Royal Anglian

The Royal Anglian Regiment Association


Private George 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment


Private Darren John George   From the Royal Anglian Regiment, serving with the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, has died after a tragic Shooting accident during a patrol on the 9th April 2002. The incident occurred during a security patrol in the Afghan capital ... Father-of-one Private Darren George, 23, was on duty in the Afghan capital weeks after the fall of the Taliban when a ricocheting bullet hit him in the head. The soldier, from the Essex-based Royal Anglian Regiment, died in April 2002 as he was being flown from Afghanistan to Oman for treatment, the inquest at Chelmsford heard. A jury sitting with coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray returned a verdict of accidental death.

Private Sean Metcalfe told the jury his machine gun had discharged accidentally when he went to collect ammunition that had fallen to the ground. He told the inquest he took the weapon off his shoulder put it on to the floor and was going through the normal safety drill of unloading and loading the weapon when he "went dizzy" and fell back as he was cocking it and caught the trigger.

Following the hearing solicitor Paul Harrington, who was representing Pte George's wife, Sarah, said she felt no anger to Mr Metcalfe. Mr Harrington said: "Having heard what happened she apportions no blame. "Her feelings are one of forgiveness (to Private Sean Metcalfe). He has expressed contrition and she hopes they can both get on with their lives."


[ Private Chris Gray ]

Private Chris Gray killed in Afghanistan on Friday 13 April 2007.

Private Chris Gray, aged 19, from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, was killed in action whilst fighting the Taliban in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  He was a member of "A" Company Group, 1 Royal Anglian Battlegroup, conducting a clearance patrol in the town of Now Zad in support of the Government of Afghanistan. The patrol was attacked by the Taliban; employing small arms, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and rockets.  As lead elements of the patrol were pinned down by enemy fire, Private Gray’s Platoon manoeuvred to support their comrades and out-flank the enemy. Private Gray was the point man in his Platoon – selected for this position as a result of his outstanding soldiering skills.  As they manoeuvred, Private Gray’s section observed a group of armed Taliban fighters at close range, whom they immediately engaged. A fierce firefight ensued at a range of just 15 metres, during which a small number of Taliban were killed. Tragically, during the battle Private Gray was shot and despite the best efforts of his colleagues and medical staff was pronounced dead on arrival at the British Hospital at Camp Bastion... Private Gray joined the British Army in March 2006 and, having completed training as an infantry soldier at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, he joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in September 2006. He was born in Leicester and attended the Holmfirth School in Huddersfield. Among his many interests he had a love of outdoor life and was a keen snowboarder. Private Gray has two younger brothers and a younger sister. He was a former pupil of Ratby Primary and Brookvale High Schools, and later attended Groby Community College, Leicestershire.  In a statement, his family said: "He was a much loved and cherished son, grandson and brother, who was proud to serve his country. He will always be missed." His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, said: "Private Chris Gray had quickly established himself as a highly respected member of 1 Royal Anglian and his death is a tragic loss that is deeply felt by all members of the Battalion. It came as no surprise to those that knew him that he died courageously in close combat, selflessly striving to relieve comrades in extreme danger.  "He was a true Viking who we will never forget. Our sympathy and thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time." His Company Commander, Major Dom Biddick MBE, said: "He was a superlative soldier; passionate about his job; and a man with real leadership potential. ‘Grayman’, as he was known to his friends, was a young man with a big heart and a calm, generous and immensely trustworthy personality. A close friend to many, Private Gray had an infectious sense of humour and possessed a degree of optimism that many of his more cynical peers found baffling."  His best friend, Private Matt Duffy, also of A Company, said: "Chris was an awesome soldier and a better mate. He loved the job more than anyone and died doing what he loved." Another friend from A Company, Private Terry Croft, said: "He was a generous friend and would always share his last biscuit with you. You could trust him with anything."


[ Lance Corporal George Russell Davey ]

[ Lance Corporal George Russell Davey ]

Lance Corporal George Russell Davey Died in Afghanistan on Sunday 20 May 2007. Lance Corporal Davey, 23, from the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment died as a result of a tragic firearms accident on the British base at Sangin in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Lance Corporal George Davey joined the Army in January 2004. Having completed training as an infantry soldier at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, he joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in the same year. He was born on 08 January 1984 in Great Yarmouth and later moved to Beccles in Suffolk. Among his many interests, he had a love for motor biking and was a keen swimmer. As a Section second in command in 5 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company he had been serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Operation Herrick since early April 2007. George was a kind-hearted, loyal and selfless commander who worked tirelessly for the benefit of others. His quiet and unassuming demeanour helped him achieve impressive results. With the more junior soldiers in his Section, he had a maturity beyond his years. He sought little praise or recognition for his actions, preferring to get on with the job in hand with the minimum of fuss. The welfare of his men was always uppermost in his mind. In the face of the enemy, he displayed all the attributes of a first class soldier. On a recent mission in the Sangin Valley, under intense fire from the enemy, he was fearless in the support he provided to his Platoon Sergeant, as he attempted to suppress the enemy at close quarters. Lance Corporal Davey was a pillar of strength to all those around him and he was a proven combat soldier whose influence will be missed in the Company. Above all else, Lance Corporal Davey was a completely devoted family man. He doted on his wife, Joanna, and two young daughters, Millie and Morgan, about whom he would talk animatedly on the joy they brought him. Along with his faith, his family were the foundation on which he drew his own strength. Commanding Officer 1 Royal Anglian Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver said: "Lance Corporal Davey was a popular NCO who, in true Viking style, always put his men's interests before his own. His death is a tragic loss felt throughout the Battalion and our sympathy and thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time." His colleagues remembered him. Major Mick Aston Officer Commanding B (Suffolk) Company said: "George Davey was a hard working, brave and humble soldier who will be sorely missed by everyone in the Company." Private Jason Haldenby B (Suffolk) Company added: "Dee (as George was known) was a great mate who would do anything to help." Those thoughts were echoed by Private Mark Anderson B (Suffolk) Company: "Dee had a heart of gold and whatever actions he took were in the best interest of his mates “an outstanding bloke."


