29 Commando Regiment  Royal Artillery



Lance Bombardier James Dwyer, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery


[ Lance Bombardier James Dwyer ]

[ Lance Bombardier James Dwyer ]


Lance Bombardier James Dwyer killed Wednesday 27 December 2006, in southern Helmand province, Afghanistan... Lance Bombardier Dwyer, aged 22, was killed when the vehicle he was driving struck an anti-tank mine whilst on a patrol in southern Helmand.

James Dwyer was born and raised in South Africa before joining the Army in July 2003. Having completed his basic and specialist military training, he joined 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery in June 2004.  Upon successful completion of the Commando Course, he was posted to, and subsequently deployed on operations with, 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery Royal Artillery, based in Arbroath, Scotland. Lance Bombardier Dwyer, known as ‘Doobs’ to his friends and colleagues, was a professionally outstanding soldier and had already shown the potential for a long and successful career in the Military.  He was enormously proud of being both a Commando and a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer. Respected by his superiors, peers and subordinates alike, he took his responsibilities very seriously and was always quick to mentor those less experienced than him.  James had proven himself a versatile and dedicated soldier whilst deployed on exercises both in the UK and Norway, as well as on operations in Afghanistan. A bright and intelligent young man with an infectious sense of humour, Lance Bombardier Dwyer could be relied upon to be at the forefront of any activity. He had a passion for worldwide travel and the excitement of visiting new countries. He was also an enthusiastic sportsman; excelling at squash in particular, for which he represented both the Royal Artillery and the Army. Very much a family man, James spoke often of home and was especially close to his sister, also a serving soldier in the British Army. Paying tribute to Lance Bombardier Dwyer, his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson RA, said: "James was a bright, motivated young man who displayed all the characteristics of a commando soldier. He was extremely popular within the Regiment and undoubtedly would have progressed through the ranks rapidly.  "James will be missed sorely by all members of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, and our thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends at this very difficult time."


Lance Bombardiers Ross Clark and Liam McLaughlin

[ Lance Bombardiers Ross Clark and Liam McLaughlin ]

Left

Lance Bombardier Ross Clark and  Lance Bombardier Liam McLaughlin,  both 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

The two soldiers, who were friends and colleagues, died during a rocket attack in the Sangin area of Helmand province on Saturday 3 March 2007.

[ Lance Bombardier Ross Clark ]

Lance Bombardier Ross Clark Born in Zimbabwe on 18 July 1981, Lance Bombardier Ross Clark was brought up in South Africa before joining the British Army in April 2002. Following his basic and specialist military training, he volunteered for service with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, passing the Commando Course in March 2003 and proceeding directly to war-fighting operations on the Al Faw Peninsula in Iraq. In November 2004, he was posted to 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery Royal Artillery, read more on Wikipedia following completion of their arduous selection course. An exceptionally gifted soldier, Lance Bombardier Clark had proved his mettle on operations, as well as on exercises in Norway, Belize and the United States. Enormously strong and physically capable, he took the harshest of conditions in his stride, and strove resolutely to complete any task to the absolute limits of his ability. He did not take his role as a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer lightly and invested considerable effort into mentoring those less experienced than him. Renowned within the unit for his unwavering professionalism, he was set for a highly promising career within the Royal Artillery, with further promotion a certainty upon return from operations. Lance Bombardier Clark was also an accomplished triathlete; indeed, some measure of his unwavering determination can be gleaned from his repeated attempts last year to secure funding for a new race bike from the Regimental Second in Command – an individual renowned for his knotted purse strings. "Ross was a determined, intelligent and motivated young man who epitomised the standards of professionalism against which we measure ourselves." Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson, Royal Artillery Equally, some might have questioned his suitability for military parachuting as, during his Basic Course, he plummeted from the skies, entangled in someone else’s parachute. None would have questioned his resolve, however, as he dusted himself off, shrugged his shoulders and cracked on with the next serial. In quiet moments, Lance Bombardier Clark spoke often of his family in South Africa, to whom he clearly was very close. He saw his time in the United Kingdom as an opportunity to explore another part of the world, and spent much of his free time visiting its sights and cities, often catching up with old friends from South Africa, including fellow members of the Regiment. Lance Bombardier Clark deployed to Afghanistan on operations in September 2006, and from the outset, performed exactly as expected. Utterly reliable and generous in spirit, Ross will be sorely missed in the Regiment. In the words of his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson RA: "Ross was a determined, intelligent and motivated young man who epitomised the standards of professionalism against which we measure ourselves. He was extremely popular within the Regiment and had already begun a rapid progression through the ranks.  "It is particularly poignant that his Battery should lose two of its members on the day that it celebrates its battle honour, and the entire Regiment is profoundly saddened by his loss. Our thoughts are very much with his family and friends at this terrible time.”


