Gutersloh, West Germany Craftsman Craig Atkinson



Craig first tried to join the Army while we were on our last posting in Paderborn (BFG) in 2003; he had sat the entrance test and passed with flying colours. His first choice was the Army air Corps, although he had scored high enough on the entrance test but the Air Corps were not recruiting till late the following year so he enquired about the RMP, he was advised to go to another corps so he could gain some experience and then transfer, so he decided the REME was for him. Unfortunately Craig failed the medical and was told to try again in another year, this he did and was successful the second time around.

Craig started phase 1 training with Le Cateau Troop at Pirbright in January 2004, he passed out at Pirbright in April 2004 as the most improved recruit, It was one of the most memorable days of our lives to see our son march onto the parade square with his troop and the Regimental band playing in front of them. Craig then went on Phase 2 training at Borden, he passed out in April 2005 and after a short spell of leave he joined the LAD with 26 Regiment Royal artillery in Mansergh barracks in Gutersloh BFG in May 2005. Craig was welcomed into the LAD with open arms and commented on this immediately to his mum, and me he was very happy and thought a lot of the guys he worked with. As the weeks went on, he would phone us daily to tell us what he was up to and how happy he was with the whole experience. He came home on summer leave in July 2005 busting with energy, all he could talk about was the army and how great it was.

He returned to Germany on the 20th August, that was the last time we saw Craig alive, we still spoke on the phone daily. He informed us on the 30th August 2005 that he had to go to the med centre on the 31st to have his wrist looked at, as he had fallen over and injured it. He was going to call us that night to let us know the outcome. We will never get over this tragedy, Craig had so much to give and so much to do in his life The army has lost a great soldier and 26 Regiment Royal Artillery (LAD) have lost a great friend, we have lost a great Son. RIP mate.

 

It was the 31st August 2005 when my Son Craig and 2 other passengers. Gunner Kenneth Laga Royal Artillery Aged 21 and Craftsman Craig Smith Aged 18 set off to go the Princess Royal Barracks Medical Centre in a land rover. While on route to the medical centre the driver of the vehicle lost control and smashed into a tree, he survived the crash but the 3 passengers didn't, all were resuscitated at the scene of the accident, and transferred to different hospitals in Germany. Sadly all died later the same day. He was only 18 years old.



A memorial was erected and maintained of the scene of the fatal crash by a Mr Jorg Weltzer a German civilian in memory of the three young soldiers who died on that tragic day (31st August 2005) on the Brockhagener Strasse in Gutersloh, West Germany