36 Engineer Regiment


36 Engineer Regiment ... Invicta park, Maidstone


Lance Corporal Ivano Violino from 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment killed in southern Afghanistan on Monday 17 September 2007. Lance Corporal Violino was commanding an FL12 Self-Loading Dump Truck on a routine logistics convoy, moving vital engineering equipment to a Forward Operating Base 19 kilometre north east of the town of Gereshk in Helmand province, when his vehicle was caught in an explosion. Despite the best efforts of the Air Medical Emergency Response Team who arrived on the scene shortly after the explosion, Lance Corporal Violino was sadly pronounced dead on arrival at the field hospital at Camp Bastion.


[ Lance Corporal Ivano Violino ]

Lance Corporal Ivano Violino, known as "Sean", aged 29, was born in Salford. He joined the Army on 18 January 2002. Having completed combat engineer training at 3 Royal School Military Engineering Regiment and driver training at the Defence School of Transport, Leaconfield, Lance Corporal Violino joined 36 Engineer Regiment as a member of the Combat Support Troop, 50 Headquarters & Support Squadron on 11 February 2003. He was an Army canoeist and regularly represented the regiment at rugby. In March 2003 Lance Corporal Violino deployed with the Regiment to Kuwait and took part in Operation TELIC. He was deservedly promoted to Lance Corporal in October 2004 and in April 2006 he was cross-posted within 36 Engineer Regiment to Support Troop, 20 Field Squadron.

As part of 20 Field Squadron he deployed to Canada in February 2007 to take part in a demanding construction exercise to upgrade and construct facilities at the British Army Training Unit, Suffield. Thereafter Lance Corporal Violino participated fully in the pre-deployment training for Afghanistan deploying with his Squadron on the 52 Infantry Brigade exercise on Salisbury Plain and taking part in a live firing exercise on Thetford Training Area. Prior to his deployment, Lance Corporal Violino's high professional standards were recognised when he was selected for promotion to Corporal. Lance Corporal Violino arrived in Afghanistan on 2 September 2007 and is sadly the first fatality from 36 Engineer Regiment. He leaves behind his wife, Katey Anne (known as Katey), and seven-year-old twins from a previous relationship, Ellie and Lewis. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Wardlaw, Commanding Officer 36 Engineer Regiment, said: "Lance Corporal Violino was an experienced and dedicated junior non commissioned officer, the very epitome of a modern professional soldier, who lived life to the full and gave his all to the Army, his comrades and to his family. Extremely fit, enthusiastic and exceptionally hard working, he drew respect and praise in equal measure: his recent and early selection for promotion to Corporal is testament to the excellent career which lay ahead. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten by all those who had the honour to serve alongside him." "The very epitome of a modern professional soldier, [Lance Corporal Violino] lived life to the full and gave his all to the Army, his comrades and to his family." Major Gareth Baker, Officer Commanding 20 Field Squadron, said: "Lance Corporal Violino was a dedicated professional with a strong sense of duty and endless enthusiasm for his chosen career. He was a privilege to command; was always positive, proactive, and utterly reliable in everything he did. He took immense pride in his performance both at work and in his sporting pursuits. An excellent sportsman; he was awarded Army colours for canoeing and was an integral member of the winning Royal Engineers team in the extremely physically demanding Devizes to Westminster canoe race. "Lance Corporal Violino's outstanding performance was recognised by all who worked with him. He made his mark in the Squadron with his endless professional knowledge, high standards and genteel manner. Nothing was too much trouble and he had time for anyone who would benefit from his experience. He regularly took on responsibilities beyond his rank and was always prepared to help others. This fact had been recognised by his early promotion to Lance Corporal and his recent selection for promotion to Corporal ahead of his peers. "I cannot express how deeply shocked all of the Squadron have been by this tragic loss so early in our deployment. Lance Corporal Violino was killed by an indiscriminate explosive device while commanding a key piece of engineer equipment. His mission was to move the equipment as part of a large logistics convoy to ensure it was in the right place at the right time. Our only consolation is that it was typical of his character to volunteer for this mission, fully aware of the risks associated, and he was supporting the Squadron effort in the best way he could. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends who have lost a husband, father and exceptional man." Warrant Officer Class 2 Pat Rendell, Squadron Sergeant Major 20 Field Squadron, said: "Lance Corporal Ivano Violino was a first class junior non commissioned officer, a larger than life character and an extremely well respected member of the Squadron and Regiment. The word professional sums this man up perfectly, as proved by his recent selection for promotion to Corporal. The enthusiasm with which he conducted himself was infectious and others who worked alongside him have no doubt benefited from his breadth and depth of knowledge. The news of his death came as a great shock to all who knew him. My thoughts go out to all his family and friends. He will be sorely missed by all members of 20 Field Squadron. Missed but not forgotten." A close friend of Lance Corporal Violino, Lance Corporal Adam Cornelius, 50 Headquarters and Support Squadron, said: "Lance Corporal Violino, or Sean to his friends, was an all round good guy. I had the privilege to know him, his wife Katey and his two young twins Ellie and Lewis. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this time of great sadness. "I will remember Sean best for his 'Cheeky Chappy' attitude to life both in and out of work. His death is a massive loss as he was an individual who had so much to give to others." Lance Corporal Graham Bradley, 20 Field Squadron, a close friend, added: "Sean was an excellent non commissioned officer who was well respected by his blokes. But most of all he was a genuinely good man and friend; he talked constantly about his wife, children and his ambitions for himself and his family." Sean's wife, Katey, said: "Sean will be sadly missed for his infectious enthusiasm for life and his desire to be everyone's friend. He was popular with everyone he met and was loved by friends and family alike. Sean was very proud to be a member of the Armed Forces, in particular the Royal Engineers, and having been selected for promotion to Corporal had a bright future ahead of him. The world is a poorer place without Sean."