[ Lance Bombardier Liam McLaughlin ]

Lance Bombardier Liam McLaughlin, known simply as 'Paddy' to all who served with him, was born on 17th December 1985, and was brought up in Lancashire. He enlisted in the Army in September 2002, spending a year at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate before joining 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery in November 2003.

Having passed the All Arms Commando Course at his first attempt, securing the right to his Green Beret, Lance Bombardier McLaughlin spent a brief period based at the Regimental Headquarters in Plymouth before moving to 148 Commando Forward Observation Battery Royal Artillery, a detached sub-unit based in Poole, Dorset, in November 2004. It was here that he really made his mark, deploying on exercises to Norway, Belize, Senegal and the United States as well as gaining his Military Parachute Wings and, in August 2005, promotion to Lance Bombardier. His performance on the Novice Cold Weather Warfare Course in Norway summed up his qualities as a soldier perfectly – everyday loading up his kit with far more than his fair share of equipment, before setting off, somewhat optimistically, on skis that he could barely control. Amazingly, the inevitable concussion took almost three weeks to occur, and even then did absolutely nothing to moderate his behaviour. Paddy only had one setting, and that was throttle fully on. With his ready smile, indomitable spirit and boundless energy, Lance Bombardier McLaughlin was superb company, and much loved for it. His ability to get into scrapes was both hair-raising and legendary. Above all, he was fiercely loyal - all you could wish for in a colleague, and he won friends and admirers in equal measure, accordingly. "Paddy was a real character, that rare combination of natural verve and determined professionalism that is an absolute pleasure to be around." Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson, Royal Artillery

Never happier than when he was busy, he was not one to sit around in his room. He spent his weekends coaxing a barely functional campervan around the country in search of surf, his holidays scouring foreign shores in search of more of the same, and his weekdays driving Sergeant Majors to distraction with his pointedly non-regulation sideburns. Deploying to Afghanistan in September 2006, Lance Bombardier McLaughlin proved himself a versatile and highly effective soldier on operations. Cheerful, selfless and profoundly loyal, he will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege to serve with him.  Speaking on behalf of the Regiment, his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson RA, said: "Paddy was a real character, that rare combination of natural verve and determined professionalism that is an absolute pleasure to be around. He was an extremely popular young soldier, and undoubtedly had a bright future ahead of him. He leaves a void that will be felt by the entire Regiment, who are deeply shocked to a man. "That he should be lost alongside his fellow team-member and friend, Lance Bombardier Ross Clark, is particularly saddening, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time."


Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael Smith

[ Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael Smith ]

Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael Smith from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 8 March 2007.

After almost 22 years of military service, WO2 Michael 'Mick' Smith, aged 39, died from injuries sustained when a grenade was fired at the UK base in Sangin, Helmand Province.

