Royal Air Force Regiment

 


“CELERITER DEFENDERE” ... “SWIFT TO DEFEND”

51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment

Senior Aircraftman Christopher Bridge. 51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment

 

Senior Aircraftman Christopher Bridge from C flight, 51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, killed in Kandahar Province, Southern Afghanistan on the morning of 30 August 2007.

[ 51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment ]

[ Senior Aircraftman Christopher Bridge ]

A civilian interpreter was also sadly killed in the incident and two other servicemen received minor injuries. Shortly after midnight local time, C Flight was conducting a routine security patrol around Kandahar Airfield when the vehicle SAC Bridge was travelling in was caught in an explosion.  All the casualties were evacuated to the ISAF medical facility at Kandahar Airfield by emergency response helicopter. Sadly SAC Bridge was pronounced dead on arrival and the interpreter later died of his wounds.


 SAC Christopher Bridge, aged 20, from Sheffield joined the Royal Air Force on 12 June 2005. After successful completion of his Trainee Gunner Course, undertaken at RAF Honington, he was posted to 51 Squadron RAF Regiment at RAF Lossiemouth on 18 November 2005. During his time on the Squadron he served in Southern Iraq between January and June 2006 providing Force Protection for Basra International Airport.  More recently, SAC Bridge had been deployed on Operation HERRICK providing Force Protection for Kandahar Airfield since April 2007. His role took him into the local community to deliver enhanced security, not only for the Airfield but also for the Afghan population. At the time of his death he was providing security for his colleagues as a top cover sentry for a mobile patrol. SAC Bridge was an extremely popular and professional Gunner. He was relatively junior in rank; however, he was immensely dependable and hard working. His infectious sense of humour made him stand out amongst other Squadron personnel and he could be relied upon to raise a smile in adversity. Squadron Leader Tony Brown, Officer Commanding 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, said: "Senior Aircraftman Chris Bridge was a very competent Gunner, unassumingly professional and with a promising career ahead. Following operational service in Iraq, Chris had consolidated his position on the Squadron as a capable and enthusiastic Gunner whose likeable personality and witty sense of humour made him engaging to serve with. Passionate about travel, he had clearly made his mark on the Squadron and will be sorely missed." Flying Officer Matt Jupp, Officer Commanding C Flight, 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, said: "Chris Bridge was a very well liked, motivated and hard working member of the Flight. A once quiet young man he grew into an adventurous, charismatic and intelligent Gunner. He was a high calibre member of the Royal Air Force Regiment and a generally good bloke. I will miss him." Sergeant 'Oz' Bailey Senior Non Commissioned Officer, C Flight, 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, said: "Chris Bridge was a member of C Flight for the best part of 18 months. He was a quiet and confident young man and well liked by all on the Flight. His one outstanding trait was his dry sense of humour, which always had us in fits. Never one to complain he worked hard for everyone. He will be missed by me personally and the rest of the gunners on C Flight." Senior Aircraftman 'Parky' Parkhouse, C Flight, 51 Squadron RAF Regiment said: "He was a good mate and when we worked together, Chris was nothing less than totally proficient and hard working. He was liked amongst the whole Flight and Squadron. He will be missed so much by everyone and forever in our thoughts." Senior Aircraftman 'Burky' Burke, C Flight, 51 Squadron RAF Regiment said: "Chris was a top lad and liked by everybody. He was always happy in a quiet way. Very well known throughout the Squadron for his dry sense of humour. Chris was on C Flight as a specialist machine gunner and will be missed and remembered forever. He will always be with us in our hearts."

Ms Nicolette Williams, mother of Christopher Bridge, said: "Christopher was my pride and joy; everybody is heartbroken who knew him. He touched so many lives. He died courageously serving his country and Queen and we are all very proud of him."


Senior Aircraftman Graham Livingstone of the Royal Air Force Regiment and Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment killed on Sunday 13 April 2008 in Afghanistan.

