1ST BATTALION, COLDSTREAM GUARDS
Guardsman Michael Sweeney of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards died as a result of an explosion that happened in the Babaji District of central Helmand province on 1st April.
The last three and a half months saw Guardsman Sweeney deploy on the full range of complex combat operations in the Babaji area. As well as conducting daily patrols he was involved in the security of Check Points near his Patrol Base. It was whilst on patrol to one of these Check Points with a resupply for his comrades that Guardsman Sweeney trod on a hidden bomb which took his life.
Guardsman Michael Sweeney joined the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards after training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick. He was posted to Number 2 Company in May 2008 for a short time before being posted to Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards based in London.
3RD BATTALION, THE RIFLES
Rifleman Mark Turner, was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on patrol to the north of Kajaki, in Helmand, Afghanistan.
Mark Turner was born on 11 October 1988. He grew up in Gateshead and was educated at Thomas Hepburn Community School and then went to work as a panel beater before joining the Army.
Rifleman Turner joined the Army in January 2006 at the age of eighteen, completing phase one training before joining Second Battalion the Light Infantry in the summer of 2006. Rifleman Turner was a trained Assault Pioneer and Team Medic and had been on several overseas exercises including Kenya and Belize. He had already been on one previous tour of duty in Afghanistan from September 2006 to April 2007 during which he was injured in a road traffic accident.
1ST BATTALION THE ROYAL WELSH
Fusilier Jonathan Burgess was born in Swansea,South Wales, on 9 July 1989. He was brought up in Townhill where he attended the local Primary School and Bishop Gore Comprehensive. After school he studied catering and worked in a restaurant.
On completion of the Combat Infantryman Course at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, he joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh in May 2008. He was initially posted toEpiskopi Garrison, Cyprus.
Since joining the Battalion he has conducted a demanding overseas exercise to Kenya and also the pre-deployment training package, prior to deploying on Op HERRICK 11. During his 4 months in Afghanistan Fusilier Burgess had been a key member of 3 Platoon and had conducted both aviation assault and ground holding operations.
Fusilier Burgess was engaged to be married to Kelly Forrest. He leaves behind father Royston, mother Susan, sisters Tracy and Suzanne, and brothers David, Christopher and Ashley.
Lance Corporal Adam Drane
1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal Adam Paul Drane from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 7 December 2009.
Lance Corporal Drane died whilst carrying out security duties at Check Point Paraang in southern Nad e-Ali, Helmand province.
He deployed to Afghanistan as a Section Second-in-Command within C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, attached to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards Battle Group.
Lance Corporal Drane was employed within 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company. He was responsible for commanding a four-man 'fire team' and as such was charged with engaging with and reassuring the local population as well as defeating the insurgents in one of Helmand province's most challenging areas. He had been conducting this task for nearly two months.
Lance Corporal Drane was born in Bury St Edmunds on 24 July 1986. He completed his training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick on 15 August 2007 and within two weeks had joined 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan for the last two months of their Op HERRICK 6 tour.
On returning to the UK he completed a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (JNCO) cadre and was soon after promoted to Lance Corporal.
Prior to deploying to Afghanistan for his second tour, Lance Corporal Drane had completed a number of demanding field exercises in the UK as well as achieving a semi-final place in the Inter-Company Boxing Championships of 2009.
Lance Corporal Drane leaves behind a close and loving family, including his parents, Desmond and Jackie, and brother, Christopher, as well as his beloved fiancée, Sian Goodenough.
Quietly confident, Lance Corporal Drane was an extremely kind individual who had a wonderful sense of humour. He was well-known and respected across the battalion as a soldier but particularly renowned for his love of music and guitars.
Lance Corporal Drane was very much career orientated and was looking forward to completing the demanding Section Commanders' Battle Course after the tour which would have made him eligible for further promotion.
Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said:
"I am hugely saddened by the death of Lance Corporal Adam Drane killed whilst serving in the Nad e-Ali area of Afghanistan. He died doing his job and whilst playing his part in creating all-important security for the people of Afghanistan.
"Adam was a highly respected and professional Non-Commissioned Officer whose death has left a huge hole in the hearts of those with whom he served. He will be remembered as a quiet, confident and effective young man with a bright future ahead of him.
"Those of us who Adam leaves behind will never forget him and will draw inspiration from his memory for the work that lies ahead of us. I know that I can speak for all members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment - 'The Vikings' - in offering our thoughts and prayers to Adam's family and friends."
Major Christopher Davies, Officer Commanding, C (Essex) Company, said:
"Lance Corporal Adam Drane was a thoroughbred soldier with huge potential; having already served with distinction in Afghanistan in 2007 as part of B Company it was no surprise that he stood out amongst his peers as someone special when he moved to C Company in the summer of 2009.
"After nearly two months of almost daily engagements with the enemy, of which the majority were fierce and unrelenting, he remained hardy, focused and full of resolve. His stoical nature made those around him stronger and his sense of humour and genuine compassion for his fellow men allowed him to create a confident and extremely capable team.
"Lance Corporal Drane was naturally brave and courageous, and convincingly demonstrated this in the boxing ring as well as on the battlefield. A true inspiration to others, his absence will leave an irreplaceable gap within the ranks of C (Essex) Company.
"Such a tragic loss of life is hard to comprehend but will be most acutely felt by Lance Corporal Drane's fiancée and family, who meant so much to him, and our thoughts at this deeply sad time are firmly lodged with them."
Second Lieutenant Dan Benstead, 6 Platoon Commander, C (Essex) Company, said:
"The death of Lance Corporal Drane has dealt a huge blow to 6 Platoon. He was an immensely popular character and the shock we are feeling is testament to this.
"Lance Corporal Drane was an outstanding soldier and a highly competent Section Second-in-Command. He proved his ability to command his fire team in numerous difficult engagements with the enemy, and his calmness under fire earned him a huge amount of respect from those who served with him.
"I could always rely upon Lance Corporal Drane to do anything that was asked of him. He believed entirely in our mission in Afghanistan and his commitment to achieving this was evident in everything he did.
"Lance Corporal Drane was an avid music fan and could often be found compiling playlists of his favourite tracks during periods of down-time; he will be remembered fondly for this.
"This is a very difficult time for all of 6 Platoon but words cannot describe the grief his family must be feeling. His parents, Jackie and Des, his brother Christopher and fiancée Sian can be immensely proud of Lance Corporal Drane. The thoughts of the whole of 6 Platoon are with them at this time. He will be missed by us all."
Lance Corporal Daniel Monks, Second-in-Command 2 Section, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said:
"It is not hard to describe the kind of man Adam was; never difficult or uncomfortable to be around but the complete opposite. A well-loved character within the company.
"Never negative about what had to be done, and always smiling at every task no matter how hard to achieve. Determined as a leader and an inspiration to the others with his kindness. I first became good friends with Adam after the JNCO cadre, where he would come to me for advice about work.
"I never talked to Adam without laughing about something stupid and always walked away with a smile on my face."
Lance Corporal Alex Stearne, 1 Section Commander, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said:
"The way I remember Adam is his love of music and kindness to everyone. We have lost a good commander but a better friend. I will always remember him 'air-guitaring' to AC/DC whilst on radio stag with him."
Private Paul 'Kels Bels' Kelly, 1 Section, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said:
"Words cannot describe how much I am going to miss Adam. He was the best friend I have ever had. No matter how hard the situation became, he could always cheer me up.
"All we had talked about during the tour was our future weddings and how we were going to be each other's best man and that is exactly what he was. His passing has left a space in my heart that will never be filled. He was my 'hard rockin' brother and that is how I will remember him."
