Wednesday, 18 September 2019
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Sergeant Peter Anthony Rayner was born into a military family on the 11 November 1975 in Andover. He considered his hometown to be Bradford but joined the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment in 1994; the same Battalion in which his father had served for most of his Army career.

He joined an Armoured Infantry Battalion based in Catterick, and it is in this role that Sergeant Rayner excelled. Passing a Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle driving cadre soon after his arrival he then deployed as a Warrior driver to Bosnia in 1997, to Macedonia in 1998 and again to Bosnia in 2000.

By this time he had been promoted to Lance Corporal and was honing his skills as an armoured infantry soldier by becoming a Regimental Instructor Gunnery, Driving and Maintenance Instructor, and Fleet Manager.

As his Regiment moved to Cyprus he stayed in Catterick with the 1st Battalion, The King's Regiment and deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 2, where he was employed as a Warrior Commander.

Always one to seek out a new challenge, Sergeant Rayner moved to the Anti-Tank Platoon where he completed the Milan Detachment Commander's Course. He deployed again to Iraq on Operation TELIC 9 with the newly formed 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, this time as a Warrior Sergeant with Arnhem Company.

In 2009, following an exemplary performance on the Javelin Section Commander's Course, he deployed with Arnhem Company to Afghanistan as part of the Theatre Reserve Battalion on Operation HERRICK 11. He was based out of Patrol Base Shammel Storrei, one of the most heavily attacked bases in Southern Helmand, where he performed admirably. He received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on his return to Cyprus.

In 2010 he once again deployed to Afghanistan with Arnhem Company as the Javelin Platoon Sergeant. His bravery and courage had attracted much praise and he had cemented a reputation as one of the best Javelin Commanders in the Army.

He will be remembered for his pre-eminence as a Javelin Commander, for his forthright manner and for his huge personality. Sergeant Rayner will be sorely missed by all members of his Company and by all members of the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment'Lions of England'. He leaves a young family and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Wendy and his son Derek at this time.

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Together, the United Kingdom, the United States and our allies around the world, face a difficult security environment, where the outlook is sobering and the threats diverse, growing and unpredictable.

We live in a period in which direct military threats to our countries' territories are low.

But in this globalised world, the scourge of terrorism, the danger of nuclear proliferation, the ungoverned space created by fragile or failed states, and the competition for energy and resources, will test our ability to deter, contain and deal with risks to national security.

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Rifleman Suraj Gurung was 22 years old and born and raised in the hill town of Gorkha in Nepal. He passed the notoriously gruelling process for Gurkha selection into the British Army in December 2007; becoming the first member of his family to achieve this feat.

In early January 2008 he made the journey from the tranquil foothills of the Nepalese Himalaya to Catterick in North Yorkshire as a trainee Rifleman ready to begin the arduous months of Gurkha infantry training.

In October 2008 he completed this training and travelled to Brunei to join 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. As a result of his good command of English and his obvious intelligence he was immediately selected to be the Platoon Radio Operator. This position is normally reserved for a senior Rifleman and as such it was testament to the high regard in which he was held so early on in his career.

Rifleman Suraj returned to the United Kingdom in August 2009 and was selected as the lead man in his patrol, known as the vallon man, for the upcoming tour to Afghanistan. His ability had again been singled out.

He deployed on Op HERRICK 12 in April 2010 and even from the start of the tour he was always confident and calm under pressure. As a soldier he excelled here in Afghanistan. As the point man of every patrol he led his multiple unflinchingly across some of the most daunting and uncertain terrain, day after day, time after time.

For six months he had been finding IEDs and selecting safe routes, keeping those following behind safe.

Only recently married he leaves behind his wife and family in Nepal.

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Suicide bombers storm Afghan aid building, kill four

Pakistan Army struggling to root out Taliban

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The International Security Assistance Force's strategy for defeating the improvised explosive device threat in Afghanistan can be characterised by three main elements - attacking the system, defeating the device and preparing the force.

