The UK Government has announced that the next roulement of UK forces in Afghanistan will take place in April 2009. The force package will see the current lead formation, 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines, replaced by 19 Light Brigade which will command the majority of the units serving in Afghanistan, until October 2009, when it will be replaced by 11 Light Brigade.
Quite rightly there is much focus on those who die on operations while serving their country in Afghanistan - here at Defence Viewpoints we highlight every such incident and publish extensive eulogies to those who fall.
But we've also noted previously that there are a large number of wounded who don't get anything like the attention. Hedley Court does superb work, and is now getting more of the funds which, as a charity, it needs.
The MoD now quietly publishes on its website, slightly in arrears, details of non fatal casualties.
From 7 October 2001 to 15 June 2009, there were 168 deaths (132 KIA and 9 died of wounds)
There were 210 very seriously, and 673 seriously wounded and 2,488 field hospital admissions, resulting in 2,125 aeromed evacuations.
Just before the Summer Recess, Parliament dealt with Defence Questions. Here's the underlying Government brief on the current situation.
• Britain is in Afghanistan as part of one of the widest ever international coalitions, to protect democracy in Afghanistan, our own national security and global stability.
Private John Howard, aged 23, was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 17 April 1987. Having arrived in the United Kingdom he applied to join The Parachute Regiment and subsequently completed the Combat Infantryman's Course held at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, North Yorkshire.
On successfully passing out in November 2007, Private Howard was posted to 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) in Colchester. On joining the battalion he was posted to B Company and deployed to Afghanistan in March 2008 on Operation HERRICK 8. During his time with 3 PARA, he deployed on exercises in the Netherlands, Norway, Kenya and the USA. Throughout this period Private Howard served with distinction and was identified by his regiment as a potential high flyer with much to offer.
True to form, in April 2010 he volunteered for service with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force and successfully completed the Brigade Reconnaissance Force cadre, excelling during the demanding build-up training, before deploying on Operation HERRICK 13. During this time he qualified as a sharpshooter and a team medic.
Right from the outset of the tour he rapidly established himself as a leading personality in his section and platoon. His sense of humour and easygoing attitude made him an immensely likeable figure whose friendships with his comrades spanned both rank and age. He had been at the very forefront of all the Brigade Reconnaissance Force operations up to the point when his life was tragically taken.
All of those who knew Private Howard will be poorer for the loss of this engaging, compassionate and inspiring young man. He leaves behind his parents Roger and Anne, two sisters Charlotte and Isabella, and his girlfriend Sophie.
Ranger McCormick (22) came from Coleraine in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. On completion of his recruit training, he joined 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment at Tern Hill, Shropshire, in January 2008.
Ranger McCormick was posted to A Company, where he served with distinction for two-and-a-half years. His professionalism, selflessness and enthusiasm were well known across the Company and the Battalion. Aaron had served once before in Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 8, and was quickly identified as a quality soldier. Voluntarily, he took on the responsibility as the lead Vallon (mine detection) man. He would be the first man on any patrol, showing the strength of character and courage that he would come to be known for.
Faugh-A-Ballagh! ('Clear the way!'), is the Regiment's motto, and Ranger McCormick was a man who truly cleared the way.
Despite a relatively short time in the Army he was able to offer guidance and advice to the newest members of his unit, often over a brew and having a chat about 'Star Wars'; he was a huge fan.
Ranger McCormick was very well educated and had aspirations to complete a degree in education in the future, a career to which he would have been well suited.
Always ready with a smile, Ranger McCormick was always at the centre of the 'craic' and he will be sorely missed by all members of The Royal Irish Regiment. He leaves behind his mother Margaret, his father Lesley, his sisters Callie-Ann and Tammy, his brother Michael and his girlfriend Becky. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
Sapper William Blanchard
Sapper Blanchard, aged 39, from Gosport in Hampshire, joined 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), part of 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), in 2007. He completed his basic training and then his elementary explosive ordnance disposal course before volunteering for mobilisation in 2010.
Once mobilised he joined 61 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) for mission specific training in Woodbridge before deployment. A friendly, well-considered and down to earth individual, he was the cornerstone of the reservist element within the Task Force.
He aspired to attempt officer selection on completion of his operational service and was already showing many of the hallmarks of a great leader.
A radiation protection officer by profession, he gained a double honours degree in Chemistry with Organic Chemistry and a Masters in Biomedical Pharmacology at the University of Southampton.
He leaves behind a large family including his wife, Suzanne Blanchard, and his children, Tom and Lucy Rees-Blanchard, his father, The Reverend Canon Lawrence Blanchard, and six brothers, Tom, Dan and Ned Blanchard and John, Chris and Shane Sargeant.
Acting Corporal Barnsdale, from Tring in Hertfordshire, was 24 years old and joined the Royal Engineers in September 2002. Following his basic combat engineer training in Camberley, he completed his Class 2 air conditioning and refrigeration trade training at Chatham before being posted to Hohne in Germany.