Private Jason Field, 3 Section, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said:
"Lance Corporal Drane was the kindest, most loving man I knew. This was most apparent when he talked about his fiancée. He loved her so much. She was the first and last person on his mind and I have never met anyone who loved someone as much as he did. I'll never forget our times together and listening to him play his guitar. He'll always be with me."
Private Dan Burgess, Javelin Detachment, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said:
"I will always remember 'Add' for his sense of humour and love of music. When I first met him seven years ago with his long blond hair and bass guitar in hand, I never once thought a few years down the line we would be in Afghanistan together. He will always be remembered as an excellent soldier, and an even better friend."
Sergeant John Amer
1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
It is with great regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death in Afghanistan, on Monday 30 November 2009, of Acting Sergeant John Paxton Amer, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.
Acting Sergeant Amer died from wounds sustained as a result of an explosion that happened in the Babaji area, in central Helmand Province.
Sergeant John Amer was an excellent soldier. His profession was ingrained in him and from the start of his career, he showed nothing short of enormous promise.
A Sunderland man, he enlisted on 17 October 1996 and after training joined Number 2 Company based at that time in Munster, Germany as part of an Armoured Infantry Battlegroup.
After cutting his teeth in the Armoured world he moved with the Battalion back to Windsor in 1998 to experience his first of many State Ceremonial occasions and Public Duties.
At the end of the year he deployed with his Company to the Falkland Islands to conduct a four-month tour. The tempo of life was fast and he learnt quickly. At such an early stage of his career he quickly marked out his plot as a future Non-Commissioned Officer.
A tour of Northern Ireland preceded promotion and he deployed to South Armagh on the Millennium Tour over the winter of 1999/2000. This was a busy tour for the Battalion and Sgt Amer conducted himself in an exemplary fashion.
Shortly after returning to Windsor he passed the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre and set his career on the rails of success.
Whilst more Public Duties followed, the Battalion was soon preparing for operations once again, this time for a two-year residential tour to Londonderry in Number 1 Company.
This tour saw Sergeant Amer in his element and after a very short period as a Lance Corporal he attended the challenging Section Commanders' Battle Course in Brecon, a course he passed with ease.
On completion of the tour in Londonderry Sergeant Amer was promoted to Lance Sergeant and his presence in the Sergeants' Mess has been huge ever since.
He was posted to train recruits in Pirbright and after returning from there he passed the Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course before taking over his Platoon, once again in Number 1 Company. It was with this Platoon that he deployed to Afghanistan in early October 2009.
Sergeant Amer was a huge personality and a natural soldier. He was loved by his men, respected by his seniors and cherished by all.
Whether on parade at Buckingham Palace, teaching recruits in training, socialising in the Mess or, most recently, training his Platoon and leading his Multiple on complex counter-insurgency operations, Sgt Amer was the consummate professional.
He was the epitome of a modern, caring, intelligent and hugely courageous Senior Non Commissioned Officer and he was forever a Coldstreamer.
It was fitting that Sergeant Amer died saving the life of one of his men, for it was for them that he served. Sergeant Amer will be missed forever and remembered for the many happy times.
The loss of his comrades is huge but nothing in comparison to his beloved wife Sue and his daughter Lisa, who are now coming to terms with their loss at this incredibly sensitive and difficult time.
Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said:
"There was only one thing bigger than Sgt Amer's nose and that was his enormous heart. He was loved by his men, cherished by his friends and respected by his seniors.
"I have known him for 13 years and I have had the privilege of serving with him, as he progressed from Guardsman to Platoon Sergeant. He lived by the maxim 'work hard, play hard'.
"I last spoke and chatted with him last week. As ever, he was the at the centre of maintaining the morale of the guardsmen in his platoon; whether ensuring they were fully prepared and briefed for the next patrol, checking on their welfare or just bantering with them.
"His grip and tenderness were keenly on display. He was like the benevolent uncle, respected and loved by them all. His soldiers were happy and proud to serve with a man with integrity, honour and one of the keenest senses of humour in the Battalion.
