7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery

[ Capt Jim Philippson ]

29 Commando RA

29 Commando RA

Captain Jim Philippson killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 11 June 2006.


Captain Jim Philippson’s coffin draped in the Union Jack with berets from the Royal Artillery 29 Commando Regiment and 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery placed on top. HUNDREDS of people filled St Albans Abbey for the funeral of Captain Jim Philippson, the first soldier to be killed in Southern Afghanistan since British troops were deployed in recent months.

UK forces were involved in an incident in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan, on the evening of Sunday 11 June 2006 during which a mobile patrol was engaged in a fire-fight against suspected Taliban forces. Sadly as a result of this engagement Captain Jim Philippson was killed and two other soldiers seriously injured. Captain Jim Philippson, 29, from St Albans in Hertfordshire,  completed his further education at Plymouth University. He joined the Army in January 2001 and, after his course at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, was commissioned into the Royal Artillery later that year.  He then undertook his Young Officers’ course at the Artillery Centre, Larkhill. From the outset his sharp intellect, determination, positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm stood out and he was selected for a posting to 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. He relished the challenge of demanding commando selection where his physical stamina was more than matched by his mental robustness.  Not only was he successful but he led the way. Having settled into the Regiment his confident, yet self-effacing, approach had a real impact. His unique combination of fierce professionalism, relaxed style of command and sense of fun won him the respect and loyalty of his soldiers and peers. He displayed all of these qualities in the high pressure operational environment of Iraq but also on exercises in Norway, USA and Cyprus. Moreover, he was always looking to get involved; throwing himself wholeheartedly into his sport and social life with the same passion as his work. Having concluded his tour with 29 Commando Regiment, Capt Philippson was keen to undertake the challenge of service with 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and after a six month deployment to the Falkland Islands joined the Regiment in February 2006 as it prepared for deployment to Afghanistan.  Very soon he found himself a pivotal member of the team with the role of training and mentoring the Afghan National Army. Here his maturity, patience, technical skill as an instructor and responsiveness was an example as much to his colleagues as to his Afghan counterparts who warmed quickly to his inherent leadership and charisma. He was a man that wanted to make a difference, and he did.  Capt Philippson served only a short time with 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery but his influence on it and 29 Commando Regiment previously was tremendous. A genuine character who was full of life and humour yet with a highly committed edge, he will be remembered as a gifted, considerate and popular officer who would always go that extra mile for his soldiers and his friends. He will be sadly missed by everyone that that knew him.

Lieutenant Colonel David Hammond, his Commanding Officer, said: "Jim was a top quality officer in the best traditions of the Regiment and the British Army. Those around him were influenced not only by his commitment, passion and drive but also his enthusiasm and ready wit. A gifted commander he had the self-confidence of an assured professional yet was also modest and willing to learn.  "All of this earned him the respect of all those he touched. The commitment he showed to his task in Afghanistan and every challenge he undertook was an inspiration.

[ Captain Alex Eida ]

Captain Alex Eida

UK Forces were involved in ongoing action against insurgent forces in northern Helmand Province on the morning of 1st August 2006.  During the incident, a UK vehicle patrol was attacked by insurgents with rocket propelled grenades and heavy machine guns.  Sadly two soldiers from the Household Cavalry Regiment and one from 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery were killed, and one further soldier was seriously injured.

Captain Alex Eida Royal Horse Artillery, 29, from Surrey, first saw military service with the Territorial Army whilst studying for his degree in Technology Business Studies at the University of Glamorgan. Though taken with the possibility of a military career, on completion of his degree his passion for travel and adventure training took him to Camp USA as an instructor, which he then followed with time as a ski rep and instructor in France.  However, he ultimately returned to the Army fold and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commissioning into the Royal Artillery on the conclusion of his course in April 2002. He then undertook his Young Officers’ course at the Artillery Centre, Larkhill. Throughout his initial training Capt Eida stood out from the crowd. Though extremely easygoing and self-effacing, he always displayed real enthusiasm and passion for his work, on the sports field, during adventure training and socially.  Moreover, beneath his relaxed exterior was a man with tremendous commitment and a positive attitude, all backed up by an impressive work ethic. This and his outstanding levels of fitness ensured his selection for an arduous appointment with 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery which he joined in October 2002; a challenge which he relished. Immediately his balanced maturity, professionalism and sense of fun had an impact. His light yet robust and effective command style, moral courage and enthusiasm earned him the respect and loyalty of all ranks and shone through in training and under the pressure of operations.  All these qualities were evident when he deployed in 2003 to Iraq during the initial war-fighting phase, when he was First Command Post Officer to fire the guns, then again during deployment to Kosovo in 2004 in the demanding covert surveillance role. 2006 saw him as a Forward Observation Officer in Afghanistan where his technical expertise, calm, diligent style and responsiveness not only endeared him to those who worked with him but also made a major contribution to the operation.  Capt Eida completed his whole Regular service with 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and within it he proved himself in the most demanding circumstances whilst maintaining his honour, focus, professionalism and balance. He was always prepared to go the extra mile for his soldiers who willingly did the same for him. As such he was not only popular with everyone but he was also universally admired and respected as a friend and colleague. He will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him.  Lieutenant Colonel David Hammond, his Commanding Officer, said: "I and the Regiment knew Captain Eida extremely well. He was a real character and personality who grew up as an officer amongst us and gave so much to the Regiment. His relaxed yet self-assured air of professionalism, his commitment to his vocation and his soldiers and his infectious enthusiasm earned him the respect of all those that knew him. We have lost a gifted young officer and friend who was a leading light of the unit and will be sadly missed. Most importantly our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this difficult time." Capt Eida was single.