101 Engineer Regiment

The Regiment is the only Royal Engineer Territorial Army Bomb Disposal Regiment. The Regiment is committed to NATO's Allied Command  Europe Rapid Reaction Corps and it has the mission to provide an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit, or individuals, as an essential part of the Army's order of battle.  The Regiment comprises of some 500 part time soldiers with a small regular army staff. The Regiment consists of four Squadrons based in  London (Catford & Holloway / White City) and the home counties (Rochester & Tunbridge Wells/ Reigate and Brighton).

 


- Corporal Jamie Kirkpatrick ]

101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment - Regimental Association

101 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers) ... MOD

The Royal Engineers, Bomb Disposal Officers Club


Corporal Jamie Kirkpatrick of 101 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), part of the Counter-IED Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 27 June 2010. Corporal Kirkpatrick was attached to the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, part of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, and was killed in a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. Corporal Jamie Kirkpatrick was 32 years of age. He was born in Edinburgh but lived Llanelli in South Wales. He enlisted in the Corps of Royal Engineers in September 1997 and following training as a Combat Engineer and trade training as a Plant Operator Mechanic, he was posted to 28 Engineer Regiment in Hameln, Germany. Over the next six years in Germany he qualified as a Class 1 Plant Operator Mechanic, promoted to Lance Corporal and deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC as a Plant Section Second-in-Command. After a spell at the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster he was promoted to Corporal in 2006. A tour as a Corporal instructor at the Royal School of Military Engineering in Chatham quickly followed and in 2009 he was posted to 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) where he successfully gained his Intermediate Explosive Ordnance Disposal qualification. In April 2010 he volunteered for a tour of Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 12, just as his Squadron was transferred to 101 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). He was attached back to 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) for the deployment to Afghanistan. Corporal Kirkpatrick was a member of the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, part of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force. His role was as the Number 2 in a Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Team, supporting the Bomb Disposal Operator. In Afghanistan he and his team started the tour in Lashkar Gah helping to increase the security of the area by disposing of Improvised Explosive Device constituent parts brought in by the Afghan National Police. In May 2010 he deployed to Kajaki in the Sangin District of Helmand Province to work with 40 Commando Royal Marines Battle Group and played a large part in increasing the freedom of movement for the local Afghans by removing Improvised Explosive Devices from key routes as well as conducting life-saving training to members of the Battle Group. Most recently the team moved to support the 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles Battle Group, Combined Force Nahr-E Saraj (South). On the evening of 27 June 2010, Corporal Kirkpatrick and his team were being held in reserve whilst a clearance operation was being carried out in order to increase security to an area around one of the Check Points. Corporal Kirkpatrick and his team were extracting from a compound to move back to Check Point KINGSHILL when the team came under attack from Insurgent small arms fire. A single round hit Corporal Kirkpatrick and despite immediate first aid he was sadly killed in action. He leaves behind his wife Heidi and their daughter Holly.

 

Corporal Kirkpatrick's family paid the following tribute: "Jamie was a larger than life individual who was loved, loyal and loud. A wonderful son. He was a proud soldier, friend, brother, husband and Daddy. "The family are devastated by their loss and are struggling to come to terms with the fact they will never see him again."

 