16 August 1985 - 9 November 2007.

Lance Corporal Jake Alderton of 36 Engineer Regiment ... It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Lance Corporal Jake Alderton of 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment in southern Afghanistan, Friday 9 November 2007. Shortly before 0400 hours local time, British Forces were taking part in an operation in support of the Afghan National Army near the district centre of Sangin in Helmand Province. The vehicle LCpl Alderton was were travelling in left the road and rolled off a bridge. 

[ Lance Corporal Jake Alderton ]

Sadly, LCpl Alderton was declared dead at the scene. Another soldier and an interpreter were also injured and were evacuated by helicopter to the field hospital at Camp Bastion. Their injuries are not life threatening. There were no enemy forces involved. Lance Corporal Jake Alderton, 36 Engineer Regiment Jake Alderton, aged 22, was born in Bexley. He joined the Army on 14 December 2001 and attended the Army Technical Foundation College as a junior soldier. On completion of basic training, he undertook combat engineer training at 3 Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) Regiment. He served for a year with 28 Engineer Regiment before returning to 3 RSME Regt to provide training support to courses.  Between January and October 2005, he successfully completed an artisan engineer trade course at 1 RSME Regiment, qualifying as a Class 2 Building and Structural Finisher. On 22 November 2005, he joined 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment based in Maidstone, Kent.


