soldier, but he was also good natured and down to earth. He would tell me off regularly for calling him 'Corporal'.... insisting that we knew him as Chris; as always, he did this with a smile. Chris always led by example, you would find him sweeping out the locker room or doing other tasks that some seniors would see as menial. I will always remember him as a man quick to laugh and smile who would always go the extra mile so that you did not have to... Chris, you will NEVER be forgotten.

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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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