Michael Smith, from Liverpool, joined 29 Commando Read more Regiment Royal Artillery in 1987, having enlisted with the Army two years previously. Passing the All Arms Commando Course with ease, he was posted to 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery Royal Artillery in Royal Marines Condor, Arbroath, a detached sub-unit of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. During his time with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery he deployed on operations to Northern Ireland, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, some of them on more than one occasion, as well as on exercises to Brunei, Canada, Kenya, France and Norway. Never afraid of challenging convention and always at the front in all he did, WO2 Smith was an inspiration to his subordinates, peers and commanders alike, particularly when deployed in the field, an environment in which he thrived. His unwavering professional attitude to soldiering on operations, coupled with his rugged and hard approach to training, ensured he was always ready and willing to volunteer his services, whatever the risks or dangers. Thriving on Service life, WO2 Smith became extremely well qualified in many outdoor pursuits, including rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing and parachuting. As an instructor in these pursuits he especially enjoyed imparting his knowledge in a caring, diligent and patient manner to many young soldiers over the years. Undoubtedly one of the most professional soldiers 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery has ever seen, his loyal character and his physical bearing and presence belied an intelligent and private individual. He placed a great deal of emphasis on his family, in particular his mother, to whom he was especially devoted. WO2 Smith deployed to Afghanistan on operations in September 2006, working as the Team Commander of an artillery and air support observation party in support of fighting in Helmand Province.  "He defined the levels of professionalism and commando ethos that we demand of all our soldiers, and his loss is an enormous blow to every one of us." Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson RA

A cornerstone of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, he will be sorely missed by all who have worked alongside him over the years, both within the Regiment and the wider Brigade.  Speaking on behalf of the Regiment, his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson RA, said: "Sergeant Major Smith was an indomitable character and an institution both within his Battery and the wider Regiment. He defined the levels of professionalism and commando ethos that we demand of all our soldiers, and his loss is an enormous blow to every one of us. Our thoughts lie firmly with his family and friends at this time of great sorrow."


Lieutenant Aaron Lewis

[ Lieutenant Aaron Lewis ]

Lieutenant Aaron Lewis who was killed whilst on operations in Afghanistan on 15 December 2008. Lieutenant Aaron Lewis was killed in action in a Forward Operating Base near Gereshk in central Helmand whilst deployed on operations with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. Lt Lewis was fatally wounded when the gun position he was commanding came under attack. He was flown to hospital in Kandahar but died shortly after arrival.  Lt Aaron Lewis was born in Essex on 4 December 1982. A 2:1 Graduate of Sports and Exercise Science from Loughborough University, he looked to satisfy his thirst for adventure and a physical challenge by joining the Army. He passed out of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in April 2007. After completing the Royal Artillery Young Officers' Course he was posted to 29 Commando Regiment in Plymouth. Despite suffering a knee injury he showed incredible determination to pass the arduous All Arms Commando Course in June 2008. He deployed with  his gun troop to Afghanistan in October 2008.