Major General Gordon Messenger, the Chief of the Defence Staff's Strategic Communications Officer, and Colonel Peter Smith, Assistant Director of Counter-IED at Land Forces Headquarters, reiterated that the IED menace is being countered through intelligence, training and equipment at a briefing to the media in MOD's Main Building on Thursday 1 July 2010.

Reminding the audience that while improvised explosive devices are far from a new phenomenon and that around 300 are found every month outside Iraq and Afghanistan, Major General Messenger said that it was in Afghanistan that their use had become 'unprecedented'.

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Corporal Matthew Thomas, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was killed in the Gamsir district of Helmand province on Saturday 25 September 2010,  when the vehicle he was driving was struck by an improvised explosive device.

A spokesperson for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers said:

"Corporal Matthew Thomas was an intelligent, dedicated and courageous man whose all-round professionalism as a soldier, excellence as a sportsman, and deep, deep competence as a mechanical engineer were widely respected and admired.

"Though still a young man he was a natural leader, setting the highest standards, showing enormous moral strength, and nurturing those under his command at every turn. His ready smile, natural exuberance and 'can do' attitude were much prized by all with whom he worked, and were testament to how he loved his profession.

"He revelled in the responsibility, challenges and opportunities presented to him as a vehicle mechanic on operations in Afghanistan. And for their part the troops whom he supported so ably wholeheartedly embraced 'Tommo', as he was fondly called.

"He died alongside these comrades, with whom such a bond had been built and who meant so much to him. His passing is a sad day for us but we must count ourselves privileged to have served with such a talented, rounded and inspirational man.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. We hope that in the midst of their terrible loss they can draw strength, as we do, from fond memories of a remarkable sportsman, soldier, mechanic and leader."


To the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians of NATO's International Security Assistance Force:

We serve in Afghanistan at a critical time. With the surge in ISAF strength and the growth of Afghan forces, we and other Afghan comrades have a new opportunity. Together, we can ensure that Afghanistan will not once again be ruled by those who embrace indiscriminate violence and transnational extremists, and we can ensure that Al Qaeda and other extremist elements cannot once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they can launch attacks on our homelands and on the Afghan people.

This has been a hard fight. As you have soldiered together with our Afghan partners to reverse the Taliban momentum and to take away Taliban safe havens, the enemy has fought back ISAF and Afghan Forces sustained particularly tough losses last month. Nonetheless, in the face of an enemy willing to carry out the most barbaric of attacks, progress has been achieved in some critical areas, and we are poised to realize more.

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Trooper Andrew Martin Howarth was born in Bournemouth, 28th May 1990. He attended Queen Elizabeth's School in Wimborne, Dorset, before joining the Army in 2007. He completed basic training at the Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn, before passing out of Royal Armoured Corps Phase 2 training at Bovington. He joined The Queen's Royal Lancers in Catterick, North Yorkshire, in February of 2008, and in doing so became the third generation of his family to serve with the Regiment.

Trooper Howarth has spent the duration of his career in C Squadron, as a reconnaissance vehicle driver. He was exceptionally gifted at maintaining and managing the armoured vehicles under his stewardship and was chosen from amongst his peers to drive for his troop leader. He showed his true abilities from the start, driving for his troop leader on training exercises on Salisbury Plain Training Area, during Exercise MEDICINE MAN in BATUS in the summer of 2009, throughout Mission Specific Training for Op HERRICK 12, and on the deployment to Afghanistan in April 2010. His initiative, self motivation and robustness, both physical and mental, were exceptional in a soldier of such youth and inexperience; he would have, without doubt, risen through the ranks above and beyond his peers. He had an infectious smile and a truly inspirational sense of humour.

Aside from his life as a professional formation reconnaissance soldier, Trooper Howarth was an immensely charismatic young sportsman. He has a deep rooted love of rugby football and represented the Regimental side on many an occasions. He was also an avid alpine skier, having learnt to ski with the Regimental Alpine Ski Team in Verbier, Switzerland in 2008; although he was only a beginner, his enthusiasm, absolute courage and determination easily compensated for his lack of experience on the slopes.

