Sunday, 18 February 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

Private Robert Laws
2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment

Private Robert Laws, aged 18, joined 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) [2 MERCIAN] during Op HERRICK 10. His basic training started at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, which prepares young men for the rigours of the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. After completing the Combat Infantryman's Course in March of this year he passed off the square at Catterick and deployed to Helmand province to join B Company.

Known to friends as Robbie, Private Laws was killed alongside his mates in B Company while they were operating under command of The Light Dragoons Battle Group during Operation PANCHAI PALANG.


Private Laws, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, was a popular member of his platoon during training and achieved 'Best Shot' on the Light Machine Gun. When Robbie arrived at 2 MERCIAN he quickly became known for his mischievous sense of humour and a cheeky wit which endeared him well to his Platoon Sergeant.

To undertake basic training and be on the front line in Afghanistan within a year is a tremendous undertaking, especially for someone who is 18 years old. Private Laws rose to this challenge by embracing all the best qualities of being a soldier: ability to adapt and learn; strength of character; and determination.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Banton, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), said:

"Robbie only joined 2 MERCIAN (Worcesters and Foresters) a very short time ago but had already begun to make his mark. He was excited and eager to deploy to Afghanistan and this only a few days after his 18th birthday.

"He was a warm and cheerful young man who mucked in when there was work to be done and quickly made friends. Robbie's falling has taken a good soldier from us; a man who was not afraid to move forward, endure hardship, and he had the courage to fight the enemy alongside his brothers.

"Robbie died alongside his mates in B Company, 2 MERCIAN, and his death has rocked them - they will hold him in their hearts as they fight on. The entire regiment's prayers are with Robbie's family who are devastated by his loss."

Lieutenant Colonel Gus Fair, Commanding Officer, The Light Dragoons Battle Group, said:

"Private Laws had only been in the Battle Group a short time, but had already made an impression on his company as a bright, keen and enthusiastic soldier. He died going forward, taking the fight to the enemy and helping to free the local population from the tyranny of the insurgents. His loss is felt deeply through the whole Battle Group, and we will ensure that he is not forgotten."

Sergeant Major Paul Muckle, the B Company Sergeant Major, said:

"Private Robbie Laws joined B Company on the front line south of Garmsir, a town in Helmand province. From the outset he settled well into the platoon and became known for his mischievous sense of humour. Robbie showed great potential during his short time with B Company. My thoughts go out to his family and friends at this very sad and difficult time."

Major Richard Johnson, Officer Commanding Anzio Company, Infantry Training Centre Catterick, said:

"Private Laws developed noticeably throughout his time with Anzio Company. Although initially of a quiet nature he became popular and influential with his platoon as his ability developed. Excelling in shooting for a soldier of a slight build, he was commended for achieving the award of 'Best Shot' on the Light Machine Gun.

"Robbie used to make the section laugh; whether it was him sleeping all the time, his giddy sense of humour or his random taste in music."

Private Daniel Eaglesfield, fellow MERCIAN soldier from battalion and recruit training, said:

"Private Robert 'Robbie' Laws and I both joined the 2 MERCIAN after completing training at Army Training Regiment, Harrogate, and the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. We deployed on Op HERRICK 10 on 11th May both not knowing quite what to expect. Robbie enjoyed his snooker and swimming.

"We used to talk a lot about our girlfriends back at home and how much we loved them; he was planning to take his girlfriend to Paris when the tour was over.

"Robbie was like a brother to me and we always looked out for each other, we shared many stories and laughter together. I will never forget the smile he always had on his face. Robbie, you were a pleasure to train and work alongside and I am proud to say you were my friend. My heart goes out to your family, friends and that beautiful girlfriend of yours. May you rest in peace Robert Laws."

Private Jacob Cherry, fellow MERCIAN soldier and friend from training, said:

"I first met Robbie when we were both at Army Foundation College, Harrogate. Our friendship grew even closer when we found out we were going to the same regiment and then the same battalion.