[ SAC Livingstone ]

The Support Weapons Flight of 3 Squadron RAF Regiment was undertaking a patrol to protect NATO's Kandahar Airfield from enemy attack in the Daman District of Kandahar province. At 1848 hours local time, the vehicle that they were travelling in was caught in an explosion. SAC Livingstone and SAC Thompson were both extracted to the field hospital at Kandahar Airfield, but sadly died as a result of their wounds. Senior Aircraftman Graham Peter Livingstone, aged 23, was born on 17 November 1984 in Glasgow. He initially joined the Royal Marines for a short period in 2003, before joining the Royal Air Force on 17 October 2004. After completion of his basic training, SAC Livingstone became a trainee gunner on 13 December 2004. He was posted onto 3 Squadron RAF Regiment at Aldergrove on 4 March 2005, and moved with the Squadron when they were relocated to RAF Wittering in the spring of 2007. He was promoted to Senior Aircraftman on 17 October 2005 and whilst with 3 Squadron he served in Iraq in 2006 and deployed to Afghanistan on 22 February 2008. SAC Livingstone's mother, Rosemary O'Neil, said: "Graham was a much loved father, son and brother. He died doing a job he loved. As a family we are very proud and he will be sadly missed."


[ Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Gary Thompson, ]

Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Gary Thompson, aged 51, was born on 15 October 1956. SAC Thompson joined the Royal Air Force in November 1973 as a Supplier and duly left the Service in October 1977 to pursue a civilian career. He was Killed on 13th April 2008. He subsequently joined No 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force on 19 March 2005. After successful completion of his Basic Gunner Course in May 2006 he was given the badge of a RAF Regiment Gunner. He went on to complete a Mortar Cadre Course with 3 Squadron RAF Regiment in February 2007 and was mobilised on 29 October 2007, where he was assigned to Support Weapons Flight. He was promoted to Senior Aircraftman on 1 March 2008. SAC Thompson deployed to Kandahar Air Field with 3 Squadron, RAF Regiment on 22 February 2008. In civilian life, SAC Thompson was Managing Director of Sherwood Ducting Ltd, in Nottingham. He leaves behind, his wife Jacqui and their five daughters, Laurie, 24, Aimee, 22, Jordan, 20, Jade, 17 and Kelly, 16. The Family of SAC Thompson said: "A devoted husband, father, son and brother who touched the lives of everyone who knew him; Gary was more than our hero, he was the rock and foundation of our family. Words cannot express how much he was loved and how proud of him we are. Gary, you have had our hearts from the beginning and now they are yours forever." Officer Commanding 3 Squadron RAF Regiment, Squadron Leader Richard Langley said: "Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson was a reservist serving with 504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, he had trained with 3 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment throughout 2007, and had become a Mortar-man. "He was the consummate professional soldier and airman, who took immense pride in his military service in addition to his civilian job as manager of Sherwood Ducting Ltd. Upon joining 3 Squadron RAF Regiment on mobilisation, Gary was re-named "Tommo". Fitting in immediately, his skills and humour were such that all held him in the highest regard. "Tommo" was not one to seek the attention, but was the voice of calm and reason who continuously supported the Squadron's less experienced gunners. He was immensely proud to serve with the Squadron, as we were to serve alongside him, and he will be sorely missed by all.


