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obituaries

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.

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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.

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LanceSergeantDaleMcCallumLance Sergeant Dale Alanzo McCallum was born in Hanover, Jamaica. He was 31 years old, was a father to Kevin, a son to Lurline and Paul and a brother to Sandra, Rodney, Denise, Milissa and Montel.

He enlisted in the Army in June 1998 and, having completed his infantry training at Pirbright and Catterick, joined 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Germany in March 1999.

Lance Sergeant McCallum quickly gained a reputation for being an immensely strong, fit and robust individual.

He deployed to Kosovo in 1999 and then to Iraq in 2003 with 1st Battalion Irish Guards Battlegroup. His huge potential was quickly identified and he was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal in September 2002, having successfully passed a Junior Non Commissioned Officer's Cadre.

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MarineAdam_BrownMarine Adam Brown joined the Royal Marines in October 2004 and passed for duty as a Royal Marines Commando in September 2005.

He was born in Frimley, Surrey and was 25 years old; he lived in Burtle, near Glastonbury, with his wife Amy, whom he married in December 2009.

On completion of Commando Training he was drafted to Alpha Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines and immediately deployed to Iraq for three months.

He subsequently deployed on numerous exercises, including jungle warfare training in Sierra Leone, before he specialised as a signaller in 2007.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines

Marine Steven James Birdsall was born on the 6 October 1989. He lived in Warrington with his parents and younger sister, Melissa. In December 2007 he joined the Royal Marines, aged 18, passing for duty as a Royal Marines Commando on the 7 November 2008.

On completion of training he attended the Defence School of Transport in Leconfield where he gained his full range of driving licences, including his HGV driver qualification. He joined 40 Commando Royal Marines in January 2009.

Shortly after, he deployed with Delta Company on Exercise TAURUS; a large scale amphibious deployment, taking him through the Mediterranean to the Far East and culminating in a jungle warfare package in Brunei.

In September 2009 he moved to Bravo Company and conducted six months of Mission Specific Training for this operational tour with 40 Commando to Afghanistan. He deployed to Helmand in April 2010 and was based at Patrol Base EZERAY, in northern Sangin.

Bravo Company has conducted numerous joint operations with the Afghan National Security Forces aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary Afghans by improving security and increasing their freedom of movement.

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1st BATTALION, THE DUKE OF LANCASTER'S REGIMENT

COMBINED FORCE NAD-E ALI

Kingsman Ponipate Tagitaginimoce was born in Nausori, in Fiji, on 24 November 1980. He joined the Army in March 2005, initially serving with the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment before its amalgamation on 01 July 2006. Throughout his time in the Army, Kingsman Tagitaginimoce served with distinction, including several operational deployments to Iraq. He was an exceptional soldier, one who thrived in any environment and who was professional to his very core. Experienced, with real dedication to duty and with strong moral values, he was the epitome of a Kingsman - ready to do his duty, to set the best of examples, to put others before himself and with a smile never far from his lips.

Kingsman Tagitaginimoce had only been in the Reconnaissance Platoon for a short period of time, but he had already quickly established himself as an integral, and highly popular, member of the Platoon. His professional skills and tactical knowledge were second to none and he enjoyed the challenges that life in the Battalion's most respected, and physically, demanding role brought. A quiet and thoughtful soldier, Kingsman Tagitaginimoce was an immensely loyal and honourable individual. He was a man whose family and friends meant everything to him. He was a highly accomplished and very talented rugby player; his love and passion for the game well known by all. An outstanding soldier, a gifted sportsman who was at his happiest when with his family.

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1st BATTALION, THE DUKE OF LANCASTER'S REGIMENT

COMBINED FORCE NAD-E ALI

Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai, known to all as 'Rocco', was born in Nausori, in Fiji, on 23 January 1978. He joined the Army in July 2000, initially serving with the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment before its amalgamation on 01 July 2006. Throughout his time in the Army he served with distinction, on numerous operations including Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a highly experienced and dedicated Junior Non Commissioned Officer - one who excelled when in command.

He had a tough yet compassionate style and was destined to do well in an environment that he loved. Just before deploying to Afghanistan, he attended and achieved a strong pass on the Platoon Sergeant's Battle Course and he was on course to promote to Sergeant in the near future Corporal Rogoiruwai relished being in the Army. He possessed loyalty 'in spades' and he had an absolute dedication to the Regiment, to the Battalion, to his Company and to the men he served with. He was quietly confident - a man who did not speak unless he had something important to say. He had a ready smile, a wonderful sense of humour and a grin that reached from one side of his face to other. He was well known and respected across the Battalion as a soldier and as a friend. He was a  wife, Olivia and his young son, Maciu. He loved them dearly. He was also an accomplished and talented sportsman, representing British Army Cyprus at his beloved rugby and the Battalion on numerous occasions at Bobsleigh.

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THE ROYAL DRAGOON GUARDS

VIKING GROUP, D (THE GREEN HORSE) SQUADRON

Trooper Ashley Smith was 21 years old. Born and raised in York, he enlisted into the Army on 17 March 2008 and attended Phase 1 training at the Army Training Regiment (Winchester) before moving to the Armour Centre in Dorset to train as a Challenger 2 Gunner. He passed out from Phase 2 training in November 2008 and moved straight to Catterick to join The Royal Dragoon Guards. He was posted to D (The Green Horse) Squadron, equipped with Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks.