"We have lost one of the very finest soldiers in the regiment. He died saving a comrade and doing the job he both loved and excelled at. To the last, he was thinking of others.
"As a brother in arms, there was no-one better. He leaves a gap in our hearts never to be filled. The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the Coldstream Battlegroup are with his wife Sue and his daughter Lisa at this most difficult of times."
Major Toby Till, Officer Commanding, Number 1 Company 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said:
"I have had the privilege of knowing Sergeant John Amer since I was his Platoon Commander at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick back in 1996, whilst he was under training as a Trainee Guardsman.
"Once you have commanded someone during this pivotal time in their life there is a special bond between you that can never be broken, despite the years.
"He stood out in training, not necessarily because he was one of the best, but because he was an immense character, a joker, and someone that the other trainees could rely on during the harder days of training to brighten their day.
"I was lucky again to have worked closely with Sergeant Amer when he was a young Guardsman during a four month tour of the Falkland Islands in 1998; he was again always the centre of attention.
"I was therefore delighted, that when I took command of Number One Company, Sgt Amer was one of my Platoon Sergeants. The seamless trust that is built over these years and especially over the last 15 months can never be replaced.
"Sergeant Amer stood out in the Company and was quite unique, always the man to get the last word in and to deliver the last line, but always happy to laugh at his own expense.
"Despite being a Platoon Sergeant and in a position of authority it would be fair to say that he did not have a bad bone in his body, caring of his Guardsmen and empathising with them during this demanding operational tour.
"We have a hole in the Company that will never be replaced but more importantly he was a husband to Sue and a father to Lisa and our thoughts are with them at this tragic and difficult time and always in the future.
"We have all lost a true friend, one of life's honest good blokes, who will never be forgotten."
Lieutenant Douglas Dalzell, Platoon Commander, Number 2 Platoon, said:
"From the perspective of a Platoon Commander the role of a Platoon Sergeant is of immeasurable importance. In addition to taking the lead on Platoon administration and discipline, he is of paramount importance in terms of providing an abundant source of knowledge and experience.
"Through a calm temperament and a mischievous sense of humour Sergeant Amer knew exactly how to steer me in the right direction without belittling my confidence or questioning my authority.
"For this I owe him a debt of gratitude I could never re-pay. Aside from his beloved family, Sergeant Amer's reason for being was the Platoon.
"Having an inspirational approach to leadership enabled him to always bring out the best in all those who worked with him, regardless of rank. What was most endearing about Sergeant Amer though and what the boys will remember him most for was his razor sharp wit.
"Never with malice and often at his own expense, his sense of humour led to the Guardsman seeing him as an approachable figure who they could confide in about anything. "
Warrant Officer Class 2 Stephen Taylor, Company Sergeant Major, Number 1 Company, said:
"I am proud, humbled and honoured to have known Sergeant John Amer personally and professionally over many years of serving together in the Regiment.
"John's modern day style of leadership and day to day man management always got the best from his Platoon and his infectious humour and presence in the Sergeants' Mess is something I will never forget.
"I think back to when I knew Sergeant Amer was to join the Company as one of my Platoon Sergeants; boy that was a good day. His leadership and comradeship throughout this operational tour has been truly second to none, and I will never forget the support he has given to me throughout all the difficult times.
"My heart goes out to his wife Sue and daughter Lisa and I would just like to say John's actions that day would have made you both so very proud. John, I will miss you my friend."
Sergeant Mathew Nichol, Platoon Sergeant, Number 1 Company, said:
"I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive to have known and worked alongside Sergeant John Amer for 13 years. No amount of words could ever do a man of his calibre justice.
"From the first moment we met all those years ago on the way to Germany to join the Battalion, I knew I had a best friend for life. John really was one of a kind and left a lasting impression on anyone that knew him.
"The word 'legend' is used far too often but for my friend John it describes him perfectly. A completely selfless man who would do anything for his blokes and would never put himself before them, he was loved by all.