"Senior Aircraftman Graham Livingstone was 23 years old, from Strathclyde, Scotland. Better known to the Squadron as "Livi", he was one of the brightest characters on the Squadron. Having served in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, he was a very operationally experienced gunner, and his professionalism showed in all that he did. Always with a smile, a throw away line and a gag, Livi's humour was at the heart of Support Weapons Flight. He was one of us and his loss has been deeply felt by us all. "The loss of "Tommo" and "Livi" is a tragic blow to all who knew, trained and fought alongside them. Both men were immensely popular and professional, and the humour both brought to the Squadron was immeasurable. "Tommo" and "Livi" will be terribly missed by their colleagues in the RAF Regiment here in Kandahar, but also in Basra and in the UK. We will honour their memory by standing resolute in our duty to Afghanistan in the manner they embodied with determination and pride. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends at this tragic time." Commanding Officer 1 RAF Force Protection Wing, Wing Commander Scott Miller said: "SAC Graham Livingstone was an immensely popular member of Support Weapons Flight on 3 Squadron RAF Regiment. His fine sense of humour and positive character played a key role in maintaining the morale of his colleagues whilst facing the dangerous and challenging, but vital mission in defence of Kandahar Airfield. Graham was the sort of Gunner who, with high professional skill and deep determination, sought to keep others safe, irrespective of the personal cost. He invariably put the needs of his friends and colleagues first. He will be sorely missed. "SAC Gary Thompson was a highly respected Auxiliary Gunner who enriched 1 RAF Force Protection Wing with his presence. His enthusiasm and the popularity that he enjoyed on 504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force travelled with him when he was mobilized to join 3 Squadron RAF Regiment. He was always willing to give the younger members of Support Weapons Flight on 3 Squadron the benefit of his considerable wisdom and as much help as he could. The energy with which he approached his work belied his age and set an example for those around him. The respect he earned was obvious for all to see. Tommo's death will leave a big gap on both 3 Squadron and 504 Squadron." Commander Kandahar Airfield, Air Commodore Bob Judson said: "Both SAC Graham Livingstone and SAC Gary Thompson were bright lights in a vibrant and enthusiastic RAF Regiment Squadron that is utterly focused and professional in discharging the difficult and dangerous task of providing the outer layer of protection and security at Kandahar Airfield. These two enthusiastic, brave, popular and capable men have made the ultimate sacrifice whilst giving their best; their loss will be keenly felt by all on this base but most especially the members of No 1 Force Protection Wing and No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment. The bright lights may have been dimmed but they will never be forgotten and my thoughts are very much with both Gary's and Graham's families at this most difficult of times." Officer Commanding Support Weapons Flight, 3 Sqn RAF Regiment, Flight Lieutenant Andy Costin said: "Graham 'Livi' Livingstone was a cheeky Gunner who could always quip with a remark. He excelled as a Number 1 on my Mortar Flight. Our standing joke on the Support Weapons Flight was that he was always to be last in charge. The challenge for me as his flight commander was to make use of his abundant enthusiasm and steer it in the best possible direction. He found that direction as my Signaller, always performing his duties to the utmost. Livi is going to be sorely missed upon the Flight and the Squadron. "Gary 'Tommo' Thompson joined the Squadron and came to Support Weapons Flight, here he learnt the skills required to fire the 81mm mortar. He mastered these well and very quickly. In spite of the additional years he had on the rest of the Flight he was never one to shy away from anything. His dedication to his work was clearly demonstrated when Tommo took me through an ingenious training facility that he had set up entirely under his own initiative. He was a very active member within the flight always organising something. His dedication and devotion to his family could not be over estimated. We will miss him. Per Ardua." Squadron Warrant Officer, No 3 Squadron RAF Regiment, Warrant Officer Garry Eden said: "Graham Livingstone and Gary Thompson became Royal Air Force Regiment Gunners and to the end they were the true spirit of an RAF Regiment Gunner – they were Fighting, Thinking, Winning Gunners. They were a sure defence to all they served." Tributes to Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson from Senior Aircraftman Jim Murphy, Corporal Errol Robinson and Corporal Sean Langston-Jones, fellow members of 504 Sqn Royal Auxiliary Air Force mobilised onto 3 Squadron RAF Regiment: "We remember when we first met Gary, on the Trainee Gunners Course of 504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force and from that very first day we knew he was the kind of person that was determined to strive for the best in life and to be a success in everything that he put his hand to. "One would think that Gary being from Nottingham would support his home town, but no, he supports the one and only Man United, obviously mixed loyalties. He was a keen rugby fan and player. "Gary was one of the most approachable and friendliest of people we know, we never once heard him have anything negative said of anyone. He was a proud father of his five daughters and a proud husband of his wife Jacqui; he was always talking about his family and how much he missed them. He had such a huge circle of family and friends that he became the envy of the flight by the amount of e-blueys and parcels that he received, but deep down we didn't mind as he was like a father figure to us all. "Gary, during our trainee gunners course was nicknamed 'Gary Gortex' because he was always wearing his waterproofs on the ranges, even if it wasn't raining, the name continued to stick with him at 504 Sqn and he was proud of it. On Support Weapons of 3 Squadron, he became known as "Tommo", to which he became proud of, and to most of the flight this is how he will be remembered. "Gary had the ability to notice when others around him are feeling under the weather or feeling sad, on occasions during this tour he had always noticed when one of us had been down, even though we tried to hide our emotions from him, with this compassion you were always left feeling better within yourself. "It goes without saying, everyone who has crossed paths with Gary in one way or another will be sad to learn that he is no longer with us, however, his spirit will always remain with us, on behalf of Support Weapons Flight we all feel proud to have known him. "Gary will be truly missed by us all. "Rest in Peace" Tributes to Senior Aircraftman Graham Livingstone from the Lads of Support Weapons Flight, 3 Squadron RAF Regiment: "Livi was an avid Celtic supporter from the outskirts of Glasgow. A keen driver and amateur DJ, he joined the RAF Regiment at the age of 20 and was posted to 3 Sqn. He was employed on C Flight where he soon proved himself to be an accomplished marksman, selected to be a sharpshooter, he took pride in his ability to master weapon systems. He then went on to Support Weapons Flt where he quickly found he had a skill for the 81mm Mortar, achieving excellent results on his Basic Mortar Cadre; he was quickly elevated to the No 1 position of number 2 Det, it was clear he had found his place. Livi was employed as the Flight Commander's signaller and was responsible for the communications on three different operating systems keeping the Flight Commander current and situationally aware. "Graham leaves behind Kyle his young son. Never shy to speak his mind, Livi was adept at throw away statements. His fervent willingness to improve himself, be an asset to his flight and to keep the morale of the troops up, even at his own expense, will be sorely missed. And for us all, never again to say, 'SHUT UP LIVI.'"