[ Corporal Darren Bonner ]

Corporal Darren Bonner of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was killed on Monday 28 May 2007, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Corporal Darren Bonner, the lead Signaller serving with A (Norfolk) Company Group, 1 Royal Anglian Battlegroup, died as a result of an incident involving an explosive device. The soldiers had been travelling in convoy roughly 11km east of Hyderabad in the Gereshk region of Helmand Province when an explosion hit the convoy. At this stage it is not possible to confirm the nature of the explosive device although an investigation is under way to establish more information. Corporal 'Big Daz' Bonner, aged 31, was a larger than life figure who made a positive impact on everyone that he met. He was engaged to Becca and looking forward to the prospect of marriage and buying a home in Great Yarmouth after his tour of duty in Afghanistan. He joined the Army in 1993 and served with the Regiment's 2nd Battalion on operational deployments in Northern Ireland and the Balkans. In 2004 he moved across to the 1st Battalion and served as a key member of the Signals Platoon in Iraq in 2006. Physically impressive, he was a keen weight lifter and night club bouncer in his spare time, but his robust exterior concealed a sensitive compassionate side and a heart of gold. Darren was a devout Christian and had taken the lead in organising a memorial for a recent fatality in A Company. He would regularly give up his time for others, teaching 'Football in the Community', or mentoring Army Cadets near his home town in Gorleston, Norfolk. He was also an avid Spurs fan, and made sure that everyone who met him was apprised of the fact. Darren exuded energy and charisma; he always had a joke to tell or a story to recount, ensuring he was extremely popular with his wealth of friends. The night before his death he was seen reading the bible by his friends, drawing strength before facing the known dangers of the operation. He genuinely cared about the people of Afghanistan, and about his comrades that he fought with. It is, therefore, a source of some consolation to those who knew him that he died on operations courageously contributing to a noble cause; one that he cared about and believed in.

Company Commander, Major Dominic Biddick, said Corporal Bonner was an incredibly caring and compassionate man. Behind the tattoos and the muscle lay a man with huge emotional intelligence, who provided a real father figure to many of the younger soldiers in A Company. "It is tragic to see the life of a devout Christian taken in this fateful manner, to see fate being so cruel to a dedicated young man who was genuinely striving to make a difference. "Darren will never be forgotten by those of us that soldiered with him. His death is a tragic loss, but one that strengthens our resolve and our determination to succeed." Sergeant Stuart Rumsey, a fellow Signaller, said: "Corporal Daz Bonner was the life and soul of the Company. Professionally talented, no task was beyond his determination to succeed." Corporal Wayne Cole, another fellow Signaller, said. "Daz Bonner was a colourful character, larger than life and an even bigger friend." Private Craig Mavin, a colleague and friend, said. "Daz will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure to serve with him." Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, Commanding Officer 1 Royal Anglian, said: "Corporal Darren Bonner was a superb soldier who had genuine compassion for his fellow men. A larger than life character he has been a mainstay of the Battalion for many years and will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues. Our sympathy and thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.


[ Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins ]

Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins, 22, of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, Killed in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday 25 July 2007. Lance Corporal Hawkins was killed and two other soldiers were injured in an explosion at around 0550 hours local time in the north eastern outskirts of Sangin in Helmand province. The soldiers had been taking part in a routine patrol and were returning to their patrol base when the explosion struck their Vector vehicle.  An emergency response helicopter was requested and Lance Corporal Hawkins was flown to the ISAF medical facility at Camp Bastion, but sadly he did not survive. The two other casualties were also taken to the ISAF hospital to receive treatment for their injuries. The Vector vehicle could not be removed so it was destroyed to avoid it falling into enemy hands and the convoy continued to its destination. Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins showed a huge interest in the military from an early age and joined the cadets in his home town of East Dereham, Norfolk at the first opportunity. Having thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Army Cadet Force it was no surprise that he decided to join the Army as a career. He chose to forge that career in his county regiment; The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment. He joined up in January 2003 and from the start he was an impressive soldier. His commitment was unquestioned and it was clear that he thoroughly enjoyed the military life.  Lance Corporal Hawkins was a huge fitness fanatic and also played rugby and loved skiing. He was modest by nature and let his actions speak louder than words. He had all the key attributes of a soldier and showed courage, determination and leadership skills in abundance.  Having completed his first operational tour of duty as a Rifleman in Iraq, it was no surprise that Lance Corporal Hawkins volunteered to undertake the demanding training to qualify as a sniper. He relished the challenge and earned his sniper badge in 2006. Having made this significant achievement, he went onto complete a Non Commissioned Officer's cadre after which he was immediately promoted to Lance Corporal. He relished the challenge of deploying to Afghanistan and was highly motivated by the opportunity to do his job for real. On operations, he proved himself in combat during intense engagements with the Taliban many times. Lance Corporal Hawkins was very highly thought of by his fellow soldiers and had a bright future ahead of him. He will be very sorely missed throughout the Battalion and leaves behind his parents, his elder sister, and his younger brother who has recently joined the Army. Lance Corporal Hawkins' family said: "Alex died doing the job he loved. He dreamed of joining the Army and becoming a sniper. This he achieved within his first year and was the top student on his course. "He was an excellent cadet and an excellent soldier, a kind, loving son, brother and boyfriend, always thinking of others before himself. He was the light of our life and the world will be a duller place without him. Will the media please respect our wishes and not make any further contact at this time." His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, said: "Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins was one of the most promising soldiers of his generation. A natural leader and trained sniper he was a superb example to others and highly respected throughout the Vikings. He leaves behind some fond memories and a lasting legacy that we will all strive to live up to. Never to be forgotten, he will go down in Regimental history as a true professional and close friend who we feel privileged to have served and fought with. Our sincere condolences are with his family and friends at this very difficult time." Major Charles Calder, the Officer Commanding Lance Corporal Hawkins' Company, said: "Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins died doing the job he loved in the company of some of his closest friends. He was a truly professional soldier and will be sorely missed, but not forgotten, by all ranks in the Company." Captain Ollie Ormiston, who knew him, said: "Lance Corporal Hawkins epitomised the British Infantry soldier. Whatever role he was deployed in, he always displayed the utmost professionalism and the other men in the platoon always looked up to him. He was one of the boys and no-one had a bad word to say about him. We will miss him as a soldier, and more importantly as a friend." Lance Corporal Hawkins' friend, Lance Corporal Craig 'Chicken' Rouse, paid this tribute to him: "Any soldier in the British Army would have been honoured to have him fight by his side. He will be sorely missed. Recruits passing out of training should model themselves on him. He was a model soldier." Lance Corporal John 'Elvis' King said: "He was a soldier, a friend. He's gone but not forgotten. His name will always live on in Sniper platoon." Private Harrison 'Ford' McCabe said: "He'd always help you out, no matter how stupid or trivial the question. I could always go to him." Private Vince 'S-J' Saunders-Jones said: "He was a good bloke, quick to smile and a friend to many." Private Jonathon 'Gucci' Cucciniello said: "No matter how hard or tough things got, he never let it get the best of him. He always cracked on with it."