"Sergeant John Amer, Sergeant Al Kama and I will remain the greatest of friends and although we mourn the loss of our brother, we are so thankful for the lifetime of memories we have together.
"My heart goes out to Sue and Lisa and my thoughts and prayers are with you both. The world is now a darker place without one of its shining lights. I miss you so much my friend, forever in our hearts."
Lance Corporal Kristoffer Boyer, Section Second in Command, Number 2 Platoon, said:
"John was not only my Platoon Sergeant but also one of my best friends. He never took anything too seriously and approached everything with a sense of humour.
"He got any task given to him and completed it to the highest standard. He took great pride in his job and it was a real pleasure to be part of his team and an even greater pleasure to be his friend.
"He was loved and respected by all who knew him and I know I speak for all who met him when I say he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. He was a truly incredible man."
Guardsmen Lance Jackson, 2 Platoon Rifleman, said:
"Sergeant Amer was more like a friend than a Platoon Sergeant; a father figure, a leader and a very good one at that. He had a cheeky schoolboy sense of humour which always made me laugh.
"He was the most selfless, kind-hearted person who always put his men first. We were lucky to have him and will miss him dearly."
Guardsman Carl Marriner, 2 Platoon 60mm Mortarman, said:
"Sergeant Amer was an inspiration to all that knew him. He was a man who could see the best in everyone and would know how to get the best out of you.
"I will miss him as a friend and a leader. My thoughts go to all his family who, like us are devastated to have lost such an exceptional man. Everything we do will be for him as I know he is proud of us all."
Rifleman Aidan Howell
3rd Battalion, The Rifles
Rifleman Aidan Howell of 3rd Battalion, The Rifles was killed as a result of an explosion that happened near Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge, in the Kajaki area of Helmand Province, during the afternoon of 28 D ecember 2009. He had been on patrol when an improvised explosive device detonated.
Aidan Howell was born in Sidcup, Kent on 25 June 1990 and went to the Montsaye Community College in Rothwell before enlisting to join the Army in 2006. He was selected to attend the Army Foundation College in Harrogate before completing his training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. In March 2008 he joined C Company, 3 RIFLES based in Edinburgh.
Known to friends as 'H', he completed his Pre- D eployment Training with C Company as part of the specialised Fire Support Group, a role normally reserved for more senior Rifleman. An extremely fit and active young man he was an avid Leeds United supporter, travelling far and wide to cheer them on whenever he could.
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, Commanding Officer 3 RIFLES Battle Group, said:
"Rifleman Howell, at the age of 19, was already established as a man of promise. His infectious humour and engaging personality had quickly endeared him to his Company and his Platoon.
"Despite being a relatively new arrival to the battalion, he was already operating with the C Company Fire Support Group which demands the experience and ability of our older Riflemen. In this he found no difficulty and held his head high, belying his tender years.
"His loss is a tragedy and he goes to join a line of gallant Riflemen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country and their mates out here in Afghanistan. Those who remain here will take strength from his courage and dedication and will honour his memory always.
"At this most difficult of times our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We know that they, like us, will find some comfort in the knowledge that he died doing the job he loved and whilst bringing peace and stability to this troubled region."
Captain Ben Morgan, Fire Support Group Commander, C Company Group, 3 RIFLES, said:
"Rifleman Aidan Howell joined the Fire Support Group in March 2009 for the hectic six months Pre-Deployment Training and threw himself into it whole-heartedly.
"A very social young Rifleman he always had a smile on his face that made you wonder what he'd been up to the night before! Other soldiers were drawn to his confidence and he was part of a tight knit band of brothers eagerly making holiday plans for when the tour was over.
"A tall man, he used his height to look out for others, a trait that made him a leader amongst men and stayed with him right to the very end.
"On the day of his death a British newspaper arrived with messages of Christmas wishes from loved ones back in the UK. Where most people had one or two messages Aidan had more than anyone else. He leaves a gaping hole in the lives of many and our hearts go out to his bereaved family at this terrible moment.