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[ Senior Aircraftman Marcin Wojtak ]

Senior Aircraftman Marcin Wojtak of the Royal Air Force Regiment who was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 1 October 2009. Senior Aircraftman Wojtak was killed as a result of an explosion whilst commanding his vehicle in the desert to the south of Bastion Joint Operating Base. Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Marcin Wojtak was born on 13 December 1984 in Leicester. He joined the Royal Air Force in 2005 as a Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment. On completion of his basic training at Royal Air Force Honington, he was posted to 26 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, where he served as a Rapier operator. During his time on 26 Sqn RAF Regt he completed operational tours in the Falkland Islands and Kandahar. In May 2008 he was posted to 34 Sqn RAF Regt where he served on B Flight as a rifleman. He deployed to Kabul in August 2008 for 6 weeks to perform Force Protection duties. SAC Wojtak, a Leicester City supporter, was a man who was blessed with a bubbly character and a soft side, so he was known by all as 'Big Ted', short for Teddy Bear. It was, perhaps, for this reason that he volunteered to become one of the Squadron’s Trauma Risk Managers; anyone could feel comfortable talking to him. In short, he cared about his colleagues and his friends and was always prepared to help them. During the Squadron's demanding pre-deployment training, SAC Wojtak rose to all the challenges placed before him. He was a highly skilled soldier who understood his role and executed it with diligence. He earned himself a reputation as a dependable and safe pair of hands. His career as a leader was just beginning. During training, he had shown his ability to inspire his friends and so was a natural choice to appoint as a Fire Team Commander and Acting Corporal rank.

 

He was proud of his appointment and it was in this role that he deployed to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan with the Squadron in September this year. On his return home, he was due to attend a training course to make this appointment formal. The thoughts and prayers of all ranks on 34 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment are with 'Ted's' family and particularly with his girlfriend Sam, with whom he was looking forward to setting up a home. 