Lieutenant Colonel David Southall MBE Royal Engineers, Commanding Officer Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force said: "Corporal Jamie Kirkpatrick, or 'KP' to his mates, was a robust, humorous and professional Royal Engineer. "A Plant Operator Mechanic by trade, Corporal Kirkpatrick sought excitement, variety and challenge in his military career at every turn and no-one was surprised when he stepped up to train in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal role. "Deployed in the deadly fight against the Improvised Explosive Device threat, his diligence, coolness under pressure and total confidence in his abilities always shone through and his actions undoubtedly saved lives in Afghanistan. "KP was also a natural team player; always keen for a laugh, his irrepressible optimism made him incredibly popular within our tight-knit Counter-Improvised Explosive Device community. "His greatest passion in life, however, was his family. My heart goes out to his wife, Heidi and very young daughter, Holly, whose loss is unimaginable. "KP died doing something he loved, working to save the lives of others and liberate Afghanistan from the Improvised Explosive Device threat his sacrifice will not be forgotten." Lieutenant Colonel Aidan Smyth TD Royal Engineers, Commanding Officer 101 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) said: "Corporal Kirkpatrick's talent was quickly recognised: he passed his Junior Non-Commissioned Officer's Cadre in 2001 and was immediately promoted to Lance Corporal before being further promoted to Corporal in 2006. "Initially posted to 101 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) as a Plant Operator, he recognised the importance of the fight against Improvised Explosive Devices in Afghanistan and volunteered for training as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Number 2. "Corporal Kirkpatrick was an extremely professional soldier, an example to others and it is devastating that he should lose his life whilst doing the job he loved. "Our thoughts are with his wife Heidi and his young daughter Holly on their tragic loss. "Corporal Kirkpatrick will be sorely missed but always remembered by all ranks in 101 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)." Major David Croall, Officer Commanding Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group said: "The Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group has lost a fine soldier and friend in Corporal Jamie Kirkpatrick. "Born in Edinburgh but with Llanelli his home, he was tragically killed in action on 27 June 2010 at the age of 32 and will be deeply missed. "Corporal Kirkpatrick, or 'KP', first arrived in our Regiment early last year with an extensive background in construction and military engineer plant, and the Explosive Ordnance Device world was therefore new to him. "After beginning his training to become an Explosive Ordnance Device team Number 2, he fast became very passionate about the role and volunteered for service in Afghanistan. "Already a very capable section commander, KP was also an enormous support to his Bomb Disposal Operator as the team trained and deployed forward to deal with Improvised Explosive Devices. "He was a professional and courageous soldier who was in his element on operations with his team. "KP will be remembered as a very genuine and approachable man. "He quickly made a huge impression upon the rest of his Squadron and carried that through to his deployment with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group. "I will always remember his beaming smile and tremendous sense of fun, and he was sincerely adored within his team, troop and the unit. He was a big man with a big heart and a cool, mature head who was enthusiastic about life. "Morale was high whenever KP was around and he simply inspired. "The Group is stunned that Corporal Kirkpatrick has been taken from us. It has been a privilege to know him and we will not forget him. "We also know of the love of his family from both what he said and the pile of letters he received from home: our thoughts and sincere condolences go to his wife Heidi, young daughter Holly, parents and the rest of his family and friends." Major Simon Walden, Officer Commanding 22 Headquarters and Support Squadron said: "Corporal Kirkpatrick was a hugely popular and well respected Junior Non-Commissioned Officer within the Squadron. "He is praised as being a pleasure to work with and superb to work for. "In his job, he was very competent and professional, able to remain calm under pressure and maintain a strong team ethos within his section. "With a caring personality he was able to bring on his junior soldiers in a constructive manner. "A keen sportsman, he is also remembered for his strength, drive and teamwork on the pitch. "Corporal Kirkpatrick was a volunteer for deployment in the bomb disposal role. "He worked hard on a number of long courses to gain the necessary qualifications to be able to deploy on Operation HERRICK and he had relished the technical challenge of the role. "It is with great sadness that we receive the news of his death. "He will be remembered fondly by colleagues and friends within his Squadron and our thoughts go out to his family at this time." Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 (Quarter Master Sergeant Instructor) Dean MacMaster QGM, Troop Staff Sergeant, 1 Troop, 21 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) said: "Corporal Kirkpatrick was a member of 1 Troop, 21 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). "He was a loving husband to his wife Heidi and also a loving father to his daughter Holly to whom I can only send my heartfelt condolences. "I also send the sincere sympathies on behalf of every member of 1 Troop, for whom his loss is a bitter blow. "KP was one of the stalwarts of the Troop always to be found in and around the rest room even when seconded back to 22 Headquarters and Support Squadron for his digger skills. "His loyalty to the Troop was never called into question, except when the choice between family and social occasions had to be made. His family in Wales always won. "He was a man whose family and friends meant everything to him. "The Troop will miss a character that can never be replaced. He led from the front on everything he did and inspired all of those around him including his superiors a Sapper through and through. "KP was a soldier who lived for his job during the week and his family at the weekends. He will be missed by all those that have had the privilege of knowing him." Sergeant Scott Docherty, Troop Sergeant 21 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) said: "KP has been the back bone of our Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team for some time now it is my team but he ran it. "During any task, be it training or operational, I could ask for a piece of kit or something to be done and it was already there or already done. "His sense of humour was his strongest point, he could make you see the funny side of every situation, and with his sense of humour came his level-headedness, I regularly turned to him for a sanity check and I fully trusted his judgment. "He was a solar powered soldier, he named our team 'Team Handsome' and it stuck, we couldn't go anywhere unless we looked good and there was always time to top up our tans. "He leaves behind his daughter of 15 months, Holly and wife Heidi in Llanelli as well as his mum, dad, brother Ross and sister Claire. "He was devoted to them and was looking forward to teaching Holly to use the phone on his two week Rest & Recuperation so he could hear her say 'daddy'. "I am going to be lost without you buddy, but you still have to look after me. You will not be forgotten." Corporal Colin Reason, 21 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) said: "It was a great privilege and honour to have known and served with KP, one of the few people that no one had a bad word to say about. "This was down to his likeable character and ability to see the funny side of every situation, like when we were sitting in the cold and rain in Brecon he would always come up and sit by me with a big grin on his face and say: "Just think we're getting paid for sitting here, it's brilliant." "KP was an excellent soldier and loving husband and father, he was a true friend that will always be missed by everyone. "Rest in Peace mate." Corporal James Bedford, 36 Engineer Regiment said: "KP, loving husband to Heidi, doting father to Holly, true friend and consummate professional. "Never afraid to get his hands dirty he would lead by example and inspired those around him to better themselves. "When not making the world a safer place to live you could always be sure to find him bronzing himself in what can only be described as questionable attire. "KP will be sadly missed by all who knew him and I feel privileged to have worked alongside him. I'll miss you buddy." Corporal Christopher Cooper, 21 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) said: "KP was an outstanding friend that will always be sorely missed; he could always be heard having a laugh and a joke, picking everyone up when times got low. "It was an honour to have known and worked with such a good man, my thoughts go out to his wife Heidi and daughter Holly. "His catchphrase E.L.E. (Everybody Loves Everybody) will stay with me forever. "Rest in Peace friend." Lance Corporal Dominic Allwork, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps said: "KP, it was a privilege to have known you, my only regret was that it was for such a short time. "I learnt so much from you mate and I'll definitely take on board your bronzing tips. "Always calm, always composed - the type of man you could depend on. "KP I don't know how 'Team Handsome' will do without you mate, you will never be forgotten." Sapper Thomas Sykes, 21 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) said: "Corporal Kirkpatrick or KP to the lads, arrived in 21 Squadron around March 2009. "Straight away he gelled with 1 Troop like he'd been there for years. "He was a quality bloke who everyone respected as a soldier and as a friend; always there for whoever needed him and more than happy to give advice to the young lads whether to do with work or personal matters. "His catchphrase E.L.E. (Everybody Loves Everybody) would always boost spirits within the troop when morale was low. "I think back to the last time I saw him, in Kajaki when our teams were handing over. "We all went for a swim in the dam, me and the lads were jumping off the cliff into the water and for the life of us we couldn't get KP to jump off. "I will always remember that day and how happy and full of life KP was. "My thoughts are with his family, his wife and his daughter who he talked about and loved so much. "He will be missed by everyone that knew him. Rest in Peace mate." Sapper Desmond Leach, 101 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) said: "KP was an inspiration to me guiding 'Team Handsome' through good times and bad, through pre-deployment training and then into contact with the enemy. "Even with rounds whizzing past our ears every time we were in a sticky situation you could depend on KP for morale. "He'd pull a silly face and remind you to keep your head down. Always calm and smiling even when carrying heavy kit, following me across compound roofs and over walls. "I've only known KP a short while however he will leave a huge hole in everyone's lives. "I can only imagine how much KP's family will miss him. "KP was incredibly proud of his family back in Wales and talked about them incessantly. "We had Rest & Recuperation coming up and he was full of plans of what he was going to do at home and of the change he would see in his 15-month old daughter Holly. "KP had nicknamed his metal detector 'Holly' as a reminder of how careful he had to be whilst confirming devices. "Holly we will make sure that you know what a true hero your dad was.