Private Tony Rawson, aged 27, from 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment. Killed in southern Afghanistan on Friday 10 August 2007.  Private Rawson was killed during a fighting patrol to disrupt enemy activity and reassure the local population in the area of Jusyalay, north east of Sangin in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan. Shortly before 0600 hours local time the patrol, which was en-route to check on a local irrigation project, came under heavy fire from Taliban fighters. It was during this engagement and the ensuing firefight that two soldiers were injured. An emergency helicopter was called forward but sadly Private Tony Rawson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Private Rawson joined the British Army in July 2002 and attended the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick, and after completing his training, joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in March 2003.  Private Rawson had taken part in a number of exercises in the UK, Italy and Kenya. He deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 6 as part of the All Arms Search Team – something he was very proud of and believed to be one of his biggest achievements. His leadership and organisational ability was identified and during 2006 he was selected to attend the Battalion’s Junior Non Commissioned Officer cadre. However, due to a knee injury was unfortunately unable to complete it. His high standard of soldiering and administrative skills were still utilised, and he was employed as a section second in command within his platoon. Private Rawson had been deployed on Operation HERRICK 6 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, since June 2007. He had been involved in numerous engagements with enemy forces and was always in the thick of things, using his experience to best effect and demonstrating himself to be a highly professional and capable individual. Private Rawson enjoyed the physical aspects of military life and because he thought of himself as ‘a small bloke’, felt he had a lot to prove, to himself and not to others. He achieved this admirably by representing his Company in the inter-company boxing competition, which he won. He always kept fit and believed that to be key in achieving his goals. Private Rawson gained the nickname ‘Nicey’ when he joined the Battalion because of his nature, friendliness and willingness to go out of his way to do anything for his fellow soldiers. Private Rawson lived with his fiancée, Louise, and her daughter, Caitlin, in Dagenham, Essex. He was a devoted family man and was planning to get married in March 2008. He was very excited and proud of the fact that they were expecting their first child. Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "Private Tony Rawson was a highly respected member of 1 Royal Anglian and his death is a tragic loss, deeply felt by all members of the Battalion. A close friend to many, Private Rawson was a young man passionate about his job, with a big heart and a generous and trustworthy personality who died courageously in close combat. "He was a true Viking who we will never forget. Our sympathy and thoughts are with his fiancée, Louise, and his family and friends at this very difficult time." Captain Dave Hicks, Second-In-Command of C (Essex) Company, said: "Private Rawson epitomised not only the core values of the British Army, but also embodied the spirit of the British Infantry. Selfless, good-natured even in the face of adversity, and courageous under fire, he will be sorely missed by all his comrades within C (Essex) Company. His loss will be felt deeply by all those who knew him. All our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time." Lieutenant Marni Olivier, Officer Commanding 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "Private Rawson lived up to his nickname and was one of the characters within the platoon. He was a professional soldier and his experience and hard work were integral to the success of his Section and Platoon. ‘Nicey’ will be missed by all of us - his fellow soldiers and friends." Sergeant Matthew Waters, Platoon Sergeant, 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "In the time that I have known Private Rawson I have never been let down by him. He was a true helper of men and more importantly a true friend. His devotion to his job and friends were second to none. I will always remember his ability to motivate the younger soldiers in the platoon and the way he consistently strove for excellence. “Nicey” was a good friend and will be sorely missed by us all"  Corporal Darren Farrugia, 11 Platoon (C Essex) Company, said: "I’ve known Rawson since day one of training; what a good bloke. You don’t get the name ‘Nicey’ for no reason. You will be missed mate."  Lance Corporal Ben Lake, 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "Tony was the friendliest bloke you could ever meet, hence the nickname ‘Nicey’. If there was ever a problem, he was the first to offer his helping hand. If someone was feeling down he would go out of his way to help. He was a cracking soldier and an even better friend. He will be sorely missed by the whole of 11 Platoon and no doubt, the rest of the Battalion" Private Curtis Cumberbatch and Private Scott Garrett, both of 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "Mr Nice Guy: Never let anyone of us down even at the hardest of times, a great friend and just a brilliant soldier. Thanks for showing us the ropes when I first got to the Battalion. We felt privileged to be in the same section as you. Missed but never forgotten" Private Lee Olen, 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "Tony Rawson aka ‘Nicey’. What can I say, what a good bloke; not a bad bone in his body. He loved the job with a passion and he will be sadly missed. Gone but never forgotten."