His family said: "Marcin adored life and was loved by everyone around him. He was a gentle giant who was admired for his caring nature and endless kindness. He placed his happiness in the happiness of others. "His love of the military led him to a career in the Royal Air Force where he remained loyal and courageous to the end. We are so proud of him. Marcin is a beloved son, grandson, brother, uncle and boyfriend. His life was short but well lived and he was loved by all. Always and forever."  Commanding Officer – Wing Commander Shaun Ryles MBE said: "Losing a comrade to enemy action is a devastating blow to the Force Protection Wing, especially as it has occurred in the early stages of this Flight’s deployment to Helmand. "Senior Aircraftman Wojtak was a man of great strengths; both as a formidable Gunner and as a person who displayed outstanding leadership potential. He was widely respected by all that had the honour to serve with him. "He will leave a void that will never be replaced in our hearts and his memory will be enduring. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones during this heartbreaking time." Squadron Commander – Squadron Leader 'George' Formby said: "The loss of Senior Aircraftman Wojtak at such an early stage in our tour has come as a severe blow to the Squadron. He was one of those steady, competent, reliable men that form the backbone of any unit; the sort that, as a Commander, you rely upon. "I relied upon him enough to appoint him as a junior commander for our time in Afghanistan. He was not short of friends in the Squadron and he fitted in well, displaying a soft side that earned him the nickname 'Big Ted' or just 'Ted'. Our thoughts are with his family and girlfriend, Sam, to whom we extend our sincere condolences."  Corporal Dave Hayden MC said: (read more) "'Ted' worked for me as my second in command, he was essential to the Section and even more so to myself. Whenever I gave him a job to do he did it and if it wasn’t done it was in the process of being done. "In most cases he did a better job than I could have imagined. He was a big figurehead on the Flight, every lad on the Squadron loved him, especially the B flight lads. "He was the big teddy bear who loved to help what ever the problem. He was a kind and considerate mate, never more evident than when he came to the house and played with my son Ethan and got on instantly with him. Mine and the Squadron's thoughts go out to 'Ted's' family and Sam his girlfriend, at this tragic time. Rest in peace mate."  SAC Tom Peterson said: "I knew 'Teddie' for about five and a half years. He wasn't your typical squaddie; he could always be relied upon to step in when there was something someone couldn’t do, no matter who you were. "He was always thinking about others rather than himself. He enjoyed the more relaxed pace of the Falklands and Kabul but he never shied away from the faster pace that life in the Regiment can bring. "During his time on the Squadron he looked towards the Section Commanders, Oli, Paddy and Dave for inspiration on how to lead the section and for advice on furthering his career by becoming a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer, a course which he was selected to do when he got back from this tour. "Our thoughts are with his family and his girlfriend Sam."


[ Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate ]

II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment

 

Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate from II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 24 February 2010. Senior Aircraftman Southgate was part of the Kandahar Airfield Force Protection Wing and was conducting a patrol to protect Kandahar Airfield, and all who operate within it, from the ever-present threat of rocket attacks when he was killed by an improvised explosive device whilst driving his WMIK Land Rover. Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Luke Southgate was born in Bury St Edmunds on 10 March 1989 and was soon to celebrate his twenty-first birthday on operations in Afghanistan. He joined the RAF on 10 August 2008 as a Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment and quickly proved his potential during basic training at Royal Air Force Honington. He was identified early as one to watch owing to his natural soldiering ability and leadership potential that earned him the Frank Sylvester Trophy for Top Student on his Trainee Gunners Course. On completing training he applied for parachute duties and was subsequently selected to serve with Number II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment  where he promptly qualified as a Direct Fire Weapons Specialist on Machine Gun Flight. He was attached to D Flight for his tour of duty in Afghanistan and deployed in January 2010. SAC Southgate was immensely proud to be a member of the Royal Air Force Regiment and even more so to be a machine gun specialist. A reserved character, he was an extremely fit and strong gunner who was described as 'happy, compassionate and fiercely loyal to his friends, who consider themselves lucky to have known him.' He used his strengths for the good of the team in the selfless style in which he led his life. SAC Southgate intended to remain with II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment for another two years before volunteering for a new challenge with  UK Special Forces. However, his more immediate priority was to move in with his beloved girlfriend Caley of whom he openly spoke with loving affection. The heart-felt thoughts and prayers of his squadron and regiment are with SAC Southgate's loved ones, particularly his parents and his girlfriend Caley whose tragic loss is shared far and wide by his fellow brothers in arms. The RAF Regiment has lost a friend and an exceptional gunner who had a glittering future ahead of him. SAC Southgate will always be remembered with fondness and admiration. NUNQUAM NON PARATUS - NEVER NOT READY

[ Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate ]

Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate's family paid the following tribute: "We cannot find the words to describe the tragic loss of our dear son Luke. He was the best son, brother and boyfriend any of us could ever have wished for. He died doing the job he loved and always wanted to do. He will be in our hearts always and our thoughts forever."