His four years in 26 Armoured Engineer Squadron, part of 32 Engineer Regiment, saw him promote to Lance Corporal and complete operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. Posted to 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) in October 2009, he comfortably passed his role-specific training and quickly settled into his new discipline. At the top of his peer group and already an Acting Corporal, he was in line for promotion at the earliest opportunity.
An enthusiastic football player and sportsman, he enjoyed playing the game as much as supporting his team, Queens Park Rangers. A highly professional and sociable individual, he was well-liked by those who knew him. He leaves behind his mother Wendy, his father Stephen, his sister Vanessa and his girlfriend Helen.
The Ministry of Defence has today confirmed the name of Corporal Seth Stephens of the Royal Marines who was killed in southern Afghanistan on Thursday 1 July 2010. At the request of Corporal Stephens' family, no further information was released regarding his death in July. At their request, the Ministry of Defence have now issue have now issued the following tribute.
A spokesperson for the Royal Marines said:
"Cpl Seth Stephens was a truly popular man. He was blessed with the innate ability to brighten the darkest room; he also possessed a disarming sense of humour. Measured and thoughtful, his strength came from a depth of experience and knowledge that he was keen to share with others. Armed with a positive 'can do' approach to every task, he was a trusted friend and colleague. A team member he most certainly was, but it was as an individual that his true colours were best displayed. Never one to follow the well trodden path, he was confident in his own abilities and was always looking for new challenges."
"Above all else Seth was a doting husband and father. His absolute dedication and unfailing love for his family, was abundantly clear for everybody to see. He could always be relied upon to be there for his family and friends, whose needs he always placed before his own. Their loss is immeasurable and our condolences go to them. If there is some solace to be gained, it lies in knowing that Seth died doing the job he genuinely loved, alongside comrades that had the utmost admiration for him. At this tragic time our thoughts are with his family. We all hope that his family can draw strength, as we do, from the fond and lasting memories we all have of Seth; a father, husband, soldier and friend."
Sergeant Jones was born in Newport, South Wales, on 8 January 1975, and attended Lliswerry Comprehensive School before choosing to join the Royal Engineers.He completed basic training at the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn in February of 1998, before passing out of the Royal Engineers Combat Engineering Course in August of the same year.
He deployed to Kosovo with 31 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 32 Engineer Regiment, before being posted to the Royal Engineers Armoured Trials and Development Unit in Bovington Camp, Dorset. After this Sergeant Jones was posted to D Squadron, The Queen's Royal Lancers, as an Engineer Reconnaissance Troop Sergeant in February 2009.
His service with D Squadron saw him conducting demolition on ranges in Scotland, leading a team over the Yorkshire Three Peaks in 24 hours and overseeing the site reconnaissance and placing of bridges for The Queen's Royal Lancers Battle Group in British Army Training Unit Suffield, Canada, in 2009.
For his deployment to Afghanistan earlier this year he was placed in 1st Troop, Fondouk Squadron, The Queen's Royal Lancers, and immediately made a name for himself as a tirelessly efficient, sharp-witted and boundlessly enthusiastic individual; his performance on Operation HERRICK 12 was second-to-none.
Sergeant Jones was quick to fit into regimental life in Catterick; his sense of humour and dulcet Welsh accent made him popular with the troops and in the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess. An avid supporter of the Welsh rugby team, he was never more at home than when arguing over a referee's decision in a test match against England.
Above all, Sergeant Jones was a family man. He spoke endlessly of his wife Joanne, and children, Natasha, Caitlin and Liam, and of his plans for the future. While his professional focus was unquestioned, his heart remained with his family for the duration of his tour in Afghanistan.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Kingsman 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."
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.
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.
MARINE TONY EVANS
MARINE GEORGIE SPARKS
J COMPANY 42 COMMANDO
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.
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.
The two troops that lost their life over the weekend of 12-14th September have been named as Lance Corp Nicky Mason and Private Jason Lee Rawstron.
Lance Corporal Mason,26, a soldier from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, died on Saturday 13 September 2008 whilst on a routine patrol near Kajaki, in Helmand province as a result of an explosion, the cause of which is being investigated.
Sapper Ishwor Gurung was born in Pokhara, Nepal on 15 October 1988. Having passed selection for the Brigade of Gurkhas in Pokhara on 14 December 2007, he went on to complete initial infantry training in Catterick, North Yorkshire and Combat Engineer training at the Royal School of Military Engineering in Minley. He was subsequently posted to 69 Gurkha Field Squadron, part of 36 Engineer Regiment in Maidstone Kent and trained as a Bricklayer and Concreter.
Sapper Ishwor spent the last year preparing for this, his first operational tour. This included a large scale construction exercise in Devon and mission specific training in Ripon North Yorkshire. He excelled throughout these activities, proving not only his burgeoning professional knowledge but his keen desire to deploy on operations in Afghanistan. He was an outstanding sportsman and had represented 36 Engineer Regiment in Divisional cross country competitions and boxed for his Squadron.