Captain David Hicks from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 11 August 2007. Captain Hicks, aged 26, was killed during a violent attack on his patrol base north east of Sangin, in Helmand Province. At 1320 hours local time the patrol base came under attack from small arms fire, rocket propelled grenades, and indirect fire. It was during this engagement that Captain Hicks was injured. An emergency response helicopter took him to the medical facility at Camp Bastion for treatment, but sadly he did not survive.

Captain David Hicks was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in December 2002 into the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment. After two years commanding a rifle platoon he went to Bosnia for two months as a Company Second in Command with The Grenadier Guards. He then went to the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, for just over a year where he trained recruits, before going to Iraq as a Company Second in Command for the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment - 'The Poachers'. He then returned to the 1st Battalion towards the end of 2006 where he took over again as Company Second in Command for C (Essex) Company. Captain Hicks had been deployed on Operation HERRICK 6 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, since March 2007. He had been involved in numerous engagements with enemy forces. At the time of his death, he was acting as Company Commander, and had commanded a number of fighting patrols deep into Taliban territory, always leading from the front and setting the example for the remainder of the Company. He died commanding C Company from the front as he coordinated the response to the attack on their patrol base. Captain Hicks was an extremely dedicated, conscientious and professional officer. He planned everything with incredible attention to detail, always ensuring he achieved the best possible result. He had a real passion for soldiering and thrived in the operational environment, where he had the opportunities to practise the profession he so loved. He was a true advocate of the 'work hard - play hard' ethos of the infantry and was a real character in the mess. He was supremely fit, and enjoyed all physical aspects of the Army. His hobbies included skiing, and he was already planning the Battalion skiing trip for early 2008. He had been with his girlfriend Nicola since late 2006 and was planning to buy a house with her in Surrey following his operational tour in Afghanistan. Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "Captain Dave Hicks was an outstanding officer who will be sorely missed by all members of the Battalion. It is typical of him that he had led from the forward position during the attack on his Company, in order to best direct the battle and provide an inspiring example to his men. Even after being mortally wounded his only concern was to get back into position to control the fight. Highly professional with a genuine concern for his soldiers, he typified the highest standards of leadership and commanded genuine respect from all who served with him. Our sincere condolences are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times." Major Phil Messenger, Officer Commanding C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "Dave Hicks was the most professional and dedicated fellow infantry officer I have ever had the privilege of working with. He had a true affinity with the soldiers he so enjoyed working alongside and he commanded their respect due to his firm but fair leadership style. He was an infantry officer of the highest order, totally dedicated to his work and determined to give 100 per cent in everything he did. He will be sorely missed by all officers and soldiers of C (Essex) Company and will always be remembered as a first class officer and dear friend." Capt Alex Maclay, Regimental Signals Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "Words cannot describe what the loss of Dave means. Whether it was his shoulder to cry on, as a partner in crime, or just comradeship, we shared many good times, the memories of which I will always cherish." Lieutenant Marni Olivier, Officer Commanding 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "I have had the honour to serve with Dave since the start of this operational tour. His calming influence and willingness to make time to listen to our concerns always impressed me. I trusted his judgement and thoughts. He led us extremely well in some very dangerous situations. I will miss my friend." Sergeant Matthew Waters, 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "Captain Dave Hicks was a good friend and a good leader of men. To me he was a calming influence who would be able to see through tough situations and find a positive side. His humour was unique and he always knew what to say to cheer people up. Dave stepped up to Company Commander and used his intelligence and experience to do what was right for him and the men. He was a good friend but hopefully he has gone to a better place. Dave will be sorely missed by all in C (Essex) Company and across the Battalion. He was a true star." Private Benjamin Emmett, C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "Captain Hicks was a very hard working and understanding Second in Command. He was a funny, caring man and would always put a smile on your face. He was always willing to give advice and would never put you down. He always had time for everyone from private soldiers to the Company Commander. He will be missed greatly by all that knew him."


[ Privates Aaron McClure, Robert Foster and John Thrumble ]

Three British soldiers were killed in a "friendly fire" incident involving US military aircraft while on operations in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on 24 August 2007. Privates Aaron McClure, Robert Foster and John Thrumble from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment were on a patrol near Kajaki when they came under Taleban fire ...  Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, said Pte McClure, 19, from Ipswich, "was already a veteran of over forty engagements with the enemy. It is tragic that where the Taliban had failed, it was an accident that has taken him from us."  Lt Col Carver described Pte Thrumble, 21, from Chelmsford, Essex, as "proven in combat on countless occasions - his raw courage and ability to raise a smile were invaluable in these testing times". Of Pte Foster, aged 19 and from Harlow in Essex, Lt Col Carver said: "Fiercely loyal to his friends, he had seemingly limitless reserves of courage and strength of character way beyond his years."