Air Commodore Malcolm Brecht CBE MA FRAeS RAF, Commander Kandahar Airfield, said: "It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of Senior Aircraftman Southgate. It is obvious to me that he was an outstanding Gunner in every respect. "An enthusiastic, loyal and dedicated member of the Royal Air Force Regiment, he was a willing volunteer for his tour of duty in Afghanistan and epitomised the very best the Service represents - loyalty, respect, selflessness, service and excellence. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with his family, girlfriend and colleagues at this extremely difficult time." Group Captain Jonathan Derbyshire MA BA RAF, Deputy Commander Force Protection, said: "Senior Aircraftman Southgate was killed tragically early, just short of his twenty-first birthday. He showed great potential, was a superb soldier and a loyal comrade. He was rightly, but quietly, confident in his abilities. He was fiercely proud of his achievements and we all had high hopes for his future. "We take some small comfort from this tragedy that he was serving his country protecting a key strategic asset in NATO and Afghan's struggle to beat the insurgency. We will now not see his promise develop but his memory will last. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and girlfriend." Squadron Leader Matt Carter MC BEd RAF, Officer Commanding II Squadron RAF Regiment, said: "Senior Aircraftman Southgate was one of those Gunners that you wish you had more of in the Squadron. He was devoted and worked tirelessly for his Squadron and more importantly his friends. He never complained about being tired, cold or hungry, but got on with life in the most arduous of circumstances wearing a smile. "Passionate about machine guns he loved being part of the Direct Fire Weapons Flight. He found a niche within D Flight amongst a wide network of friends who valued his self-sacrificing attitude to soldiering and life in general. "The Squadron laments the loss of a brave, amiable Gunner and will endeavour to continue the work that he was so proud to be a part of. Our feelings are with his parents and girlfriend and they can be sure that he will never be forgotten." Flying Officer Gary Butler BEng RAF, Officer Commanding D Flight, said: "Luke joined D Flight from its inception in September 2009 as part of the Machine Guns Attachment. From the outset it was obvious that Luke would become one of the key characters on the Flight, owing to his strong sense of humour and admirable work ethic. "He was an immensely capable Gunner, destined to become a rising star of the future. "Physically and mentally robust, he set an example to all who knew and operated with him. He will be sorely missed within his tight-knit Fire Team and by all the members of the Flight. We have lost a truly professional Gunner and close friend. He will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones." Senior Aircraftman Jason Parker, friend and fellow RAF Regiment Gunner, said: "I first met Luke on Trainee Gunners when, to begin with, he was a quiet individual with an air of self confidence that made him instantly likeable. It didn't take long for his dark sense of humour to surface and to be a bag of morale in whatever we were doing. I feel privileged to have called him my friend and he has left a void that cannot be filled. My love goes out to all his family and girlfriend."


[ Senior Aircraftman Kinikki "Griff" Griffiths ]

[ 1 Squadron_RAF ]

Senior Aircraftman Kinikki "Griff" Griffiths, from the RAF Regiment, was killed in a vehicle accident in Afghanistan on Friday 16 July 2010. Senior Aircraftman Griffiths, serving as part of the Camp Bastion Force Protection Wing, was killed in the vicinity of Camp Bastion, Helmand Province. Senior Aircraftman Kinikki "Griff" Griffiths was born on 12 August 1989 and was soon to celebrate his twenty-first birthday. He joined the Royal Air Force on 15 February 2009 as a Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment and in July, on completion of training and passing out as "Best Shot", he was posted to Number 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, where he flourished earning the respect of his colleagues and peers alike. Kinikki was selected as his flight commander’s signaller and driver and it was whilst carrying out these duties that he met his untimely death. Senior Aircraftman Griffiths was hugely proud to be a member of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force Regiment family. A naturally quiet character he was an immensely strong and resourceful gunner who always got "stuck-in" to any task and was an utterly dependable member of his flight and squadron. Senior Aircraftman Griffiths planned to complete his tour in Afghanistan, remaining on 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, and on returning to the UK was intending to complete pre-parachute selection training with a view to eventually serving with the UK Special Forces.