[ Sapper William Blanchard ]

Sapper William Blanchard from 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), serving with the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 30 October 2010. Sapper Blanchard was killed as a result of a gunshot wound suffered whilst he was dealing with a suspect explosive device in the Nahr-e  Saraj (North) area of Helmand province. Sapper Blanchard deployed to Afghanistan on 17 September 2010 as part of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force. Trained to assist in the preparation and operation of explosive ordnance disposal equipment and the recognition and management of conventional munitions, he was part of an improvised explosive device destroy team operating in Helmand province. On 30 October 2010 his team was in the process of destroying a device when they were engaged by small arms fire. During the engagement Sapper Blanchard was struck by a bullet and died from the injuries he sustained. 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. Sapper Blanchard's wife, Mrs Suzanne Blanchard, said: "Will was a wonderful husband, son, brother, father, brother-in-law, son-in-law and friend. Sorely missed, always in our hearts, never forgotten by his devastated family, friends and colleagues and his beloved wife."

 

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Davis GM RLC, Commanding Officer Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, said: "Sapper Blanchard was a father figure to the younger elements of the squadron. He was always concerned with their development and welfare, always displaying an interest in what they were doing and always keeping them informed he was the consummate professional and it was not for nothing that he was known as the 'Colonel'! "He was a perfectionist but one who had endless patience with his fellow soldiers, he was both impeccable and irreplaceable; people like Sapper Blanchard only come along once in a blue moon. "Sapper Blanchard brought a wealth of knowledge and experience from his civilian employment into the Territorial Army and onwards into the C-IED Task Force; I clearly remember his unique brand of intellectual humour and his ability to 'read' the bigger picture which enabled him to place his vital contribution into context. "He had a laid back approach and oozed confidence which was delivered with inner steel. "He was a widely loved character who kept others going in times of adversity with his capacity to relate to people, to spread his knowledge and to care for them, and of course, he often made them step back in amazement with his enthusiasm for detail, be it reading instruction manuals or field testing the latest piece of EOD equipment to ensure that it 'did what it said on the tin'! "Our loss runs exceptionally deep; Sapper Blanchard has left a palpable void within the C-IED Task Force; he was a brave and selfless soldier who took time out from his civilian employment to commit himself to our country and to the future of Afghanistan. "He was always talking about his family and made his deep affection for them known to all. The heartfelt wishes, thoughts and prayers of the entire C-IED Task Force go out to his wife, Suzanne, his children, father and brothers at this painfully difficult time." Lieutenant Colonel Mark Budden MBE RE, Commanding Officer 101 (City Of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said: "The loss of Sapper William Blanchard has shaken the regiment deeply my heartfelt condolences go out to Sapper Blanchard's wife, children, parents and friends. An exceptional soldier, he was a highly committed and professional member of 101 Engr Regt (EOD). "His dedication to the Territorial Army, to his training and his desire to deploy on operations was an example to all those in his Squadron and Regiment. He was a role model to all that knew him. "Sapper Blanchard will be sorely missed, but always remembered, by all ranks in 101 Engr Regt (EOD)."  Major Rod Brown, Officer Commanding 61 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said: "Sapper William Blanchard epitomises the strength that the mobilised Territorial Army bring to the operational theatre. "An individual with a unique skill set, limitless enthusiasm and experience uncommon of his rank. I found the presence of the towering Sapper immediately consoling; he was able to engage with all levels of command, and drew the best from his team only resting once he knew that he had done all he physically could. "Despite being relatively new to Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Will's quest for perfection pulled his team together, making them one of the  most effective Destroy teams in the task force, and my first choice for some of the more challenging tasks. "At times his foresight and clarity of thought were so impeccable he would have made a creditable member of my command team, he truly was an officer in the making. "Despite his clear potential for a commission he was unequivocally focussed on the task in hand, he maintained a tangible desire to make a difference and was a leading light in difficult times. "Will's contribution to making Afghanistan a safer place will not be forgotten by those of us that have known him. "A genuine, widely respected and deeply valued member of the team, his loss is heart wrenching for those of us in his Squadron, and I cannot comprehend the grief his family must now be suffering. "My most sincere condolences go to his wife, Suzanne, his children, Tom and Lucy, his father, Lawrence, and his brothers, Tom, Dan, Ned, John, Chris and Shane."  