"To have served alongside him in Afghanistan was an honour and he will be remembered by us all as a hero."
Rifleman Toby Graham, fellow Rifleman, said:
"'H' was an all round good soldier, the only thing that let him down was the moustache he failed to grow on tour! We were really good mates and went through some tough times out here but that's when you really get to know someone and Aidan was a friend for life.
"The good times we shared back in the UK were always full of banter and it was never a dull moment when we went out together. He will be missed amongst the Fire Support Group and the Battalion, gone but never forgotten."
Rifleman Dean Jackson, fellow Rifleman, said:
"'H' will be sorely missed amongst all the blokes. He was a good squaddie and an even better friend. I'll miss his jokes and his banter. I'll miss his talks about Leeds United and the things he got up to. I'll miss our gym sessions and talk of next summers plans.
"Dearly missed and never forgotten. RIP Aidan."
Corporal Harvey Alex Holmes, of 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, attached to 40 Commando Royal Marines Battle Group, was killed in an explosion close to patrol base Waterloo, in Sangin, Helmand Province. He was providing protection for his patrol as they investigated a compound east of Wishtan, close to Check Point Chakaw, when he died.
A Company is based in the Wishtan area and over the last month has undertaken a number of patrols, partnered with the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, to improve security for local Afghans.
Corporal Holmes was 22 years old and from Hyde, Greater Manchester. He attended Astley High School in Dukinfield and enlisted into the Army in 2004.
21 Engineer Regiment
Lance Corporal Barry Buxton, aged 27, from Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, enlisted into the Royal Engineers on 2 January 2002 as a Design Draughtsman, later re-training as an Armoured Engineer.
He joined 21 Engineer Regiment in Ripon on 16 November 2009.
Lance Corporal Buxton had previously served with 25 Engineer Regiment in Ireland and 22 Engineer Regiment in Tidworth.
He deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC in 2006 and to Canada on Exercise MEDICINE MAN in autumn 2009.
Immediately prior to deploying on Operation HERRICK 12, he completed the Armoured Engineer Class 1 course.
21 Engineer Regiment
Sapper Daryn Roy, aged 28, originally from Consett, County Durham, enlisted into the Royal Engineers on 4 October 2005 as a Combat Signaller. After completing Combat Engineer and Combat Signaller courses he joined 21 Engineer Regiment, who were based in Osnabrück, on 28 September 2006.
Having arrived at 21 Engineer Regiment, Sapper Roy deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 11 from November 2007 to May 2008 where he worked as a combat engineer in a section focussed mainly on constructing force protection.
During this tour he also successfully completed additional combat engineer and combat signaller training to upgrade to a higher qualification. After TELIC 11, and with the Regiment now based in Ripon, he passed the Potential Non Commissioned Officer Cadre in October 2009.
40 Commando Royal Marines
Corporal Christopher Lewis Harrison was 26 years old; he was born in Watford, and lived in Taunton with his wife Rebecca. He entered Royal Marines Recruit Training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines on 13 March 2003, passing for duty on 18 December 2003.
Corporal Harrison had previously served with the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, and had qualified as a Heavy Weapons (Mortars) specialist in 2005. In 2007 he deployed with 40 Commando Royal Marines on Operation HERRICK 7 and he had recently returned from an amphibious exercise in the Mediterranean and the Far East. In January 2010 he was selected for, and successfully passed, Junior Command Training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. Returning to 40 Commando he then deployed on Operation HERRICK 12 as a Mortar Fire Controller with Bravo Company, based at Patrol Base SHUGA.
Corporal Stephen Walker from 40 Commando Royal Marines, serving as part of Combined Force Sangin, was killed on Friday 21 May 2010 in an explosion that happened near Patrol Base Almas, in Sangin, Helmand province.
He was conducting a joint foot patrol with the Afghan National Army to reassure and improve the security for the local population in the area when the incident took place.