Senior Aircraftman Kinikki Griffiths was part of the Bastion Joint Operating Base Force Protection Wing and was conducting a patrol within the surrounding area of operation when he was involved in a tragic accident involving a Jackal patrol vehicle. The thoughts and prayers of his Squadron, his Wing and the Royal Air Force Regiment family are with his loved ones, in particular his parents and his girlfriend Chloe during this very difficult time. The Royal Air Force Regiment has lost an exceptional young man, with a very promising future ahead of him, but this is nothing compared to his family’s loss. Senior Aircraftman Griffiths will always be remembered for the proud and dedicated gunner he was and will always be. Wing Commander Paul Weaver Smith, Commanding Officer Bastion Force Protection Wing said: "Senior Aircraftman Kinikki Griffiths tragically died whilst on vehicle patrol within the Bastion Joint Operating Base area of operation, just short of his twenty-first birthday. Kinikki was the consummate professional gunner and, even at this early stage, had much promise; he will be sorely missed by all who knew him in the RAF Regiment. "Kinikki was serving his country by protecting a key UK operating base and he died whilst ensuring the security of others and enabling airpower. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and girlfriend at this very difficult time." Squadron Leader David Crook, Officer Commanding 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment said: "Senior Aircraftman Kinikki Griffiths was a young gunner with huge potential. He loved his job, took pride in his work, and gave his all to every task he was given. I could not want for a better Gunner. But more importantly, Kinikki was an affable, modest and thoughtful young man, who was a pleasure to know, and whom I had the privilege to command. He will be missed by all on 1 Squadron. Per Ardua." Flying Officer Matthew Quinney, Officer Commanding B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment said: "Senior Aircraftman Griffiths was my signaller and right hand man. He was always positioned next to me on patrols and as such we were close, both on and off duty. At work, he was a consummate professional; always ready to help, and at weekends, we would run the cross country routes around RAF Honington and play football. "He was enthusiastic about his career in the Royal Air Force Regiment and we were planning to undertake the Pre-Parachute Selection Course together in March next year. I will miss "Griff" both personally and professionally. He was a fine Gunner and a good man."  Corporal Ryan David, B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment said: "Griff was a very hardworking soldier, always smiling and never complaining about any task given. Whilst working with him on the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT), he would never need prompting to help casualties. "He would also work as hard as he possibly could, impressing everyone who had the pleasure to work with him. Griff was always happy and was an extremely fit person, who excelled in fitness and could always be found on the running machine during downtime. It was an honour to have had Griff in my Section, not just as an exceptional soldier, but as a close friend who always acted professionally and inspired everyone he met."  Senior Aircraftman Stuart Smith, C Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment said: "Griff always had a smile and never a bad word for anyone. I know Robbo will miss his favourite phys partner. We started on "Basics" together, El-Alamein Flight, and I know on behalf of everyone, but especially Senior Aircraftman Robson we share the grief with your family. Rest in Peace Griff. Love you forever, Senior Aircraftman Smudge Smith and all those from El-Alamein flight." Senior Aircraftman Christian Tee, C Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment said: "Griff was a great friend and role model. I could always count on him to help me and watch my back both on and off duty. I will always remember his seemingly constant smile and his uplifting attitude towards everyone around him, no matter what the situation, whether it was on "Basics", the Squadron, or a night out. "Griff was always ready to help his friends with their troubles and without any thought for himself. Cheers buddy, for everything; you will always be missed and never forgotten."


[ 1 Squadron_RAF ]