"Robbie was a great person to be around and certainly one of a kind. As we progressed through training we ended up in the same section and the same room. In the ten weeks we spent together there was some easy times and some hard times, but we overcame them. Robbie used to make the section laugh; whether it was him sleeping all the time, his giddy sense of humour or his random taste in music.

"As our time finished at Catterick we moved on to join the battalion. Robert and I, together with another close friend Daniel, bonded as three in a huge way. We had some fun times and we were good mates and he will be deeply missed. I send my deepest sympathies to his family and friends at home. I am very sorry."

Trooper Curtis Clifton, a childhood friend serving with The Light Dragoons, said:

"I remember when Robbie was seven years old. He was stood in the school playground by himself, a small shy lad reading a book. We became very good friends. We did everything together. We decided to join our local swimming team at the age of 13 and from then on you could see that he was a talented swimmer.

"At the age of 16 we both went to the Army Foundation Centre in Harrogate and went on a trip to Malta with the army swimming team. My best memory of him has to be when we both brought Hallowe'en masks and went around Sliema in Malta asking people for pictures with them. Robbie was a true friend. He would always put his family and friends before himself even if that meant him going without or getting himself into trouble."

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Latest from icasualties.org

  • WaPo- Pentagon watchdog reports little progress in Afghanistan despite Trump administration’s new approach
    The Pentagon watchdog suggested Friday that top U.S. officials overstated progress late last year when they said the tide had begun to turn in favor of U.S.-backed forces in Afghanistan, months after the Trump administration unveiled its new strategy against the Taliban. The Department of Defense Inspector General released a report Friday saying that “no significant progress” had been made in 2017 toward Afghan authorities’ stated goal of bringing 80 percent of the country’s population under government control amid a Taliban insurgency.
  • Bloomberg- Afghanistan Rejects Surprise Taliban Peace Outreach to U.S.
    Afghanistan’s government rejected a surprise Taliban overture for peace talks with the U.S., insisting the insurgent group that controls or contests nearly half the country needs to cease fighting first. In an unexpected statement on Wednesday, the Taliban reached out to the American people asking them to pressure President Donald Trump and “war-mongering” congressmen to end the near 17-year-old “occupation.” Those words were met with disbelief in Kabul after the group claimed responsibility for attacks in the Afghan capital last month that killed and wounded hundreds.
  • CBSnews- Civilian casualties down, airstrike deaths up in Afghanistan
    The number of civilians killed and wounded in the war in Afghanistan declined last year, but the number of U.S.-led coalition and Afghan military airstrikes was on the rise, according to a new United Nations report released on Thursday. The total number of civilian casualties decreased by 9 percent in 2017, compared to 2016, the U.N. mission said in its annual report on the subject.
  • ToloNews- 35 Insurgents Killed in Kandahar Airstrike
    At least 35 insurgents were killed in Afghan forces airstrike in southern Kandahar province in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) claimed on Wednesday. The airstrike was launched in Nesh district of the province to clear the area of insurgents, the MoD said in a statement, adding that a number of villages have been cleared of insurgents.
  • Stripes- Court received 1.17 million war crimes claims from Afghans
    Since the International Criminal Court began collecting material three months ago for a possible war crimes case involving Afghanistan, it has gotten a staggering 1.17 million statements from Afghans who say they were victims.
  • ariananews- Taliban Kills 7 Soldiers in Attack on Military Base in Farah
    At least 7 Afghan soldiers were shot dead in a Taliban attack on an army base in Farah province, local officials said. The Farah provincial council head, FaridBakhtawar has confirmed the incident and said the army base has been collapsed to Taliban and two other soldiers were also wounded in the attack.
  • NBCNews- More than 10,000 Afghan civilians killed or wounded in 2017, U.N. says
    More than 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in violence last year, the United Nations said Thursday, with militant bombings the main cause while airstrikes by U.S. and government forces inflicted a rising toll.
  • rferl- Secret Afghan Force Mimics, Infiltrates Taliban
    A white unmarked Toyota pickup truck carries 10 armed young fighters to a frontline. All are dressed like Taliban fighters, with most wearing black or dark green khet partug -- a long loose tunic and baggy pants. All are wearing the distinctive black or white turbans preferred by the Taliban.

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.