Having recovered from a serious back injury, LCpl Alderton worked hard at 20 Field Squadron and was selected for Junior Leadership training. He achieved a strong pass on a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer's Cadre in November 2006 and following a very successful squadron construction exercise in Canada, conducted during early 2006, he was deservedly selected for promotion to Lance Corporal on 25 July 2007. LCpl Alderton deployed on Operation HERRICK 7 to Afghanistan on 16 September 2007. He was attached to the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment to provide engineer advice to the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, working with the Afghan National Army. His role was to provide essential training and engineer support to the Afghan soldiers in order to develop their capability and so help provide a long-term indigenous security force for Afghanistan. LCpl Alderton leaves behind a loving family and a long-term girlfriend. Lt Col Richard Wardlaw RE, Commanding Officer 36 Engineer Regiment said: "In Lance Corporal Alderton, the Regiment was fortunate to have a totally committed and thoroughly professional Junior Non Commissioned Officer who always put the interests of others before his own. These were qualities which made him a natural choice for the demands of training and mentoring the Afghan Army, a challenge which he had self-evidently risen to with boundless enthusiasm and real flair when his life was brought to such a tragic and untimely end.  "His loss is sorely felt by all in the Regiment and our thoughts and prayers at this time go to his family who he clearly loved and cherished dearly. He will never be forgotten." Major Gareth Baker RE, Officer Commanding 20 Field Squadron, said: "I have watched Lance Corporal Alderton develop over the last year and change from a keen young sapper with plenty of potential into a capable and experienced Junior Non-Commissioned Officer. He worked very hard on his Junior Non Commissioned Officer's Cadre and did particularly well during a demanding construction exercise in Canada.  "During preparations for the Squadron deployment to Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Alderton was hand-picked to support the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team. He was selected for his sensible attitude, maturity, calm but determined nature, good humour and his ability to get along with others. An extremely professional and dedicated soldier, he was very highly regarded by those who worked with him; he will be missed by those who knew him. "All of my soldiers are fully aware of the risks associated with being on operations, but somehow it is all the more tragic that Lance Corporal Alderton was killed in a road traffic accident. It is some small consolation that he died while doing the job he had trained to do and at which he was excelling. It has been another devastating blow to the Squadron, his loss is felt very keenly by all but our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this most difficult time." Captain Ed Thompson RE, OMLT Engr Second-in-Command said: "Lance Corporal Alderton was sent to me as an inspiring Lance Corporal with the right character to face the challenges and diversity of working closely with the Afghan Army. Although only a recently promoted to Lance Corporal, he was chosen through his own merit to be one of my Section Commanders, a job normally reserved for a full Corporal. He quickly became a great asset within an extremely proud, close knit and professional team.  "Together we mentored the Afghan National Army in a quest to equip them with enough knowledge to allow them to ultimately stand independently in the fight against the Taleban. Jake will be sorely missed by the rest of the team, his comrades that will now endeavour to build on the success he helped to create. Our thoughts are with his parents, girlfriend and friends whom he loved dearly and were the biggest part of his life." Lieutenant Andy Wilson RE, Troop Commander, 20 Field Squadron said: "Since Lance Corporal Alderton was selected for the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, I have come to know him very well. During the 2 months since our deployment to Afghanistan the team have become incredibly close. Jake was always the first to crack a joke about a bad situation, then worked to improve that situation.  "Though newly promoted to Lance Corporal he carried the air of a much more experienced man. I know he loved his family and his girlfriend, and nothing I can say can make it any better for them. I just want them to know that he died doing a job he felt very strongly about. I will miss him." Lance Corporal Matthew Kemp, 3 Troop, 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment said: Jake was a keen soldier respected by friends and peers. He loved being in the British Army and part of the Royal Engineers. Jake made everybody smile whenever he was there. He was somebody who always listened, someone who always cared. Jake loved playing poker and usually won,  As much as we hated parting with our cash he always made it fun. He was very much a social guy and always had friends near. He enjoyed spending time with his girlfriend and taking the lads out for a beer. Jake was loved by everyone and shall be missed by us a lot. Farewell Jake, rest in peace, you will never be forgotten. Lance Corporal Garry Burton, close friend, 2 Troop 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment said: "Jake Alderton was a well respected member of 2 Troop. He was very professional in his approach to the Army and always ready to help someone. He always gave 100% whatever was put in front of him. "He also had a life outside the Army and talked about his long term girlfriend and always talked highly of his family. He will be sadly missed by everyone that worked with him, a very sad day in the Corps." "We are so proud of our brave soldier and he will always be in our hearts and minds and never forgotten." Family and friends of LCpl Jake Alderton Sapper James Goldthorpe, Lance Corporal Michael Wakefield & Lance Corporal Craig Scott-Douglas, close friends, at Patrol Base Keenan said: "Jake had a great sense of humour, always enjoying a practical joke. Jake was one of the keenest members of our Troop and always put in 100% into what he had to do and stood out in peoples' minds as the grafter, even if it was a difficult job, he got on with it without moaning. He always looked out for others around him and not wanting anything in return. Jake will be a sorely missed opponent in future poker games where he could wipe the table.  "Jake will be sorely missed in the corridor back home especially by Goldie who was a close friend. From everyone at KEENAN, they would like to pass on their condolences to Jake's family and girlfriend as it will be hard for us to come to terms with the accident that has happened and taken a good friend away." Jake's mum and dad, Keith and Lesley Alderton, brother Joseph Alderton, sister Sarah Alderton, girlfriend Nicole Thangarajal have released the following statement: Jake Alderton, Lance Corporal 36 Engineer Regiment, 16 August 1985 - 9 November 2007. Our sunshine and laughter. "Like all parents who have lost a child, our lives have been shattered and life will never be the same again. Jake wanted to be a soldier since the age of 10, and at the age of 16 he joined and went to Arborfield Army Technical College, where he chose the Royal Engineers for his career.  "He passed out proudly at Arborfield and then at Gibraltar Barracks after completing his combat engineering course. He loved the Army life and life in general, and never wasted a moment in either. He spent time stationed in Germany and Canada and represented the Army in Austria for the Services snow boarding events. He went to 36 Engineer Regiment at Maidstone and passed his promotion cadre in 2006. He was promoted to Lance Corporal before he went to Afghanistan. "His concern regarding his duties was such that he spoke emphatically about the Afghan people's plight and fully understood his role in helping them; and was so willing to go, such were his morals and convictions, that he said to me [his father] he would not want to wear a stripe unless he served in action. That typified Jake's attitude and approach to life.  "He was a beacon of light that brightened any room and cheered up anyone lucky enough to meet him. He inspired others and asked for nothing and always believed in doing the right thing. He has touched so many people throughout his life in only good ways. His mum and dad are missing him so much, as are his brother Joseph, his sister Sarah, girlfriend Nicole and all of his family and friends.  "We are so proud of our brave soldier and he will always be in our hearts and minds and never forgotten."