Corporal Stephen Walker was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland on 5 April 1968. He lived in Exmouth with his wife Leona and their daughter Greer; and was also a proud father to his son Samuel.
4TH REGIMENT ROYAL ARTILLERY
Gunner Zak Cusack was born on 16 September 1989 in Stoke on Trent. He joined the Army in September 2006, attending the Army Foundation College, Harrogate. Upon completion of his training, he was posted to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, then based in Osnabrück, Germany. He joined 97 Battery (Lawson's Company) and deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 7 as a member of a light gun detachment. Upon return from Afghanistan, he moved with the Regiment to Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.
Having impressed with his fitness, aptitude and enthusiasm, Gunner Cusack was selected to transfer to a Fire Support Team and undertook extensive training in Canada between June and July 2009 before commencing Mission Specific Training for Operation HERRICK 12 in September last year. His Fire Support Team moved under command of 129 (Dragon) Battery at the beginning of 2010 and he deployed toAfghanistan in March based in Nahr-e Saraj (South) with Malta Company, 1 MERCIAN, supporting 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles.
During his time in Afghanistan, his Fire Support Team has conducted dozens of joint patrols with the Afghan National Army to reassure the local population in Nahr-e Saraj and prevent intimidation of villagers by the insurgents. It was on one of these reassurance patrols in an area around Enezai Village when he was killed in action during a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces.
40 Commando Royal Marines
Corporal Stephen Curley was 26 years old; he was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Married to Kirianne, he lived in Exeter with their 5 month old son, William. He joined Royal Marines Recruit Training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines on 31 March 2003, passing for duty on 17 March 2004.
On completion of training he was drafted to Charlie Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines and subsequently deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 4 in 2004. 2006 saw his first deployment to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 5, serving with Lima Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines; during which he distinguished himself by saving a fellow marine's life. Further training with 42 Commando, on exercise in Northern Norway provided him with experience of operating in a mountain and cold weather environment.
40 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES
The Ministry of Defence confirm that Marine Scott Gregory Taylor, from Alpha Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 30 May 2010. Marine Taylor was killed as a result of an explosion which occurred when he and Alpha Company were conducting a foot patrol to help reassure the local population and to increase security within the area around Sangin.
Marine Scott Taylor joined the Royal Marines on 29 September 2007, aged 18. Prior to enlisting he completed his GCSEs and A-levels at Buxton Community School in his hometown of Buxton, Derbyshire. Following in the footsteps of his younger brother Liam, Marine Taylor passed for duty as a Royal Marines Commando on 29 September 2008.
Joining Alpha Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, he took part in numerous exercises, most notably TAURUS 09, the largest Royal Naval deployment in over 10 years, participating in ceremonial duties in Gibraltar and multinational exercises in Cyprus and Turkey. The exercise culminated in the Far East where he completed an arduous jungle warfare training package in Brunei.
40 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES
Marine Anthony Dean Hotine, from Alpha Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 2 June 2010 during the early morning as a result of an explosion which occurred when Alpha Company was conducting a joint reassurance patrol with the Afghan National Army in the area around Patrol Base Jamil, in the Sangin district of Helmand province.
Marine Anthony Hotine, 40 Commando Royal Marines
[Picture: via MOD
To reassure the local population in Sangin and to create a sufficiently secure environment for the Afghan Government to deliver vital services to their people, Alpha Company have been conducting numerous patrols partnered with the Afghan National Army over the last two months.
In the last few weeks, Alpha Company conducted a successful operation against an IED factory where a large number of IED components were discovered. The consent from the local nationals around Patrol Base Jamil has improved significantly, with IEDs being routinely pointed out by the Afghans during security patrols undertaken by Alpha Company.
1ST BATTALION THE MERCIAN REGIMENT (CHESHIRE)
Lance Corporal Alan Cochran was 23 years old and born in St Asaph, North Wales. He enlisted into the Army in 2006, was trained at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick and posted to the 1st Battalion The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment in 2007. He had previously served in Northern Ireland and on operations in Iraq.