Trooper Howarth was killed in action during a vehicle patrol in the Bolan district of Lashkar Gah on 18 September 2010 alongside one of his colleagues. He was serving as part of Fondouk Squadron, The Queen's Royal Lancers, and was providing security to the people of Helmand Province, during a vehicle mounted ground domination patrol, by denying insurgents' freedom of movement. He leaves behind his parents, John and Sarah, and his older brother Marcus.

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12 July 2010

Severed Afghan trees tell a nation's story:

Is Yemen the next Afghanistan? :

Distrust slows US training of Pakistanis:

Local defence forces in Afghanistan to resist the Taliban:


Kingsman Darren DeadyKingsman_Darren_Deady

Kingsman Darren Deady was born in Bolton on 18 January 1988 into a large Lancastrian family. He joined the Army in October 2008 shortly after leaving school determined to join his local infantry regiment, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

On completion of the tough and arduous Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, he moved to Cyprus where he joined Arnhem Company of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in Spring 2009, just in time for the commencement of pre-deployment training for the battalion's Theatre Reserve role.

A Theatre Reserve Battalion provides acclimatised troops over a 12-month period as the UK's high readiness operational reserve. On completion of a busy and challenging period of preparation Kingsman Deady deployed with his company to southern Helmand, going straight to Nad 'Ali as part of Operation MOSHTARAK in February 2010.

He had an excellent tour and shone amongst his peers for his beaming sense of humour which remained in tact in the face of adversity, something for which he became famous and which had the most positive and enduring effect on all those that knew him.

After returning to Cyprus the battalion was deployed again and in July Arnhem Company returned to the Nahr-e Saraj region of central Helmand.

On 23 August 2010, Kingsman Deady was wounded in action fighting to defend a compound as part of Operation KAPCHA AMIQ 1, an operation to protect soldiers and civilians who are improving the infrastructure for the people of Nahr-e Saraj.

Arnhem Company were protecting a vital location when they came under prolonged, intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Kingsman Deady was fatally wounded fighting alongside his fellow soldiers. He was given exceptional first aid at the point of wounding by his friends, which kept him alive, before being evacuated to the hospital in Camp Bastion and subsequently to the UK for further treatment.

On 10 September 2010, with his family present, he died of his wounds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Kingsman Deady was a small man with an irrepressible sense of humour. He had a great talent for finding humour and making light of the darkest situations.

A young soldier with huge character, very popular and well-respected, he was well-known across the battalion. His dedication and commitment to those around him earned him the unquestionable loyalty of those who worked with him. His tragic loss has been extremely hard to bear for all those that had the privilege to meet him; he will never be forgotten.

Kingsman Deady's family said:

"We would like to thank you all for your support through these difficult times, they have been hard for everyone. I now hope you will join us in celebration of Darren's life.

"We lost a wonderful son, brother, uncle, grandson and friend; he is going to be missed by all. At this moment we are experiencing the hardest times of our life.

"Darren was proud to do a job that he loved and most of all believed in; his little brother once turned round to him and asked him 'Why do you fight?' and Darren simply replied 'To make a difference'.

"The Army and hospital staff have been amazing and really have looked after us and supported us, nothing was ever too much trouble for them and we are eternally grateful to all involved.

"The other families we have met through this journey have been a tower of strength and we wish them all the best. There is only one thing left to say now - 'Please Don't Forget Him'. RIP Darren Deady, you will be missed."

Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (2 LANCS), the 'Lions of England', said:

"Kingsman Darren Deady was a tiny man with the heart of a lion. His irrepressible and infectious sense of humour made this small man a huge character within Arnhem Company, where his courage and selflessness will always be remembered.

"He was always the first to volunteer for everything, to carry the heaviest load or to be first in the patrol to clear a path for his mates. He loved his job and his regiment, he loved serving with his fellow Lions in Arnhem Company.

"He had already shown skill as well as courage having previously served in Afghanistan during Operation MOSHTARAK in Nad 'Ali during 11 Light Brigade's tour. This was his second deployment in the face of the enemy and he fought again with the courage and heart of a lion.