He participated in low level exercises around Catterick and then deployed to Canada as part of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards Battle Group on Exercise Medicine Man 2, where he was employed as the Troop Leader's Gunner. On return from Canada, Trooper Smith's Squadron was selected to become the Viking Group for Operation HERRICK 12.

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BRAVO COMPANY, 40 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES

Marine Richard Hollington was 23-years-old, he lived near Petersfield, Hampshire, with his parents and younger brothers Nick and Charlie. Prior to joining the Royal Marines he played semi professional football for Fareham Town Football Club.

Completing Royal Marines training in September 2008, he attended the Defence School of Transport, Leconfield, gaining his full range of driving licences. Joining Delta Company 40 Commando Royal Marines in December 2008, he deployed in the New Year on Exercise Taurus; the largest Royal Naval deployment in over ten years. Serving both afloat and ashore he participated in a number of multinational exercises in Cyprus and Turkey.

The exercise culminated in the Far East, where he experienced the rigours of a jungle warfare training package in Brunei. On return to the UK he joined Bravo Company prior to beginning Mission Specific Training for Op HERRICK 12. He deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in April 2010, where he was based at Patrol Base Ezeray.

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CHARLIE COMPANY, 40 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES

Marine Paul Warren was born in Preston and lived with his family in Leyland, Lancashire. He was 23 years old.

He joined the Royal Marines on 22 May 2006, and on completion of recruit training was drafted to 45 Commando Royal Marines, based in Arbroath, Scotland, joining on 26 June 2007.

In January 2008 he deployed with 45 Commando to northern Norway for two months of cold weather warfare training.

Later that year he completed Mission Specific Training in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 9 in September 2008. He served with Whiskey Company, 45 Commando, in Sangin, at Forward Operating Base JACKSON and Patrol Base TANGIERS.

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CHARLIE COMPANY, 40 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES

Lance Corporal Michael Taylor was 30 years old and lived in Rhyl with his partner Sonia and their three children; Ethan, Wesley and Charlton. A former British Army soldier, he joined the Royal Marines on the 26 April 2004. After passing for duty as a Royal Marines Commando he joined 45 Commando, based in Arbroath, Scotland.

During his first draft he took the opportunity to serve with Naval Party Iraq as part of the Operation TELIC Force Protection Team before returning to 45 Commando in January 2007. A second draft saw him remain in Scotland while he served with Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines until January 2009. On completion of this draft he specialised within the Anti-Tank Branch qualifying as a Heavy Weapons (Class 3) Marine. Returning to 45 Commando he subsequently deployed on Operation HERRICK 9 serving in Kajaki with Victor Company.

From 45 Commando he joined Charlie Company 40 Commando Royal Marines in November 2009, and immediately began Mission Specific Training for Operation HERRICK 12. Quickly promoting to Lance Corporal he deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in March 2010, where he was based. Charlie Company has been responsible for the security around the Sangin area and has conducted dozens of patrols in support of the local nationals.

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40 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES

Sergeant Steven William 'Darbs' Darbyshire was 35 years old. He was born in Wigan, and it was there that he lived with his partner Kate and their two young sons Ryan and Callum.

He was a great fan of sports, particularly football and golf, but especially rugby: earlier in his career he represented the Corps as a rugby league player.

Joining the Royal Marines in 1996, he was drafted to 40 Commando Royal Marines on completion of his commando training.

This first draft saw him serve an operational tour in Northern Ireland before choosing to specialise in the Heavy Weapons (Air Defence) branch.

Serving with Air Defence Troop he deployed to Iraq in 2002 on Operation TELIC. He was selected for promotion, passing his Junior Command Course in 2003 and subsequently promoted to corporal.

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1ST BATTALION, THE MERCIAN REGIMENT

POLICE ADVISORY TEAM

Private Alex Isaac was 20 years old and from the Wirral. Following training at the Army Training Regiment in Bassingbourn and the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick he joined the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) on 12 May 2008.

He served in the United Kingdom and Kenya and on operations in Afghanistan.

Following Mission Specific Training in readiness for deployment on Operation HERRICK 12, he moved from C Company to B (Malta) Company.

Soon after deployment he formed part of a team tasked with advising the Afghan National Police in Gereshk City, Helmand Province. The Police Advisory Team has been providing assistance to the Afghan Police in order to enhance their effectiveness and promote local security, economic development and the rule of law.

On 23 June 2010, following an incident at a Police Check Point near Gereshk, Private Isaac's team, along with the Afghan National Police, deployed as a Quick Reaction Force in support of their Afghan colleagues.

The vehicle in which he was travelling overturned into the Nahr-e-Bughra Canal. At approximately 2208hrs local, Private Alex Isaac died in the incident alongside three of his colleagues from the Police Advisory Team - Colour Sergeant Horton, Lance Corporal David Ramsden and Private Douglas Halliday.

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