LCpl Cochran's mother Mrs Shirley Jane Cochran; family said:
"Alan was a tremendous son. He was proud to be a soldier and died doing a job he loved. We are devastated by the loss of Alan who was a loving son, grand son and brother. We are proud of the fact that Alan was prepared to do his duty helping the people of Afghanistan."
LCpl Cochran's fiancée Claire Brookshaw said:
"I have known Alan for over 2 years. He was a fantastic fiancé. He has been a great part of my life and always will be. Sadly missed but never forgotten. Rest in peace Darlin, Love you always and forever."
1ST BATTALION THE MERCIAN REGIMENT (CHESHIRE)
Corporal Terry Webster was 24 years old and born in Chester. He enlisted into the Army in 2002 and joined the Corps of Royal Signals in 2003. He transferred to the 1st Battalion The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment in February 2006. He had previously served on operations in Northern Ireland and Iraq.
Cpl Webster's wife Charlotte, and his children Jess and Liam said:
"Tez was passionate, loyal and determined. He enjoyed the role he had in the Mercians but he was a family man at heart. He was a fantastic Dad to Jess and Liam and he was the perfect soul mate to me. Although this is a very sad time, Tez would want us to be positive.
"Remember the good times, the happy times. A lot of people's lives will be deeply affected by Tez's all too early departure. Life will never be the same for us."
3RD REGIMENT ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
Lance Bombadier Mark Chandler from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 8 June 2010. He was attached to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, serving as part of Combined Force Nad 'Ali and was killed in a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces in the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province.
Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was aged 32 and from Nailswoth, Gloucestershire. He joined the Army on 5 January 2004 aged 26 and was posted to M (HQ) Battery 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery based in Hohne, Germany.
Lance Bombardier Chandler deployed to Basra, Iraq on Op TELIC 7 as part of the Commanding Officer's Rover Group. Professional and conscientious, he was given the trusted position of Commanding Officer's driver upon his return to Germany, which he held for two years.
1ST BATTALION THE MERCIAN REGIMENT
The Ministry of Defence confirms that Private Jonathan Michael Monk from 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, attached to 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 9 June 2010.
Private Monk was caught in an explosion and killed during a foot patrol to clear an area of improvised explosive devices to increase local national freedom of movement.
Private Jonathan Monk was 25 years old and from London. He joined the Army in 2001 aged 16 and joined the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment following completion of basic training.
Initially in 6 Platoon, B Company he completed tours of Iraq in 2005 and Northern Ireland in 2006. Thereafter he moved to the Javelin Platoon for a further three years which included a tour of Afghanistan in 2008.
He left regular service in March 2009 to join the Fire Service. Due to a delay in the recruitment process he volunteered for mobilisation with the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) for the duration of Op HERRICK 12.
1ST BATTALION THE 22ND (CHESHIRE) REGIMENT
Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze was 31 years old and from Manchester. He enlisted into the Army in February 1996 and joined 1st Battalion The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland following completion of basic training. He has served in the United Kingdom and Cyprus, and on operations three times in Northern Ireland, twice in Iraq and also in Afghanistan. He successfully completed a Junior Non-Commissioned Officers' Cadre and was duly promoted to Lance Corporal in December 2002.
He deployed to Patrol Base 1 in the Babaji area of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan in March 2010 with B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) as part of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battlegroup, which forms Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South). The company has been tirelessly providing stability and security to the local population whilst promoting Afghan governance and economic growth. B (Malta) Company has improved the quality of the lives of hundreds of local nationals around the villages of Enezai and Char Coucha by providing much needed security and reassurance to the Afghans.
On 12 June 2010, during an operation to clear an area near to Check Point KINGSHILL in order to increase security around the military base, Lance Corporal Breeze was caught in an explosion and was killed in action.