"No-one in my battalion was as good or as accurate with an underslung grenade launcher; he fired it time and again on two separate tours to protect the team he was ferociously loyal to. A team player, a man with a huge heart and a man with bags of humour in the face of adversity.

"England has lost one of her finest Lions, his family: a brother and son, his mates: one of their most respected friends. We will never forget Darren Deady; a regimental brother to his fellow Kingsmen, a man with the heart of a lion, forever popular and forever respected.

Major Paul Tingey, Officer Commanding Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Kingsman Darren Deady was one of the first Kingsmen I got to know when I assumed command of Arnhem Company. He was a real character. He was a young man who was confident enough to speak to his boss about anything on his mind, and often did.

"I always felt that he was being himself, no false pretences and never putting on a show to impress. Impress, however, he did. He was a superb soldier - trusted, respected and an example to others. He was a small man with a huge personality.

"1 Platoon soldiers have lost one of their best mates. He is a great loss to Arnhem Company and to The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family who have lost a loving son and a devoted brother."

Captain Bowden-Williams, Second-in-Command, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Kingsman Deady was an old fashioned Kingsman - wiry, tough, humorous, never afraid to voice his opinion. Above all this he was loyal to his friends not only in camp or when socialising, where he will always be remembered, but also on the battlefield where he ultimately gave his life for them."

Lieutenant Mark Hayward, 3 Platoon Commander, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"I remember turning up to the small patrol base in Nad 'Ali on the last tour to take command of my first multiple. I got all the lads together to introduce myself and I remember looking at all of the lads sat in front of me and out of all the faces looking back one stood out in particular. Sat there looking back was Kingsman Deady with his trademark cheeky grin. This was a grin I am happy to say was one I would see many times in the future.

"His optimistic outlook and ability to provide morale to those around no matter the situation is something I will always admire. It says a lot about his character as the whole time I have been in the regiment I have only heard people speak of him with the highest of regards. It has been an honour to have served alongside him. Rest in Peace Deady."

Second Lieutenant Andy Miller, 1 Platoon Commander, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Commanding Kingsmen is always a privilege, but to be Kingsman Deady's Platoon Commander was an honour. Kingsman Darren Deady was by far the best Kingsman in my platoon. He was polite, focused, funny, entertaining and truthful. He was an extremely professional soldier and as a result he was often the first to volunteer for the most difficult of tasks within the platoon.

"He would either be leading the way, clearing a safe route free from hidden bombs for his comrades, or he would be carrying some of the heaviest equipment that the platoon had, even if he did say 'There's only so much these chicken legs can carry'. He was ferocious in battle and deadly accurate with his underslung grenade launcher."

"We would often talk of what we were looking forward to on our post-tour leave. He could not wait to return to Bolton to see his family, go out with his friends and spend his money on a ridiculously fast motorbike as well as a lads' holiday to Amsterdam.

"Away from soldiering, back in Cyprus, Kingsman Deady lived for the weekends. My Monday mornings would always be brightened by tales of Kingsman Deady's latest escapades, usually involving him with no top on and going missing for a large part of the night, often returning with a new tattoo that he would proudly show me.

"Kingsman Deady will be sorely missed by me and the entire team. He was the life and soul of the platoon and it is a tragedy that his 'one of a kind' laugh will never be heard again. My thoughts are with his family. Kingsman Darren Deady will never be forgotten by me or his brothers in 1 Platoon."

Sergeant Lea Wilkinson, 1 Platoon Sergeant, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady was one of the most popular and much-loved members of the platoon. The energy and morale which he produced was infectious, making being in Afghanistan that much more bearable.

"Darren was a cheeky lad who often managed to make me laugh even when he was in trouble. The platoon will be a very different place without him."

Corporal Stephen Byrne, Section Commander, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"I first met Kingsman Deady when I moved to Arnhem Company two years ago. I liked him from day one and what a brilliant character. He was a fantastic soldier that put his best into everything."