Major Caroline Eyre, Officer Commanding 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "Sapper William Blanchard had been a member of 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers) for three years and was a highly professional and committed member of the Squadron. "He travelled a considerable distance from his home in Portsmouth to the Territorial Army Centre in Rochester in order to attend training, setting an example of dedication to his fellow Sappers. "Keen to deploy on operations, he undertook the training required to be part of a Conventional Munitions Disposal Team at the earliest opportunity. "Sapper Blanchard was a dependable and mature individual who could be relied upon to undertake his role in a conscientious manner and was due to attend the Potential Non-Commissioned Officer Cadre for promotion to Lance Corporal on his return from Operation HERRICK. "His quiet yet friendly manner ensured that Sapper Blanchard was well liked by all ranks and he had many close friends in the Squadron  who will miss him dearly. He was one of our own and he will never be forgotten. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who were close to him; his family, his friends and his team members." Captain Andy Abbott, Team Commander and Bomb Disposal Officer 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "I first met Will when I was the Sergeant Major Instructor in the Regiment in charge of recruiting. Will struck me then as an extremely intelligent, clever man. "He was keen to learn from the outset as a recruit and again after being posted into his troop. He should have gone for Officer Cadet selection but wanted to get experience as a Sapper first. "Our paths crossed again when I was instructing on his EOD course, again he would listen intently to the lectures and then come and track me down at the end and ask more questions. "Over the past months whilst training for this deployment, our small team has gelled and Will was an integral part of this team. "Always asking questions, he admitted to me that he couldn't help but think about everything he'd done, trying to improve. This, he told me was to the annoyance of his wife Sue. "He would come up with some crazy ideas, but annoyingly most of the time they worked! "A quiet man who could never be rushed, he loved his cup of tea in the morning and would not start work without it. He had become a good friend to me and Corporal Tony Field, helping Tony to write his diary and letters. We would sit down most days and chew the fat, talking about politics, work and me telling him about my holidays, trying to persuade him to take Sue to the Maldives when we got back. "He recently missed his second wedding anniversary because he was out here. "The day of his anniversary the phones were off-line during the day, so he stayed up until late that night hoping for them to come on-line so that he could speak to Sue on their special day. "His face was beaming when he came back to the room because he had managed to get hold of her. "A thoroughly lovely, thoughtful man who will be sorely missed by all. Cruelly and tragically taken from us, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and most of all, his wife, Suzanne." Captain Tom Roach, 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "Sapper Blanchard, came to 221 Field Squadron with a mission from the start. He wanted to support his Country on operations and was determined to reach his goal as soon as he could. Sapper Blanchard worked like a demon to achieve his aim, but simply revelled in the build up to operations. "He was an outstanding soldier of the highest calibre. He was respected by everyone that knew him because he was professional in every aspect of his soldiering. He will be truly missed by all that came to know him, no matter how short that time was. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very, very sad time. Quis Seperabit." Captain Ken Jones, Second in Command 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "I had the honour and the pleasure to know William. The Squadron and I were devastated to hear about his tragic death on Saturday. "I had the greatest respect for William and will miss him greatly. His generous nature and remarkable sense of humour was an example to others. William was a big man with a big heart; the squadron's gentle giant. We will always remember him. "His family are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you at this time." Warrant Officer Class 2 (Squadron Sergeant Major) Reyhan Fadil, said: "Everything about William was big, he was a big man. Had a big brain, always put in a big effort. He also had a big smile, and of course had a big heart. "He was very well liked, was a very popular soldier, very well respected, and everyone's friend. "Now he's moved on, he will leave a big void. Rest in peace big man." Quarter Master Sergeant Instructor Matthew Loughrey, 1 Troop