Lt Lewis excelled at sports and was particularly keen on rugby, at which he represented Loughborough University. At Sandhurst, he qualified as a Mountain Leader Trainer and was in the process of organising an adventurous training expedition to France. Before joining the Army he was a physical training instructor which was evident from his determined approach to exercise and his keenness to involve his entire troop in physical training. He was well known for leading 'spinning' classes which often tired out the toughest commandos under his command. Lt Lewis was a natural leader whose selfless attitude was evident in all he did. In a short space of time he built up a strong reputation as an able officer. He was a proud family man and was full of appreciation for his parents (Barry and Helen), realising that their hard work had given him the launch pad for the life upon which he was embarking. Through his charm he met his girlfriend Naomi and she soon became an inseparable part of his life. His loss will be felt for many years to come. Lt Colonel Neil Wilson Royal Artillery, Commanding Officer, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "From the moment he arrived in 29 Commando Regiment it was apparent that Aaron was someone very special. We were all immediately struck by his maturity, professionalism and determination, the latter point being proven as he fulfilled a personal ambition of passing the Commando Course, despite suffering a bad knee injury. He frequently brought calmness to difficult situations, reassuring people by his presence and showing cheerfulness in adversity – a true Commando trait. "He led his men from the front, his passion and vigour constantly on display, with the welfare of his soldiers always at the forefront of his mind; he genuinely cared for them. He was a lively mess character and if there was something going on there, he was usually at the centre of it. Always ready and willing to assist anyone who needed it, he quickly became popular with his witty conversation and engaging banter. He will be greatly missed by us all and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time." Major Rob Alsworth Royal Artillery, Battery Commander, 79 (Kirkee) Battery, said: "Lieutenant Aaron Lewis was commanding F Troop, 79 (Kirkee) Commando Battery Royal Artillery. He was the young officer we all wished we could be, combining dedicated professionalism with an infectious thirst for fun and adventure. He threw himself into his career and loved commanding soldiers. A popular Troop Commander and natural leader, he fought hard to achieve the very best for his men and this evident compassion for his team was repaid with genuine respect. Whether being pushed to the limits on the All Arms Commando Course or on operations commanding F Troop, he inspired the very best from his men. "Aaron was motivated by all things active. He was in the midst of organising a diving expedition to introduce himself and his soldiers to yet another new challenge. Aaron was at the centre of all things social, frequently organising Mess parties. He was excellent at making new members and guests feel immediately at ease, usually with the help of Tequila!"  Warrant Officer Class 2 Greg Hamer Royal Artillery, Troop Sergeant Major, 79 (Kirkee) Commando Battery, said: "Having passed his Commando Course and earned the right to wear the coveted Green Beret, he was given the command of F Troop, 79 (Kirkee) Commando Battery, for Operation Herrick 9. He showed professional leadership, dedication, enthusiasm, cheerfulness and selfless commitment; his approach to command and leadership was exemplary. With his high standards he was always approachable and willing to help with Troop matters,  whatever the time of day. His enthusiasm for the welfare of the men under his command was a true mark of his character and selfless commitment to achieve the best for all the men in the Troop. His passion was physical training, with his legendary 'spinning classes', which were never an easy session. With robustness and determination he led from the front in true Commando spirit. His strong, cheerful character will be missed by all." Captain Alex Fries Royal Artillery, Officer Commanding, Commando Training Wing, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Aaron took his job very seriously, but never took himself seriously. He was one of my closest friends in the regiment – he was the kind of man who made a night out into a great night out through his infectious enthusiasm for any undertaking; the more absurd the better, including fancy dress. "I knew him before he came to the regiment and whilst he was on the Young Officers' Course. He would constantly harass me for advice about the Commando Course, for which he thrashed himself in preparation. I know how disappointed he was after he got injured on his first attempt, but by overcoming this, and completing the course, he extolled the virtues of a Commando Officer. "He was devoted to his girlfriend, Naomi, and my thoughts are with his parents and her at this time." Statement made by Lt Aaron Lewis's family: "Aaron was a beloved son, brother, boyfriend and uncle and the feeling of loss will never leave us. But our proud memories of him will live on forever. Aaron will rest peacefully knowing that he was helping others and saving lives so that other families will not have to go through what we, as a family, are at this time. Aaron constantly achieved everything that he set out to do and, in joining the Army, committed everything he had to a cause that he truly believed in. We are so proud of Aaron as a person and an officer and he knew how much his family loved him even though we couldn't be there to help when he needed us most. His loss will always be a painful memory but, in time, we will celebrate his strengths and that he will be remembered as a hero. We only hope that people will recognise the selfless act that our soldiers undertake to protect our country, so that future  generations don't have to suffer."

Afghan hero Lt Aaron Lewis's funeral in Southend 12:10am Wednesday 24th December 2008 HUNDREDS of mourners packed out a church to say goodbye to a fallen hero. On a wave of sentiment, pride and love, the family and friends bade farewell to Lieutenant Aaron Lewis, the Rochford soldier killed in Afghanistan, aged 26.

St Mary’s Church in East Street, Prittlewell, was awash with emotion as time after time, those who had known him well rose to acclaim a true friend, a brilliant soldier and a fun-loving young man.