[ WO2 David Markland ]

WO2 David Markland, 36, of 36 Engineer Regiment, died as he led a team clearing routes of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Nad-e-Ali in Helmand Province on Monday, 8 February 2010. His death came ahead of a major joint British, US and Afghan offensive against the Taliban in Nad-e-Ali called Operation Moshtarak.

[ Warrant Officer Class 2 David (Dave) Markland ]

WO2 Markland's family said: "Dave was a wonderful husband, father, son and brother. His family and friends all loved and adored him. Keelen and Logan will always remember how funny and playful Dad was. He was proud to be in the British Army just like his Dad. "We are very proud of Dave's achievements in his Army career; his soldiers, friends and officers all respected his selflessness and admired his style of leadership. He would have made the best Squadron Sergeant Major in the world! "He will be sadly missed and leaves behind a family who he loved and loves him very, very much. We are all very proud of our hero."

Warrant Officer Class 2 David (Dave) Markland deployed on Operation HERRICK 11 as a Royal Engineer Search Advisor with the Joint Force EOD Group, as part of the Counter-IED Task Force. David was born in Euxton, Lancashire in 1973 and was 36 years old when he was tragically killed in an IED blast whilst on a task in support of Battle Group (Centre South). Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland enlisted in the Army in June 1989, joining the Corps of Royal Engineers as a Plant Operator Mechanic (POM). As a ‘Sapper' he proved himself a highly capable and adaptable soldier who was keen to expand his engineering knowledge. He rose through the ranks to become a Military Plant Foreman (MPF) in 2005. An excellent instructor, he had numerous trade qualifications and his passion for instruction was evident in the zest and enthusiasm he brought to every training opportunity. This was Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland's eighth operational tour of duty during his distinguished 20 year service, having completed five tours in Bosnia between 1995 and 1998, one in Iraq in 2003 and this his second tour of Afghanistan. He was posted to 70 Gurkha Field Support Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment RE, Maidstone, Kent in October 2007. Having completed the Royal Engineer Search Advisor course in Spring 2009, he carried out training with the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group prior to deploying on Operation HERRICK 11 in October 2009. As part of the Counter-IED Task Force, Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland led a team of Royal Engineer Advanced Search specialists responsible for conducting route clearances in support of the Battle Groups. Such was the quality of the man that he was recently selected for a Field Squadron Sergeant Major's post which is a rare occurrence in the plant specialist trade. Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland strove to constantly better himself and having completed a Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering he was studying to complete his full degree. A robust and fit individual who had a passion for camping, mountaineering and trekking, Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland loved to organise adventurous training for soldiers worldwide as well as enjoying both rugby and basketball. A devoted family man, Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland leaves behind his wife Corallee and their two sons Keelen, aged 10 and Logan, aged 7.


Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex RLC, Commanding Officer, Counter IED Task Force said: "Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland was an outstanding Royal Engineer Search Advisor. "He was a bear of a man, big and bold, but caring and compassionate. Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland was adored by his team; they would have followed him to the ends of the earth, such was the respect and trust he inspired. "Afghanistan is the most taxing of threat environments and in his 5 months he had met some incredible challenges head on and never once faltered. "Wonderfully candid I valued his honest advice; there is no place for undue circumspection on operations. His understanding of Counter Insurgency operations was impressive and he had the force of personality to ensure plans were carried through on the ground. "A most courageous soldier he epitomised the character and bravery so typical of the Counter-IED team. "He was a jovial and amiable character with natural warmth and magnetism; his loss will be felt keenly by all in the Counter-IED Task Force and the close knit EOD and Search community. "Having returned recently from leave in the UK he was desperate to get back out on the ground with his team, such was his dedication. "Although I only knew him for 5 months I will never forget Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland, to say he was impressive doesn't do justice to the man. He had an inspiring effect on all those that he met, a talismanic figure whose mere presence instilled confidence and self-belief in everyone. "I feel truly honoured to have known this fine man, and am devastated to have lost him. "My heart goes out to his wife, Corallee and his two sons Keelen and Logan - they can be extremely proud of his achievements."


[ Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland ]

Major Tim Gould QGM RLC, Officer Commanding, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group said: "Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland was a veritable guiding light to all that he served with. "A man of excellence and of exacting standards; second best just wouldn't do. "He was new to the ‘bomb hunting' discipline, a small and tight knit fraternity; he thrived operating on the front line being at the vanguard of the Counter-IED battle in Helmand, Afghanistan. "Robust, confident and full of drive, Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland is precisely the type of man you need on operations, a man who could deliver no matter the circumstance; anything was possible when he was around. A man of presence, a man of purpose and a man of pride; Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland was an inspirational figure within the EOD Group. "We have been rocked to the very core by his cruel and un-timely passing. "Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland was a superlative Warrant Officer and I speak on behalf of all the EOD Group when I say that it was an honour to have served with him." Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hulme MBE RE, Commanding Officer, 36 Engineer Regiment said: "I have known Warrant Officer Class 2 Dave Markland for almost 20 years; we have served together in both Germany and the UK, this tragic loss is all the more painful because of this. "Dedicated, capable and truly professional, Warrant Officer Class 2 Dave Markland cleared every hurdle set him in his 20 year career. "Trained in almost every aspect of engineering that the Corps could offer, he set his own exacting standards and surpassed them every time. "Recently selected to be appointed as a Squadron Sergeant Major, he would have undoubtedly excelled in this prestigious post as he did in everything else. "A friend to all and a mentor to so many, Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland lit every room he entered with his personality, compassion and stature. "He was a dedicated family man and it is at this difficult time that all our thoughts are with his family. "A consummate professional in all that he did and an exemplar to those around him, he will be sadly missed. "The Regiment and the Corps of Royal Engineers are a quieter and much diminished place without him."  Captain Declan Flood RE, Royal Engineer Search Advisor, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group said: "Warrant Officer Class 2 Markland was invaluable during our pre-deployment training at 36 Engineer Regiment. "It is unusual for a single troop to have a Warrant Officer Class 2 and those of us less experienced benefited from his extensive operational experience and knowledge. "He had real character and will be sorely missed. He was very proud of his team and firmly believed he had the best search team in Helmand - something he liked to remind the rest of us about at every opportunity."