Senior Aircraftman Scott 'Scotty' Hughes, serving with Number 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, died in Cyprus on Sunday 7 November 2010 following injuries sustained in an accident. Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Hughes was returning from operations in Afghanistan and died from injuries suffered in a boating accident that took place on Friday 5 November as his unit was undertaking decompression activities. He was due to return home to the UK the following day. While swimming in the sea he was struck by a power boat operated by the Military Training Wing, British Forces Cyprus. An investigation into the accident is taking place. SAC Scott 'Scotty' Hughes was born on 5 June 1990 and grew up in North Wales. He joined the Royal Air Force on 4 January 2009 as a Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment. He graduated from basic training in June of that year and was posted to Number 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment. SAC Hughes developed quickly on the squadron. His sense of humour endeared him to all and he quickly earned the respect and trust of this colleagues and peers alike. His eagerness and aptitude to enhance his professional skills saw him achieve top student on a squadron mortar cadre in November 2009 and he was immensely proud to wear his mortar badge. On operations in Afghanistan, he was employed as top cover on the lead patrol vehicle as well as a signaller on the Medical Emergency Response Team helicopter when he took part in numerous casualty evacuation tasks. His calm professionalism and willingness to be involved at all times bore testament to his courage, determination and dedication to duty. On completion of his tour in Afghanistan, SAC Hughes planned to remain in 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, putting his name forward for selection as a squadron sniper. He also intended to complete the pre-parachute selection course with a view to eventually serving with the UK Special Forces Support Group. SAC Hughes was relaxing with his friends and colleagues on the island of Cyprus, having safely completed an arduous and demanding six-month tour in Afghanistan, when he was tragically involved in a fatal accident. The thoughts and prayers of his squadron, his wing and the Royal Air Force Regiment family are with his loved ones, in particular his parents Emma and Michael and younger brother Adam, during this very difficult time. The Royal Air Force Regiment has lost a dedicated young man with a very promising future ahead of him, but our loss is insignificant next to his family's. SAC Hughes will always be remembered for the proud and professional Gunner he was and will always be. Per Ardua.  SAC Hughes's family made the following statement "Our beautiful, brave, fun-loving son has been cruelly taken away from us, but we know that Scott fulfilled his dreams by serving his regiment and his country. "Words cannot express the loss we as a family are feeling at this time and a huge void will be in our lives without Scott forever more." Wing Commander Paul Weaver Smith, Officer Commanding No 4 RAF Force Protection Wing, said: "Scott Hughes was a highly respected and utterly professional young man with a very promising career ahead of him in the Royal Air Force Regiment. His tragic death has hit the wing hard; our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. Per Ardua." Squadron Leader David Crook, Officer Commanding 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said:  "Scott was an extremely professional and brave young man who spent his last six months risking his life to protect and save others. His death is a tragedy and words cannot express our sense of loss and shock. Scott was fiercely proud of his regiment and we are fiercely proud of him. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten. Per Ardua." Flying Officer Christopher Taylor, Officer Commanding C Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said "Scott Hughes was a young, energetic and popular Gunner who was utterly committed to his career in the Royal Air Force Regiment. It was a job that he loved and he was an immensely professional and capable man. "During his tour in Afghanistan his skill and dedication helped to protect the lives of countless ISAF personnel and Afghan civilians. It is a great tragedy that, having safely completed this tour, he should be killed in an environment designed to help him recover from the pressures of operations. "My lasting memory of Scott will be that he was the most professional of Gunners, who would never complain and always wanted to be at the front looking after his mates. He will be greatly missed by all on the flight and our deepest sympathy goes out to his family at this most difficult time." Corporal Christopher Sheehan, C Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said: "I had the pleasure of working with Scott during our tour of Afghanistan. He was the top cover (machine gunner) in my vehicle and we were in the lead for every patrol. Throughout our time on tour, Scott was always full of morale and practical jokes, making life a little easier for everyone. "Scott stayed switched on and professional throughout the whole time, and I knew that he could always be relied upon to do any job, no matter how tough. I am proud to say that I knew and worked alongside Scott. His death is a huge loss and he will be sorely missed. My thoughts go out to his family and friends at home." SAC James Carpenter, B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said: "Scotty Hughes was one of the most professional soldiers I have ever had the honour to work with. "He excelled at everything he did and he will be dearly missed. Scotty and I went through pre-deployment training together, and we were in the same vehicle on operations. Even through the darkest times, he could always lift morale with his sarcastic wit. I will miss him every day and my heart goes out to his family and friends at home in Wales." SAC Ross Merison, B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said: "It was a great honour to work with Scotty, especially alongside him in Afghanistan over the past six months. He was always lifting the morale of the boys by cracking jokes and having us in fits of laughter. "He was such a professional Gunner and would be the first to volunteer if a job needed doing. Our relationship grew stronger in Afghanistan and I'll always remember his cheeky grin. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and the rest of the squadron." SAC James Cartledge, B Flight, 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said: "Scott was one of my closest friends in and out of work. I first met Scott on basic training when he was the senior man on the course. Scott was genuinely one of the best soldiers I have had the pleasure of working with. I will miss him so much, and my heart goes out to his family and friends who he was so proud of. Rest in peace mate."