Captain Tom Sawyer

[ Captain Tom Herbert John Sawyer  ]

 

 

 

Captain Tom Herbert John Sawyer Royal Artillery and Corporal Danny Winter Royal Marines (45 Commando) were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 14 January 2009. Captain Tom Sawyer (left) and Corporal Danny Winter Both were killed in an explosion while taking part in a joint operation with a Danish Battle Group and the Afghan National Army north east of Gereshk in central Helmand.

Both were killed in an explosion while taking part in a joint operation with a Danish Battle Group and the Afghan National Army north east of Gereshk in central Helmand. They were members of a fire support team that was engaged in an operation to clear compounds in a known Taliban stronghold. Two other members of the patrol were injured in the explosion. Captain Tom Herbert John Sawyer, Royal Artillery Captain Tom Sawyer was serving with 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. He was in Helmand province deployed on operations as a Fire Support Team Commander attached to Zulu Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines. Capt Sawyer, from Hertfordshire, was born on 20 January 1982. He was educated at Watford Grammar and Rickmansworth schools and, as a teenager, was a cadet with the Air Training Corps in Watford. A keen sportsman with a passion for outdoor pursuits, Tom decided at an early age to pursue a career in the Armed Forces. Settling on the Army, he was selected for training as an officer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and successfully passed out earning the Queen's Commission as a Second Lieutenant in April 2002. The next step in his career saw him selected by the Royal Regiment of Artillery for Young Officer training. On completion, he was posted to 32 Regiment Royal Artillery (subsequently 39 Regiment) as a Troop Commander. After this tour, Tom was posted to the Army Training Regiment at Pirbright where his flair for instruction and ability to communicate with all ranks were assets that helped him to excel. His final posting, to 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, came in September 2006, just in time for deployment to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 5. On Operation Herrick 5, Capt Sawyer was given command of an Afghan National Army outstation with a remit to oversee and facilitate Afghan Army mentoring and training. This responsibility again played to his strengths and he received a Brigade Commander's Commendation for his performance under incredibly testing circumstances. On returning to the UK, he immediately passed the All Arms Commando course and in so doing earned the right to wear the Green Beret of Commando forces. Assigned to 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery based in RM Condor, Arbroath, Capt Sawyer was appointed Battery Training Officer and charged with preparing his unit for its return to Afghanistan in October 2008. As the training officer, Capt Sawyer organised and delivered a first class pre-deployment training package that ably prepared 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery for operations; the high standards achieved by the men of the battery since bear testament to his endeavours. Robust, fit and ever determined, Capt Sawyer was a keen sportsman who recently organised and led the Regimental Telemark Ski Team to compete at Army level in Austria. Looking to the future and the welfare of the men under his command, he had also planned to take his soldiers adventure training in Cyprus on completion of Op Herrick 9. Socially, Capt Sawyer was a dynamo of good humour and fun; his company being thoroughly enjoyed by officers and soldiers alike. His intelligent wit and pleasant persona made him approachable by all ranks and one of life's great characters. His death is a huge loss to the men of his Battery, his Regiment, 3 Commando Brigade and the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Capt Sawyer is survived by his wife Katy, whom he married in March 2008, his parents Martyn and Susan and sister Wendy. Tom's family paid the following tribute: "Tom was the best husband, son and brother we could ever have asked for. He deeply loved his family and friends and his infectious personality touched all those who knew him. Dedicated to the army and his lads; he was loyal, loud and loving. He will leave a big hole in all of our lives but will always be remembered as our hero."

[ Captain Tom Sawyer ]

More than 600 mourners packed St Mary’s Church in Captain Tom Sawyer’s hometown of Watford, Herts for his military funeral.

Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson Royal Artillery, Commanding Officer, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Captain Tom Sawyer died a hero, doing a job he loved and whilst taking the fight to the enemy in the only way he knew. He was a first-class officer with a natural flair for command and was hugely respected by all his fellow officers and by the soldiers he commanded. He excelled as an instructor and mentor, and the time he took to impart his knowledge and uncompromising professional standards to his battery will undoubtedly be remembered as one of his greatest gifts. "On operations, this selfless legacy, though immeasurable, has undoubtedly helped save the lives of both Afghans and British servicemen alike. He was a very proud and capable Commando Gunner with an exceedingly bright future. He had aspirations to achieve so much more in the military and, with the determination and strength of character he possessed, would undoubtedly have achieved his goals. "Utterly courteous in all that he did, I will forever remember Tom as a gregarious, fun-loving, universally popular character with a ready smile and a joke. The great loss I feel as his Commanding Officer is incomparable to that which I know his wife and family will be feeling as a result of his death. My thoughts and prayers are with them all at this tragic time." Major Jackson Docherty Royal Artillery, Battery Commander, 7(Sphinx) Commando Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Tom Sawyer was the senior captain in my battery and also a great friend. He was extremely ambitious and had plans to pursue a career in the Special Forces for which he was well-suited and in which he would undoubtedly have succeeded. Receiving the Brigade Commander's Commendation for his performance during his last tour of Afghanistan, he was keen to replicate this performance which he did with courage, honour, and humility, always putting his team's interests before his own. "He was passionate about his job and the battery could ask for no more from him. However, an Adjutant's nightmare, Tom was notorious throughout 45 Commando Group for his shenanigans and his desire to look cool whilst wearing the latest military fashion - if it was different, Tom had it. He also had a knack of getting away with it! "He will always be remembered within commando forces and his passing is felt by us all. He has paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others. His wife Katy has lost a wonderful husband and we, in the battery, have lost a great officer. Our thoughts and prayers are with his newly wed wife Katy and his parents at this time." Captain Sam Hewitt Royal Artillery, Fire Support Team Commander, 26 Regiment Royal Artillery (attached to 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery), said: "Tom was a true friend, one, who no matter the circumstances, would help anyone, often putting himself out so others were not disadvantaged. I am a much better person for having known him. Tom had an enthusiasm for life paired with an overwhelming kindness which always seemed to brighten up a room. He worked hard and possessed a natural ability to lead, gaining respect from the soldiers under his command throughout the Gunners.  "Tom always worked hard for his men and commanded with style and panache. He lived for his family and friends and died doing the job he loved. He was an officer in every sense of the word with qualities such as honour, selflessness and courage in abundance. The world will be a sadder place without Tom and I will miss him greatly. "My deepest condolences are with Tom's wife Katy and his family. Mate, it was a pleasure to have known and served alongside you. You paid the ultimate sacrifice and you will not be forgotten." Captain Rob Cooper Royal Artillery, Fire Support Team Commander, 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Tom was an outstanding officer, an outstanding Fire Supporting Team Commander and an outstanding husband to Katy. Tom was a true inspiration to me as a friend and those that he served. His devotion to his wife, Katy, was unrivalled and my heart goes out to her and Tom's entire family who he never stopped talking about. You will be sorely missed mate." Lieutenant Colonel Jim Morris Royal Marines, Commanding Officer 45 Commando Group, said: "The tragic loss of Captain Tom Sawyer has been deeply felt throughout the whole of 45 Commando Group. A stalwart member of 7 Battery and 29 Commando RA, he has served with 45 Commando Group throughout two operational tours to Afghanistan and has lived and worked with us at home in Arbroath and abroad for the last two-and-a-half years - he is truly considered to be one of our own. "Over the last year in which I have known Tom, we have had the opportunity to talk often. On every occasion I have been struck by his zest for life, the enthusiasm and commitment that he showed for his profession and his humility and preparedness to listen to advice. "He had every quality that could be expected from a Commando Gunner Officer and I have no doubt that he had a very bright future ahead of him. All ranks of 45 Commando Group and, in particular, Zulu Company, join me in sending my very deepest condolences to his wife, Katy, and his close family and friends."