Corporal Sean Bateson, Section Commander, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"A true Kingsman, a true Lancastrian, always full of life and always with a smile on his face. Truly missed but never forgotten."

Corporal Iliav Waqa, Section Commander, 2 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"It was a privilege to have known him and he always gave one hundred and ten per cent; everything was always done to the highest standards."

Corporal Gareth Collins, Section Commander, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"One of the best Kingsmen I've ever worked with within the platoon, always there whenever anyone needed him, my thoughts go out to his family."

Lance Corporal Gary Smith, Section Second-in-Command, 2 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"You're one of the best lads I've ever known and it was a privilege to fight alongside you."

Kingsman Ben Harper, Signaller, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady was one of the boys who looked after everyone. I will always remember him calling me fatty and me giving him stick back but he always got the beers in first. I'll remember him as a mate, brother and the best Kingsman around."

Kingsman Christopher Norris, Fire Support Group, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Darren was one of the best lads I've ever met in the Army. A guy who always lived for the weekend. You will never be forgotten."

Kingsman Dean Smith, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady was one of the best lads I've ever met. I enjoyed his company and working with him. He was always having a laugh and always had a smile on his face. I will always remember him."

Kingsman James Kirner, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"I can't believe he's gone, he was the morale of the platoon. We're going to miss you so much."

Kingsman Liam Phillpot, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Even when he was down he managed to cheer you up. Even though he is gone he will never be forgotten."

Kingsman Liam McKenna, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"He always kept morale high even in the worst of situations, he will be so missed."

Kingsman Antony Lewis, Fire Support Group, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"In the short time that I have known him he was a great lad to be around, always happy and positive, a pleasure to work with, my thoughts are with his family."

Kingsman John Dowson, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"I didn't know Deady for long but what a sound lad, always up for a laugh. My deepest thoughts are with his family and those who were lucky enough to know him."

Kingsman Alan Burrow, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady was a top lad and a true soldier, always happy and always with a smile on his face, even when he was down. He always had something to laugh about and was the life and soul of the party.

"He loved to go out and have a beer and chase the girls and it seemed to work as he often pulled. It won't be the same without him wandering around without his top on. Rest in Peace mate, you will never be forgotten."

Kingsman Robert Purkiss, Company Medic, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"One of the best men in Arnhem Company, some of the stories will stay with me forever and the fact that he was always cribbing with a smile on his face."

Kingsman Scott Duffy, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Darren Deady was one of my best friends in the battalion. He was always one to make you laugh when times were hard and making the most of a bad situation. He will be dearly missed by the lads in 1 Platoon. We have lost one of our best soldiers, a true Kingsman."

Kingsman Kyle Garth, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady was full of character, the most popular lad in the platoon and one of my best friends.

"He would always be making people laugh when times were hard and morale was low. He would always pick on my accent; he used to say that I sounded like a farmer and I used to take the mick out of his Bolton accent.

"We would go to the gym together, then, when the weekend arrived, we would all go out as a big team and enjoy ourselves. Rest in Peace Deady mate, you're going to be missed."

Kingsman Christopher Stagg, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady, I can't believe you're gone mate. You will be sorely missed. You were a great colleague and an even better friend. Rest In Peace mate."

Kingsman Jacob Murray, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"From one Boltoner to another, you were a good mate to all the lads in Arnhem Company. When one of us was down you always knew how to put a smile back on our faces.

"Thoughts are with your family and friends back home. I am going to miss you mate, gone but never forgotten. Rest in Peace."

Kingsman Kemron Modeste, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady mate, it feels like only yesterday we last spoke about how we were going to spend leave and how you were saying you were going to come visit me back home in Grenada.

"Mate, I know if you could you would have been there, you will be sorely missed by all in Arnhem Company. Can't wait till we see each other again. From your brother from another mother. See you later mate."

Kingsman Christopher Craig, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"No words can describe what sort of a friend you were to the men of Arnhem Company, nor can they do justice to what sort of a soldier you were.