[ Sapper Guy Mellors ]

Sapper Guy Mellors from 36 Engineer Regiment, serving as part of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan on 15 February 2010. Sapper Mellors died from wounds received as a result of an explosion which occurred while he was engaged in IED clearance operations in support of A Company, 3 Rifles, near Patrol Base Ezaray to the north east of Sangin district centre. Sapper Guy Mellors deployed on his first operational tour in October 2009. He was trained as a Searcher in a Royal Engineers Advanced Search Team responsible for the detection of improvised explosive devices in areas deemed to be high risk. The main driver for Sapper Mellors enlisting in the Corps of Royal Engineers in September 2006 was that he could gain a vocational trade. He was schooled as a Building and Structural Finisher and on completion of his training he was immediately posted to 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment in Maidstone, Kent. Sapper Mellors was an experienced and highly regarded searcher and was first in line for a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Cadre on his return to the UK such was the progress he was making professionally. A keen rugby player who enjoyed both the physical game and the social aspects, Sapper Mellors was a fit and enthusiastic soldier. Born in Coventry in 1989, Sapper Mellors was a young man who lived life to the full in everything he did. He leaves behind his mother Linda, step-father William and his two younger sisters Lana, aged 13 and Kia, aged 6.


His mother, Mrs Linda Holland, has made the following statement on behalf of the family: "Very Proud of Guy. He will always be our hero, he lived his dream." Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex RLC, Commanding Officer, Counter IED Task Force said: "Sapper Mellors was an impressive young man and an outstanding searcher. Fearless and determined he was a great team player, well loved and respected by his comrades. With his impish grin and questioning nature he was never one to fade into the background. "Although this was his first operational tour Sapper Mellors was a man very much in his element out here in Afghanistan; always the consummate soldier, he loved the search role and had a confidence beyond his years. "Sapper Mellors excelled on operations in Afghanistan, revelling in the vital role his team conducted. The courage and resolve men like him show every day in ridding Afghanistan of the threat from IEDs is humbling. "Although it is a tragedy to lose such a fine soldier, it is a comfort knowing that through his efforts many lives were saved, and that his efforts are recognized in Helmand and back home in the UK. Sapper Mellors will always have a place in our hearts and his loss hits the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group and wider Counter IED Task Force very hard, but we will never tire in our efforts. "The Counter IED battle is a tough one, but he knew that we are making steady progress and his team had found scores of IEDs since deploying in October 2009. This success is due to the courage and deeds of men like Sapper Mellors and, hard though it is, we must hold our nerve and forge on with the same determination that he showed. "My heart goes out to his family, especially his mother Linda, and young sisters Lana and Kia – Sapper Mellors was a tremendous young man and a credit to his family." Major Tim Gould QGM RLC, Officer Commanding, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group said: "Sapper Mellors was unlike most twenty year old soldiers in may respects. Admittedly he did, like most, express his interests as being: rugby, women and socialising, and his long term aspiration was overall to make his mother proud. His long term career amibitions however, were very mature; to run his own business, which in many ways summed him up. "Sapper Mellors had a certain air of confidence about him, he was not one phased by rank or circumstance; very much a young man comfortable in his own skin. He had an old head on young shoulders, wisdom beyond his years you might say, very frequently what he had to share was profound. "He was prone to speaking his mind, refreshingly candid; although could be too frank on occasions, but he was always one to push the boundaries. Sapper Mellors was quite simply a fine soldier, a fine searcher and a fine friend. "Sapper Mellors was a young man of ambition, pride and promise, cruelly cut down in his prime whilst serving his country, a man we are honoured to have served alongside and one for so many reasons we will never forget." Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hulme MBE RE, Commanding Officer, 36 Engineer Regiment said: "In Sapper Guy Mellors we had a Sapper of real talent. Extremely fit, enthusiastic and with a dogged determination to make the most of every opportunity that presented itself, he rapidly established his credentials as a positive force and outgoing character amongst his peer group. "Blessed with a zest for life, a quick wit and impish personality he could always raise a smile, even in the most arduous circumstances - he laughed at others but was just as comfortable laughing at himself. "Sapper Mellors fundamentally embraced his role as both Sapper and Soldier. His contribution to both operational preparation and to local community tasks was, as one would expect of a man of this capability – simply outstanding. "He was a soldier who had a broad and successful career ahead of him; marked out as "gifted" on his artisan trade courses, sportingly adept and if he had not been on operations he would have been attending the forthcoming promotion course. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues within both the Regiment and the Corps. "He will always be remembered as a man entirely comfortable in his own ability and as someone who was happiest when with his fellow soldiers. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time." Captain Declan Flood RE, Royal Engineer Search Advisor, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group: "Sapper Mellors' ability as a searcher cannot be underestimated – I am sure he had extra connections between his eyes and his brain which allowed him to spot things others could not. "I was always entirely confident he understood his role in the plan. Confident because after my brief he would generally insist on airing his opinion and reviewing my plan at length; the plan was always better for his input. "Anytime the team's future programme involved a recovery period from our busy schedule, his cynicism meant that he was deeply sceptical until he was firmly back in Camp Bastion eating pizza with the rest of the team. His friendship was greatly appreciated and he will be sorely missed by all of us. Sapper Mellors, a great searcher and a great man." Sapper Stuart Coleman, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, Royal Engineer Search Team, his friend, said: "Guy was a top bloke; he really was one of the boys and one of my closest friends. He was the biggest smallest lad that I knew. He did his best in the gym but he couldn't shake those pointy ribs. "He was also not one to hold his tongue, which meant that we used to argue like an old married couple. This would earn us the nicknames of "Mr and Mrs Coleman". He was usually right but I would never let him know it. Guy always put everything into each job and was very aware of what was going on around him; an awesome searcher. No matter what was happening he made the best of it. "We seemed to be joined at the hip for most of the tour, wherever I went he wasn't far behind. From searching to getting up at 3am, we got each other through it. I trusted Guy with my life and I will never forget him." Sapper Giles Hurst, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, Royal Engineer Search Team, his friend and colleague, said: "Guy was quite a character- from the pointy ribs, to the secret Welsh accent he would try to hide, his Star Wars Emperor outfit and his awkward behaviour around ladies; it's just not the same without him."

