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inmemoriam

Sergeant Matthew Telford
First Battalion Grenadier Guards

Sergeant Matthew Telford, was killed in Afghanistan on 3 November 2009 in an incident at a police checkpoint in Nad e-Ali.

He was part of a mixed team of soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and the Royal Military Police. The team had been tasked with mentoring a number of members of the Afghan National Police at the checkpoint.

The Grenadier Guards Battle Group had identified the need for increased mentoring of the Afghan National Police within its area of operations.


Sergeant Matt Telford was temporarily employed as a mentor to the Afghan National Police (ANP). As the Regimental Police Sergeant he was perfectly placed to work with such a team drawn from soldiers of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and the Royal Military Police. The team had been tasked with mentoring a number of ANP at a Check Point.

The Grenadier Guards Battle Group had identified the need for increased mentoring of the Afghan National Police within its area of operations. Sergeant Telford was part of a 16 man team who were sent to a Police Check Point of vital importance as it provided protection to the bazaar area of Nad-e'Ali where the Battle Group Forward Operating Base was located.

Sergeant Telford was born in Grimsby on 10th October 1972. He passed out of the Guards Depot in February 1991 and was immediately posted to the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards.

On amalgamation between the First and Second Battalions in 1993, Sergeant Telford was transferred to the 1st Battalion where he served until 2004. In 2004 he was posted to Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards where he served for two years before being detached as a Regimental Recruiter.

In early 2009 he returned to the Battalion as the Regimental Police Sergeant.

Sergeant Telford leaves behind his beloved wife Kerry and two sons, Harry and Callum.

Sergeant Telford's size, stature and presence were entirely in line with what you would expect of a Regimental Police Sergeant. However, what you found behind the mountain of a man was a thoughtful and caring family man who would work tirelessly all hours of the day to help someone out. He was professional and meticulous in everything that he did.

Sergeant Telford was a fantastically popular individual across the Battalion. He was a definite Battalion character and it was a pleasure for all his colleagues to have him back serving with the Regiment.

Lieutenant Colonel Roly Walker, Commanding Officer, First Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:

"Sergeant Telford, a quiet giant of a man, has died. He was working with a small detachment of Afghan police to improve security in a village infiltrated by insurgents.

"As the Regimental Police Sergeant for the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, he was well placed to help the police learn new skills; and as a soldier he was more than ready to face the challenges. So his death at the hands of those he was helping is all the more tragic.

"His was an unwavering and reliable presence in the Battalion. His easy going style and happy humour made him everyone's friend.

"He was thriving in his role as a police mentor, and his spirits were high because he could see the results in the men he was working with – both our troops and the Afghans. He was utterly professional in his duty, and the respect he had from the villagers was clear to anyone who visited.

"Our loss is as nothing to that of his family and close friends. Our deepest condolences go with him on his final journey home."

Captain Bernie Broad, Quartermaster Technical, First Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:

"I knew Sgt Matt Telford as a Guardsman in The Queen's Company when I was the Company Sergeant Major. A larger than life character, he was large, fit and intelligent. He epitomised to me what being a soldier, and more so a Guardsman, is all about.

"Throughout his career his enthusiasm for the job never diminished and with his excellent sense of humour and gentle touch for such a giant of a man, he was known, respected, and trusted by all.

"On promotion he became a Recruiting Sergeant in Grimsby where his charming and professional manner boosted recruiting for the Regiment. The quality, well motivated soldiers who joined as a result of his endeavours will never forget the big guy who recruited them.

"Matt, you are a true professional and a loving family man who never let anyone down in the course of his duties at work or at home. A very large gap will be left in the hearts and minds of all who knew him and he will never be forgotten."

WO2 Miles, Company Sergeant Major Headquarter Company, First Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:

"There aren't enough quality words to describe Sgt Matthew Telford. He was a giant of a man in both the physical and personal sense.

"I knew him personally for 18 years; his sense of humour was infectious and where morale was needed Matt always provided it in spades.

"The consummate solder, his professionalism and leadership were the envy of most of the Regiment. Posted out from the Battalion for a few years, he returned as the same compassionate and understanding man, who when someone really needed support he was able to offer it without question.

"Bravery for Matt came with the territory, he led by example and expected nothing of his soldiers that he personally would not undertake.

"To say Matt was a totally committed family man, probably wouldn't do him justice. His family was his life, he talked about them constantly and my heart sincerely goes out to them at this difficult time.

"To serve with Matthew was an honour and a privilege, and I really couldn't be more proud to call myself his Company Sergeant Major, but more than anything, his friend."

Lance Sergeant Roberts, Medical Sergeant, First Battalion Grenadier Guards:

"Sgt Matt Telford was a big man not just in size but also in everyday life. A very professional man who was immensely proud to be a Grenadier Guard he epitomized what the Regiment are all about.

"Matt was a keen martial arts expert and was always keen to show this off, his favourite saying was 'grab me here and I'll will show you how to get out of it'. On grabbing him he would then proceed to put you on the floor in some ridiculous arm lock.

"Big-hearted and an even bigger family man, he loved his wife Kerry and his two boys Callum and Harry. I was privileged to have attended his wedding which was one of his proudest and happiest days of his life.

"Matt was a man I could call not only a colleague and friend but a brother. Rest in peace mate, you will be sorely missed by all who knew you."

Lance Corporal Lee Dutton, a close friend, said:

"I first met Matt on return from a Northern Ireland tour in 1994 when he joined The Queen's Company. Even then as the junior Guardsman we instantly became the best of friends and through the years that friendship strengthened.

"When we both got married our families' houses in Pirbright were next door to each other and we spent many evening together with our families, running, or just going to the gym.

"Matt had an enormous personality and heart to match. He was big and strong and could always be relied on when you needed help for anything.

"Always with a smile on his face, he was always the first to cheer people up when they were down and cheer up any situation with some of the worst jokes I have heard or by showing a new arm lock he had learnt.

"Matt was a true friend who will be deeply missed by all who knew him."

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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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