The three soldiers, all serving in 7 Platoon B 'SUFFOLK' Company, were killed when the platoon came under accurate fire from a determined Taliban force during a fighting patrol to disrupt enemy activity and reassure the local population north west of Kajaki, in northern Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.  During the ensuing fire fight air support was requested from two US F15 aircraft to engage the enemy positions and it was then that a bomb tragically struck the compound where the three soldiers and their section were located. An emergency helicopter was tasked to assist, however, sadly Privates McClure, Foster and Thrumble were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other soldiers were also injured in the incident which occurred at approximately 6.30pm local time. The injured soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the medical facility at Camp Bastion for treatment.


Private Aaron James McClure Private McClure, aged 19, from Ipswich, nicknamed 'Troy', enlisted into the British Army in March 2006 and having completed training as a rifleman at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, he joined the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in October the same year. He had recently participated in exercises in the UK and Kenya.

[ Private Aaron James McClure ]

As a rifleman in 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company Private McClure had been serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan since March 2007 on his first operational tour. During this time he had been involved in numerous fierce engagements with the Taliban frequently at close range, often in dangerous situations and in the most demanding of environments. 'Troy' quickly established himself as a highly capable, motivated and brave soldier.  His quiet, unassuming nature was founded on an inner confidence that saw him excel at a very early stage in his career; he was a rising star within the Company who had a bright future. Widely regarded as a first-rate soldier, notable for his complete reliability and commitment, it was in contact with the enemy where he displayed his true ability working selflessly to support the remainder of his platoon without complaint; characteristics he will be remembered for. Private McClure's friendly, modest exterior belied a soldier who was focused, physically and mentally tough, and intent on doing the utmost for his team-mates. His presence will be missed immensely by all within the Company. Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver Commanding Officer 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment said: "At 19 years-old, Private Aaron McClure was already a veteran of over forty engagements with the enemy. It is tragic that where the Taliban had failed, it was an accident that has taken him from us. Loyal, hard working and highly professional, he constantly surpassed the standards expected, and his loss is a bitter blow to the whole Battalion. We will never forget him, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times." Major Tony Borgnis, Officer Commanding B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private McClure, although relatively new to the Company, was an exceptionally professional and highly motivated soldier. He rapidly established himself as one of the hardest working and most dependable soldiers I have. He consistently carried out even the most demanding tasks to the highest of standards. His actions epitomised the very best qualities of the British Infantry, in general, and the Royal Anglian Regiment in particular. He was a true and loyal friend to all those he served with, always placing the needs of others above his own. His loss is tragic and deeply felt by all members of the Company. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."  Lieutenant George Seal-Coon, Platoon Commander 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private Aaron McClure was a rising star of the platoon. As a soldier, he displayed the greatest levels of professionalism and dedication in the most arduous and dangerous of environments. As a friend he was utterly selfless and reliable. His strength of character was ever an inspiration to those who worked and lived alongside him. We are all devastated by his loss." Sergeant 'Woody' Woodrow, Platoon Sergeant, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private 'Troy' McClure was an amazingly robust soldier with potential beyond his young years. He was always helpful and dependable in the thick of things. We will miss him deeply and he will never be forgotten." Lance Corporal Stevie Veal, Section Commander, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Troy as most people knew him was a smart and intelligent soldier whose aspirations inspired his peers and even his commander. He was more than capable of becoming a fine junior non commissioned officer, which is what he wanted above all. He was a model for the British Army. We will always remember him, and it was more than a privilege to serve with him." Private Aaron 'Ronnie' Barker, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "McClure known to most of his mates as 'Troy' was a hard working and very determined member of 7 Platoon who would 'work his socks off' to achieve the best results he could. 'Troy' had a lot of ambition and would have gone far in the Army. He will be missed very much by all of us in 7 Platoon and the Company. Rest in peace mate and my thoughts are with your family." Aaron's family said: "Aaron was a wonderful son to Lorraine and Karl and grandson to Vi, Allan, Linda and Lenny. He was loved by his aunts, uncles, cousins and numerous friends alike. He was also looked up to by his brothers, Lewis, Daniel and Ryan. "Aaron loved the army life to which he was dedicated and had aspirations for promotion. He was never happier than when with family who knew Aaron as a bright, happy, handsome lad who would do anything for anyone. "Aaron was a light in our lives now extinguished, always loved, never forgotten. "Our thoughts and prayers are with other families affected by this tragic incident."


[ Private Robert Graham Foster  ]