Commander, said: "Will had been with 1 Troop, 221 Field Squadron for several years and was trained as a member of the Bomb Disposal Team prior to his deployment to Afghanistan. "I would describe Will as a gentle giant who led a private life; popular and well respected with both fellow sappers and the troop management. Will was a highly intelligent, mature and wise man who would always give you an educated opinion. "Always systematic in his approach and if facing a problem or given a challenge, he would always come up with a solution. Living in Portsmouth, Will would often do a 4 hour round trip to parade on a Tuesday evening showing true dedication and commitment to the Squadron and Territorial Army. "Ready to help or give worldly advice to anyone, Will was a true professional who looked forward to his deployment and relished the opportunity to gain experience. "A tragic loss, he will be greatly missed by his team and all in the Squadron, Regiment and Corps." Sergeant Ian Williamson, Bomb Disposal Officer 579 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "I first met Will on a TA training weekend when I taught him Battlefield First Aid. We met on subsequent weekends, on exercise, and I taught him on his Elementary Explosive Ordnance Disposal course before mobilisation. "He was a very intelligent man, always attentive and ready with a question. He would seek you out after a lesson just to reconfirm everything you had covered. "Will always had time for his mates, always ready to socialise over a cup of tea and help with advice on computers. "He got the nickname 'the Colonel' because being meticulous in everything he did could be exasperating. "He would check up on everything that was arranged, then read it back to you like battle orders. We laughed and took the mickey but he'll be missed, a thoroughly nice bloke." Corporal Adetokanbo Adefuye, friend and fellow Explosive Ordnance Disposal operator, 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "Will, words cannot express what you mean to us. You loved your family, cared for your friends and colleagues and took pride, perfection, joy and responsibility in everything you did. "You will be sorely missed by all of us; your friends, Squadron, Regiment and most importantly your much loved family. "Goodnight pal and may your gentle soul rest in peace." Lance Corporal Aaron Mitchell, friend and fellow Explosive Ordnance Disposal operator, 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "I have known Will for several years working together in our TA unit, 221 Field Squadron Royal Engineers (EOD); he was always hard working and professional in everything he did. "We both mobilised for Operation HERRICK 13 as part of the Counter IED Task Force and it was when we began pre-deployment training together, spending every day practically living in each others' pockets, that I realised how hard he worked at every job to give the best of his ability. "He was friendly, supportive and always put others first. Will's sense of humour was a bit bizarre at first but that was what made him the character he was. "He will be dearly missed and has done his country proud. My thoughts go out to his family after such a loss. I will miss you buddy." Lance Corporal Mitchell Rix, friend and fellow Explosive Ordnance Disposal operator, 221 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "'The Colonel' to his friends but to those in charge Sapper William Blanchard, the only Sapper to be paid more than the Colonel. He was called the Colonel because of his ability to brief and debrief any rank. "This was due to his civvy job; he just forgot he was not in charge. But this made him the most fastidious person I have ever met. If there was something geeky you needed to know he was the man to go to. "He needed to know the ins and outs of everything before he set about doing anything. "Will was a straight up person, more of the officer type, he did not tolerate fools but he never offended people in the same regard; he was one of life's genuine people. "I have learned this over the year or so that I have known Will, and in the last six months I have spent more time and gone out for more meals with him than with my wife. "I can say he was out here for his own reasons which were the love and enthusiasm of the job he was doing. He was a life friend to me, a bond that cannot be broken and will be dearly missed by myself and everyone he had touched in his life." Sapper Christian Mulrooney, friend and Royal Engineers Search Team member, 217 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (Volunteers), said: "In six months I have befriended one of the best Sappers I've known in almost six years of service. Will, as he would have us know him, was a man of great character and strength, who showed endless patience to all around him. "From him I have learned so much and am heart broken he has been taken from us all so suddenly. "I feel for all who knew him as they have lost someone who cannot and will never be replaced. "If I were to detail all his strengths I would run out of time, I simply cannot impress upon you how great a man he was. "Ages will pass before I can close this wound his death has inflicted upon me. Will, you will not be forgotten."