[ Sapper Mark Antony Smith ]

Sapper Mark Antony Smith, from 36 Engineer Regiment, serving with the Counter-IED Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 26 July 2010. Sapper Smith and his search team deployed in support of the 40 Commando Royal Marines Battle Group, Combined Force Sangin. The team was conducting an improvised explosive device clearance operation in order to enable a joint UK-Afghan operation to improve Afghan district and provincial government influence and security in the area around the Sangin district centre. Whilst elements of the clearance team were moving into position, a smoke screen was requested to enable their movement. As this was being undertaken, initial reports suggest that one of the smoke shells may have fallen short of its intended target, tragically killing Sapper Smith.

Sapper Mark Antony Smith was 26 years old and from Swanley in Kent. He enlisted into the Corps of Royal Engineers in June 2001 and, following training as a Combat Engineer and trade training as a Communications and Information Systems Operator, he was posted to 36 Engineer Regiment in December 2002. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 and deployed on his first tour to Afghanistan in 2007. In April 2010 he volunteered for a second tour to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 12, having successfully completed the Royal Engineer Search Course. Sapper Smith was a member of the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, part of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force. His role was as a searcher in a Royal Engineer Search Team.


[ Sapper Mark Antony Smith ]

[ Sapper Mark Antony Smith's Mum ]

[ 'Smudge' ]

A close friend has made the following statement on behalf of Sapper Smith's family:

"Mark Smith, fondly known by his friends as 'Smit' and Army colleagues as 'Smudge', was truly unique. His cheeky grin could light up a room and his zest for life was an inspiration to us all. His friendship and loyalty to those closest to him knew no bounds and I am truly honoured to have called him my friend. "Smit will be greatly missed but it is difficult to think of him without smiling as he had a unique ability to lift anyone from the most sombre of moods and was always the life and soul of the party. He loved his Army life and his courage and bravery, all inspiring. Mark was a loveable rogue and the world will certainly be a sadder place without him."