Private Robert Graham Foster  Private Foster, aged 19, from Harlow, enlisted into the British Army in April 2006 and after completing training as a rifleman at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, he joined the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in October the same year. He had recently participated in exercises in the UK and Kenya. Private Foster had been serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan since March 2007 as a rifleman in 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company. It was his first operational tour and like Private McClure, he saw significant action during his short time with the Battalion, being involved in numerous, often close quarter, engagements with the Taliban in the most demanding circumstances. In these situations he fought with a strength and courage that belied his relative inexperience, testament to his unswerving commitment to his fellow soldiers. Private Foster was one of the Company's real characters. An extrovert by nature, his gregarious approach was a refreshing relief from the stresses of combat; unsurprisingly he was hugely popular within his platoon and the wider Company. He had the rare quality to always see the bright side of any situation, irrespective of the severity of events. His confidence and excellent sense of humour shone through at every stage, lifting the morale of all those around him.  An accomplished rifleman who worked hard for his mates, Private Foster clearly enjoyed Army life and being amongst his fellow soldiers. He had a bright future in a career that he loved. His absence will be felt deeply within the Company. Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver Commanding Officer 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment said: "As a junior soldier, Private Robert Foster settled in remarkably quickly and was a highly respected Viking. Fiercely loyal to his friends, he had seemingly limitless reserves of courage and strength of character way beyond his years. He had a rare quality of always seeing the bright side of any situation and a mischievous sense of humour which made him hugely popular. Never to be forgotten, our sympathy and prayers are with his family and friends at this very difficult time." Major Tony Borgnis, Officer Commanding B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private Foster joined the Company only six months before deployment to Afghanistan and yet he immediately became an integral part of the team. His consistently high morale was infectious across all ranks with which he served. His apparently unlimited capacity for carrying out courageous acts was an inspiration to the rest of the Company. As a soldier he was utterly dependable and professional even through the darkest of times. As a friend he was compassionate, kind and lifted the spirits of those around him. He will always be remembered by those who were close to him and our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends. We will never forget him."  Lieutenant George Seal-Coon, Platoon Commander 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private 'Fozzy' Foster was a beacon for the platoon: his courage, character and sense of humour made him a close friend to those around him. At all times, he carried out his tasks, with the highest professionalism and great personal strength, making him ever steadfast amongst his team. His highest quality was his loyalty, to his platoon, section but above all his friends. He will be sorely missed."  Sergeant 'Woody' Woodrow, Platoon Sergeant, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private 'Foster Child' was a fun loving, hilariously funny and enthusiastic young soldier. He was one of the true characters within the Platoon and a very competent and dependable operator. He was a true team player that was loved and will be truly missed by all".  Lance Corporal Stevie Veal, Section Commander, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Fozzy as he was known by all will be remembered for never turning a dare down. He was up for anything and kept the comedy value of the section up when it was most needed. He was a model for the British Army. It was a privilege to serve with him and we will never forget him." Private Aaron 'Ronnie' Barker, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Foster was a very funny member of 7 Platoon and will be missed a lot. I remember the first time I met him. It was at the ranges, after a long day shouting, we went to sleep, only to be woken by more shouting. It was Foster sleep-talking. He will be missed a lot by me because he was hard working, down to earth and just a likeable guy who got on with everyone. You will be missed a lot by the whole of 7 Platoon and the Company. Rest in peace mate, my thoughts are with your family." Robert's family said: "To us Robert was the most wonderful son; he was the life and sole of the party and had a very loving and caring nature. His family and friends now feel a very big gap in their lives. The only consolation is that he died doing the job he loved. We have been overwhelmed by the love and the support we have been shown by everyone since we received this heartbreaking news. His sister Lauren says he was a great brother: He always looked out for me, even though he was younger. I'm so very proud of him and always will be. "Our thoughts are also with the other families affected by this tragedy and we pray for a full recovery for the two injured soldiers."


[ Private John Thrumble ]

Private Thrumble, aged 21, from Chelmsford, enlisted into the British Army in April 2004 and joined the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in July 2005 after completing his training as a rifleman at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick. In the same year he completed a tour with the Battalion in Iraq, on Operation Telic 6, where he served with distinction. He had recently participated in exercises in the UK, Canada and Kenya. As a machine gunner in 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company Private Thrumble had been serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan since March 2007. During this time he had been involved in numerous, close quarter engagements with the enemy where he had proven himself to be a brave, tenacious and steadfast soldier who would not yield irrespective of the circumstances - in a fight he was always there for his mates.  Private Thrumble was a unique character, known by all within B (Suffolk) Company for his quirky sense of humour and unshakably high morale. He had the rare ability to 'light up' any situation with a well timed, good humoured remark or gesture that would always raise the morale of his fellow soldiers. A kind-hearted and sincere soldier, he had developed into a highly competent and professional infantryman who loved his job and Army life; he revelled in the operational challenges of service in Afghanistan. He talked enthusiastically of the upcoming promotion course where he aspired to succeed and gain promotion to Lance Corporal. Sadly his significant potential will go unrealised. Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver Commanding Officer 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment said: "Private John Thrumble was one of the mainstays and leading characters within the Battalion. An inspirational model to others and a caring and compassionate friend to many, he will be sorely missed. Proven in combat on countless occasions – his raw courage and ability to raise a smile were invaluable in these testing times. He joins the ranks of his fellow fallen Vikings but his reputation will live on and he will never be forgotten. The most sincere condolences of the entire Battalion are with his family and friends at this tragic time." Major Tony Borgnis, Officer Commanding B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private Thrumble was one of the B Company characters. He was utterly dedicated to his job and in particular, fiercely loyal to his platoon and protective of his friends. This attitude was shown countless times during operations, where he was frequently under heavy enemy fire. His courage and professionalism were always evident during the most demanding periods, where he was often a 'rock' for the younger members of the platoon. His loss is felt deeply throughout the Company, he will be sorely missed. All our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time" Lieutenant George Seal-Coon, Officer Commanding 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private John Thrumble was a stalwart member of 7 Platoon. He was always professional, taking great care in all aspects of his work. He was courageous and determined, proving himself on numerous occasions. He was an inspiration and a friend to all, putting the welfare of others before his own and showing compassion at all times. His sense of humour, high morale and character set him apart as a great soldier and a great friend. He will not be forgotten." Sergeant 'Woody' Woodrow, Platoon Sergeant, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Private Thrumble' was a true character within the platoon, with a great outlook on life. He was a real team player with a heart of gold. We will miss him deeply and he will never be forgotten." Lance Corporal Stevie Veal, Section Commander, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "Thrumble was a very strong member of the section. Being the most senior private, he will be remembered for his random sense of humour which most of the time only he could understand. But still he always managed to raise a smile on anyone's face in the worst of times." Private Aaron 'Ronnie' Barker, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company said: "John was the joker of the platoon and even the Company, and always managed to make you laugh whatever the circumstances. Although he was hard as nails, he had a soft side to him which most people did not know. He had some ambition and wanted to stay in the Army and work his way up through the ranks. My thoughts are now with his family, his brothers and his girlfriend who he loved very much. Rest in peace. I am going to miss you very much, mate." Mr Stephen Thrumble, Private John Thrumble's father said: "John was well known and well loved by all that new him, he leaves behind parents Stephen & Pearl and a younger brother Luke and foster Brother Semicjan Dalti. Although John loved his family dearly he had become attached to his second family, B Company, 'the Vikings', and was proud to serve alongside the friends he had made on the way. All the family are very proud of John and what he had achieved on the way whilst with the Vikings."  Poem from Mum Pearl Thrumble: "Our son the soldier, how great a man he must be. To be joined in the fight to set another world free. Our son the soldier, so very proud of you we are. To all of us who love you, you will always be a shining star Our son the Soldier so far away from home in a foreign place  Just close your eyes to see a familiar smiling face Our son the soldier so very far away We will be waiting with open arms on your coming home day."  Author unknown Brigadier John Lorimer, Commander Task Force Helmand, said: "I am extremely saddened by the death of three soldiers from Task Force Helmand in what we believe to be a tragic accident. "The death or injury of every solider affects us all deeply. But as professionals we must carry on with the job in hand – fighting a determined, cunning and cruel enemy with the clear goal of bringing peace, security and stability to Afghanistan on behalf of its Government. "We continue to work very closely with US Forces in Helmand and their contribution is instrumental to the success of our joint mission. Our track record speaks for itself – our partnership is highly effective and we have the insurgency on the back foot. This incident is all the more devastating because on numerous occasions, bombs dropped by US aircraft have saved the lives of British troops on the ground. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the soldiers killed or injured at this deeply distressing time."