"Your family, regiment and country have lost one of its finest and bravest. I am proud to have served alongside you and rest assured we will never forget."

Kingsman Mark Traynor, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"You were without a doubt the morale of this company; you would even be laughing when days were bad. We will never forget you mate."

Kingsman Tom Smith, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said:

"Deady, can't believe I am speaking to you in this way but you were a top friend to everyone. Mate, I can't tell you how much I am going to miss you. All the lads feel for your family and friends at home. You were a true Kingsman mate. Rest in Peace Deady, you will never be forgotten."Kingsman_Darren_Deady


It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of three soldiers this morning from 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj South, on Tuesday 13 July 2010. The soldiers were killed in a suspected premeditated attack by a member of the Afghan National Army (ANA) using a combination of weapons.

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Captain Andrew Griffiths

2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (2 LANCS) Theatre Reserve Battalion

Captain Andy Griffiths was born on 3 October 1984 in Richmond, North Yorkshire. He was brought up in a military family and studied European and International Studies at Loughborough University before starting the Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in September 2007.

Whilst at Sandhurst Capt Griffiths only ever considered joining The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, known as the 'Lions of England' - his father's regiment. On completion of the Platoon Commander's Battle Course he took over command of 5 Platoon, Blenheim Company, in the 2nd Battalion based in Episkopi, Cyprus, prior to starting pre-deployment training with his battalion as the Theatre Reserve Battalion. The Theatre Reserve Battalion provides acclimatised troops over a 12-month period as the UK's high readiness operational reserve.

Capt Griffiths approached Command with characteristic humility and absolute dedication, deploying with his Platoon to Afghanistan on his first tour with great pride, through a demanding and successful deployment to Babaji during Operation Panther's Claw and latterly to Nad 'Ali.

He forged himself the strongest possible reputation; he distinguished himself with his personal courage and his duty of care for his men. On return from Helmand he moved into Dettingen (Fire Support) Company and immediately crafted his Javelin Platoon and his Fire Support Group into a well-trained, well-drilled team.

The only standards Capt Griffiths set were high standards, he was the finest at everything he did. As part of the 2nd Battalion's deployment to Nad 'Ali and Nahr-e Saraj in July, he assumed command of his Fire Support Group in support of Arnhem Company.

Capt Griffiths was extremely personable and was loved and highly respected by his men. His attitude and his unwavering personal standards set him apart from the crowd making him a most effective Army Officer with a bright future ahead of him. Capt Griffiths was born to command Infantry Troops in battle, and he was a natural at this. He led from the front and his men loved him for his courage as a result.

A massive character with a huge personality, Capt Griffiths will leave a gaping hole in the Officers' Mess and will be sadly mourned by his brother officers. A force to be reckoned with on the rugby pitch as well as in the bar, he approached all aspects of his life with an infectious enthusiasm.

He lived his short life to the maximum, thoroughly enjoying the social life of a young officer who was always great fun to be around. He was always at the centre of everything, always laughing and often up to some sort of mischief but his cool exterior and innocent persona often kept him out of the Adjutant's office. He will be sorely missed by his family, his girlfriend, Nic, and all those who were lucky enough to know him.

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As usual, the U.K. media has had a field day in running down this country's contribution to ISAF operations in Afghanistan. This short piece seeks to spoil their story with some facts.

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Lance Corporal Joseph McFarlane Pool

The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland 

Lance Corporal Pool, aged 26, from Greenock, enlisted in the Army in August 2003. After completing the Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick he joined 1st Battalion The King's Own Scottish Borderers before the formation of The Royal Regiment of Scotland in March 2006.

He accrued a raft of operational experience during his time in the Army, completing tours of Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan; often selected for demanding specialist roles on operations on the basis of his enthusiasm and natural talent for his chosen profession. Equally charismatic in barracks as he was in the field, he prided himself on his position as a battalion Physical Training Instructor.

Lance Corporal Pool died doing a job he loved surrounded by men proud to call him a friend. He will be sorely missed by all his colleagues in both 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Brigade Reconnaissance Force.