Lieutenant Colonel David Southall, Royal Engineers, Commanding Officer, Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Task Force, said: "Sapper Mark Smith, or Smudge to his friends, was one of life's real characters. A scruffy, loveable wheeler-dealer, he was often near to, but never seemingly the cause of, endless mischief. Big in character and big in heart, he'd charm his way out of the stickiest of situations and we loved him for it. Having served the Corps for eight years, Smudge volunteered for a second tour in Afghanistan as part of a C-IED Search Team. "He plied his trade daily, hunting out IEDs in the most deadly of areas. As an accomplished senior Sapper the younger lads relied much on his presence; his sharp eye and quick wit sustained them all through thick and thin. Mark's death, a tragic accident, has shocked us all. "He leaves behind his mother and brother whose grief we share at this most difficult of times." Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hulme, Royal Engineers, Commanding Officer, 36 Engineer Regiment, said: "Sapper Mark Smith formally joined 36 Engineer Regiment in December 2002 and it is fair to say that he made an immediate and lasting impression. The phrase 'real character' has been used so often that it has begun to sound banal, yet in the case of Sapper Smith it could not have greater resonance. Here was a man who truly lived life to the full. "He had an unrivalled wit and sense of humour; few within the chain of command escaped his proportionally-measured acerbic wit. During his deployment to a remote task site in the Isle of Skye in January 2009 he sent regular video diaries that could have graced any television comedy programme. "What is beyond question is that all he did was done with a spirit of fun, energy and without any trace of guile or malice. "Despite working within the rather niche communications stream within his squadron, his character and soldierly capability ensured that he had an enormous profile across all areas within the regiment and it came as no surprise that he so readily accepted his new role as a Royal Engineer Search Team member. "A more popular and respected member of his peer group would be hard to find, and our thoughts at this difficult time are with all of his family and friends who will feel the loss of this very special individual most keenly." Captain Robert Durnford, Second-in-Command, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, said: "The Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group has once again sadly lost another member in Sapper Mark Smith. From Swanley, in Kent, he deployed as part of the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group in March 2010 and was killed in action on 26 July 2010 at the age of 26. "Sapper Smith was an extremely reliable and trustworthy individual who had volunteered for a second tour of Afghanistan as a searcher. His previous experience stood him in good stead and meant he was respected amongst both his peers and superiors. "He was inevitably the first to volunteer for any task, and would then never disappoint with both his competence and thoroughness. As a member of a Royal Engineer Search Team he was constantly searching in areas where it was highly likely to find improvised explosive devices, and throughout he maintained a calm demeanour and ease that belied the dangerous nature of his role. A popular man amongst  our tight-knit community, his loss is felt by all. "Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with his mother Helen, brother Shane, and the rest of his family and friends." Lieutenant Alexander Findlay, Troop Commander, 36 Engineer Regiment, said: "Smudge was quite a character. He reminded me of a young 'Del Boy', although in reality he was far more reliable and a lot better looking. Apparently he seemed to get himself into tricky situations but had the gift of the gab to get himself out. "To the core he was a decent bloke; kind, friendly and easy to get along with. Sapper Smith, it was a true pleasure to have worked with you and a privilege to have been your Troop Commander. Rest in peace." Corporal Wayne Hyams, 36 Engineer Regiment, said: "Sapper Mark Smith was a man larger than life, putting himself before others all the time. If anyone was feeling down, you could always rely on Mark to put a smile on their face with a witty comment in his cockney accent. Mark was a man that was never afraid to get stuck into a job. "He proved this many times whilst on operations in Afghanistan, searching his way through areas with known IEDs, which many would refuse straight away. "However, Mark got stuck straight in and did the job with a smile. Smudge, you were a good friend; I am grateful to have known you, life will not be the same without you around. Rest in peace. My thoughts go out to Mark's friends and family at this extremely difficult time." Sapper Daniel Stuart, 36 Engineer Regiment, said: "He was my friend, my brother, a legend. I can't believe he's gone. He would always talk himself out of trouble and never stopped smiling. He was always there when I needed him. "He always stood up for what he believed in, even if that meant supporting Tottenham. I believed in him and trusted him and I'm never going to forget him. It's not fair that he's gone - I bet he's already on the drink wherever he is! I love him, I miss him, and I'll see him some day." Sapper Dean King, 36 Engineer Regiment, said: "Smudge was awesome. Although I'd only known him for about a year he was always a big man in the regiment. I can still hear him now shouting 'Smudge's ball' as loud as he could, scaring anyone away whilst playing football. "He was an amazing guy, always happy, never letting anything get him down and he always had a smile. He loved the Army and life on tour, especially being able to cheat his way through a game of euchre. We have all lost a friend in this and the big guy will be missed by all. Rest in peace, you will always be a legend to me."