[ Lance Corporal Adam Paul Drane ]

Lance Corporal Adam Paul Drane from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 7 December 2009. Lance Corporal Drane died whilst carrying out security duties at Check Point Paraang in southern Nad e-Ali, Helmand province. He deployed to Afghanistan as a Section Second-in-Command within C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, attached to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards Battle Group. Lance Corporal Drane was employed within 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company. He was responsible for commanding a four-man 'fire team' and as such was charged with engaging with and reassuring the local population as well as defeating the insurgents in one of Helmand province's most challenging areas. He had been conducting this task for nearly two months. Lance Corporal Drane was born in Bury St Edmunds on 24 July 1986. He completed his training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick on 15 August 2007 and within two weeks had joined 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan for the last two months of their Op HERRICK 6 tour. On returning to the UK he completed a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (JNCO) cadre and was soon after promoted to Lance Corporal. Prior to deploying to Afghanistan for his second tour, Lance Corporal Drane had completed a number of demanding field exercises in the UK as well as achieving a semi-final place in the Inter-Company Boxing Championships of 2009. Lance Corporal Drane leaves behind a close and loving family, including his parents, Desmond and Jackie, and brother, Christopher, as well as his beloved fiancée, Sian Goodenough. Quietly confident, Lance Corporal Drane was an extremely kind individual who had a wonderful sense of humour. He was well-known and respected across the battalion as a soldier but particularly renowned for his love of music and guitars. Lance Corporal Drane was very much career orientated and was looking forward to completing the demanding Section Commanders' Battle Course after the tour which would have made him eligible for further promotion.

Lance Corporal Drane's parents, Desmond and Jackie Drane, paid the following tribute: "No words can adequately describe what our loss means to us. But knowing we are united with all Service families brings comfort. "As his parents, together with Sian, his fiancée, and on behalf of Christopher his younger brother, we wish to express our tremendous pride in Adam's achievements: as a son, a brother, and future husband. We wish also to honour his chosen profession, which taught him the true meaning of courage and self-sacrifice. In the course of his duties, Lance Corporal Adam Drane died at his post, protecting his company, in the service of his country.

Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "I am hugely saddened by the death of Lance Corporal Adam Drane killed whilst serving in the Nad e-Ali area of Afghanistan. He died doing his job and whilst playing his part in creating all-important security for the people of Afghanistan. "Adam was a highly respected and professional Non-Commissioned Officer whose death has left a huge hole in the hearts of those with whom he served. He will be remembered as a quiet, confident and effective young man with a bright future ahead of him. "Those of us who Adam leaves behind will never forget him and will draw inspiration from his memory for the work that lies ahead of us. I know that I can speak for all members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment - 'The Vikings' - in offering our thoughts and prayers to Adam's family and friends." Major Christopher Davies, Officer Commanding, C (Essex) Company, said: "Lance Corporal Adam Drane was a thoroughbred soldier with huge potential; having already served with distinction in Afghanistan in 2007 as part of B Company it was no surprise that he stood out amongst his peers as someone special when he moved to C Company in the summer of 2009. "After nearly two months of almost daily engagements with the enemy, of which the majority were fierce and unrelenting, he remained hardy, focused and full of resolve. His stoical nature made those around him stronger and his sense of humour and genuine compassion for his fellow men allowed him to create a confident and extremely capable team. "Lance Corporal Drane was naturally brave and courageous, and convincingly demonstrated this in the boxing ring as well as on the battlefield. A true inspiration to others, his absence will leave an irreplaceable gap within the ranks of C (Essex) Company. "Such a tragic loss of life is hard to comprehend but will be most acutely felt by Lance Corporal Drane's fiancée and family, who meant so much to him, and our thoughts at this deeply sad time are firmly lodged with them." Second Lieutenant Dan Benstead, 6 Platoon Commander, C (Essex) Company, said: "The death of Lance Corporal Drane has dealt a huge blow to 6 Platoon. He was an immensely popular character and the shock we are feeling is testament to this. "Lance Corporal Drane was an outstanding soldier and a highly competent Section Second-in-Command. He proved his ability to command his fire team in numerous difficult engagements with the enemy, and his calmness under fire earned him a huge amount of respect from those who served with him. "I could always rely upon Lance Corporal Drane to do anything that was asked of him. He believed entirely in our mission in Afghanistan and his commitment to achieving this was evident in everything he did. "Lance Corporal Drane was an avid music fan and could often be found compiling playlists of his favourite tracks during periods of down-time; he will be remembered fondly for this. "This is a very difficult time for all of 6 Platoon but words cannot describe the grief his family must be feeling. His parents, Jackie and Des, his brother Christopher and fiancée Sian can be immensely proud of Lance Corporal Drane. The thoughts of the whole of 6 Platoon are with them at this time. He will be missed by us all." Lance Corporal Daniel Monks, Second-in-Command 2 Section, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "It is not hard to describe the kind of man Adam was; never difficult or uncomfortable to be around but the complete opposite. A well-loved character within the company. "Never negative about what had to be done, and always smiling at every task no matter how hard to achieve. Determined as a leader and an inspiration to the others with his kindness. I first became good friends with Adam after the JNCO cadre, where he would come to me for advice about work. "I never talked to Adam without laughing about something stupid and always walked away with a smile on my face." Lance Corporal Alex Stearne, 1 Section Commander, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "The way I remember Adam is his love of music and kindness to everyone. We have lost a good commander but a better friend. I will always remember him 'air-guitaring' to AC/DC whilst on radio stag with him."