His dedication to his comrades on the battlefield was only surpassed by that to his family; his fiancée Lynsey and sons Lee and Jamie were never far from his thoughts. He also leaves behind his mother and father, Stella and Roddy, and brother Ryan.

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British and Afghan forces, led by 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, launched an operation this morning to continue the momentum generated by Operation MOSHTARAK and further squeeze insurgents in central Helmand.

Operation TOR SHEZADA - Black Prince - has been planned and is being executed by ISAF forces working hand-in-hand with their Afghan counterparts.

The operation involves British troops partnering Afghan forces from 3rd Brigade, 215 Corps, to clear insurgents from Sayedabad to the south of Nad 'Ali in Helmand province and prevent them from being able to use the area as a base from which to launch attacks.

In parallel, similar operations by the United States Marine Corps are being conducted in northern Marjah.

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The big story of the week is obviously the WikiLeaks one about the 91,000 pages of documents, which we cover in depth elsewhere. This is a constantly moving story, with the latest twist being that despite WikiLeaks protestations, it does appear that the names of Afghan co-operators are obvious for all to see, and therefore their safety, and by extension that of the IFOR mission, is at risk.


Since the 28th May the United States has carried out seven unmanned airstrikes:

June 10th: U.S. unmanned aircraft targeted a 'sprawling compound' in the village of Norak, North Waziristan, killing three suspected terrorists. Whilst the compound was known to be used by the Taliban no senior figures were reported killed. However on June 17th the Long War Journal reported that two al Qaeda commanders and a Turkish fighter were killed in this attack. The al Qaida casualties were confirmed as Sheikh Inshanullah, an 'Arab al Qaeda commander' and Ibrahim, commander of the Fursan-i-Mohammed Group. All three deaths were confirmed in a statement from Taifatul Mansura Group, a Turkish jihadist organisation operating along the Af-Pak border.

June 11th: Unmanned aircraft attacked two villages in North Waziristan. The airstrike targeted targeted Taliban safe houses in the villages of Bahader Khel and Khaddi, killing eleven and four terrorists respectively. Three 'foreigners' were reported killed in Bahader Khel, and two in Khaddi. The term 'foreigner' is used by Pakistani security forces to describe Arab or Central Asian al Qaida operatives.  No senior al Qaeda or Taliban figures were reported killed at this time.

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The Ministry of Defence confirmed the deaths of Marine Tony Evans and Marine Georgie Sparks, both of J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines.

The men had been conducting a foot patrol to the north-west of Lashkar Gar in Helmand Province. Marines Evans and Sparks had moved on to the roof of a compound when, at around 9am, there was an attack by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and they were badly wounded. Both received immediate medical attention and were moved to a secure location before being put on a helicopter to be transferred back to Camp Bastion. However, both sadly died from their injuries during the flight.

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Trooper James Munday

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence confirms the death of Trooper James Munday, of 1 Troop, D Squadron, The Household Cavalry Regiment. Please see the eulogy below and attached photograph.

On 15th October, Trooper Munday was serving as a Jackal driver on Operation HERRICK 8 when he was killed in action in Helmand province. His Troop was conducting a routine patrol approximately 23km north of Forward Operating Base Delhi when he was killed by a contact explosion.

Despite the best efforts of the medical team, sadly, Trooper Munday was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other soldiers were also injured in the blast.

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2 MERCIAN (Worcesters & Foresters) deployed to Afghanistan as the Operational Mentoring Liaison Team (OMLT) Battle group on 27 Mar 2009 for a 6 month operational tour and is due to return in late Septmber. This is the Battalion's 3rd tour of Afghanistan in 5 years, and it is part of 19 (Light) Brigade. One soldier tells a typical tale of service on operations.

Staff Sergeant Griffiths is half way through a six-month tour in Helmand Province, attached to The 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment. The Regiment's job in Afghanistan is to provide mentoring to the Afghan National Army, taking part in joint patrols and operations. Most of SSgt Griffiths' time is spent mentoring the Combat Support Services transport Sergeant Major of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

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