Private Paul 'Kels Bels' Kelly, 1 Section, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "Words cannot describe how much I am going to miss Adam. He was the best friend I have ever had. No matter how hard the situation became, he could always cheer me up. "All we had talked about during the tour was our future weddings and how we were going to be each other's best man and that is exactly what he was. His passing has left a space in my heart that will never be filled. He was my 'hard rockin' brother and that is how I will remember him." Private Jason Field, 3 Section, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "Lance Corporal Drane was the kindest, most loving man I knew. This was most apparent when he talked about his fiancée. He loved her so much. She was the first and last person on his mind and I have never met anyone who loved someone as much as he did. I'll never forget our times together and listening to him play his guitar. He'll always be with me." Private Dan Burgess, Javelin Detachment, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "I will always remember 'Add' for his sense of humour and love of music. When I first met him seven years ago with his long blond hair and bass guitar in hand, I never once thought a few years down the line we would be in Afghanistan together. He will always be remembered as an excellent soldier, and an even better friend."


[ Private Robert Hayes ]

Private Robert Hayes of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment who was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 3 January 2010. Private Robert Hayes was killed as a result of an improvised explosive device blast while conducting a security patrol south of Check Point Paraang in southern Nad e-Ali, Helmand province. He had deployed to Afghanistan with C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (Vikings), attached to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards Battle Group. Private Hayes was employed as a Rifleman within 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company. He was responsible for providing assistance and security to the local population which included conducting patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in one of Helmand province's most challenging and dangerous areas. Private Hayes was born in Cambridge on 9 May 1990, and grew up there. He completed his training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick on 2nd February 2009, aged 18, and joined the 'Vikings' shortly afterwards. Before deploying to Afghanistan, Private Hayes completed a number of demanding exercises in the United Kingdom and convincingly won his weight category during the battalion's 2009 Inter-Company Boxing Championships. In a very short period of time Private Hayes proved himself to be a hugely professional and talented soldier. He was courageous, thoughtful and  well liked by all those that served alongside him. Without doubt he had the personal attributes and raw potential to have a full and successful career in the Army.

In a statement the family of Private Hayes said: "Trying to express the true measure of our sorrow - and our sense of loss - at this time, is impossible. We are still coming to terms with this devastating news. However, we are strengthened by the thought that he was with his comrades, doing the job he so dearly loved, when his life was taken. "From childhood, Robbie had one ambition, to be a soldier. He fulfilled his dream last February, passing out from training at Catterick where he was described as a man of great determination and a credit to his platoon. "Sport, particularly rugby and boxing, became his passion. He was a very popular young player for Newmarket Rugby Club, and won his battalion's Boxing Championships at welterweight in his first attempt. Robbie loved all aspects of life in his home village, Burwell, in Cambridgeshire. Among his peers he enjoyed great popularity but found particular happiness with his girlfriend, Gemma. "After training for Afghanistan he deployed to Helmand province last October. There his potential for promotion became noticeable. Robbie sincerely believed his fellow 'Vikings' were his 'other', military, family. Although he had an enthusiastic and energetic personality, our son could just as easily behave with the manners of a gentle, reflective, caring person. We also ask that our brave son's memory be duly honoured." Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham MC, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "I was shocked and saddened to the core to learn of the death of Private Robert Hayes killed today in the Nad e-Ali district. "He died whilst on patrol in an area that has seen some of the most intense fighting with the insurgents that seek to undermine the Afghan Government. In the past two months, he and his platoon have given their all to deliver a secure environment for the people of Nad e-Ali in what are some of the most demanding of conditions. "Robert's death leaves a huge hole in the Vikings' ranks; he will be remembered as a trusted member of the team, a young man whose energy for  life was contagious, for his bravery and sense of humour. "Robert was a young man who made a real difference in his short time with the battalion - he has been taken from us and we are all the poorer for his passing. I know that all members of the Vikings will join me in offering our thoughts and prayers to Robert's family and friends. He will be remembered forever more." Major Christopher Davies, Officer Commanding, C (Essex) Company, said: "The tragic loss of such a young, gifted and promising member of C Company is deeply saddening. "Although he had only been in the Army for just over a year, Private Robert Hayes was quick to make his own mark and as a result became widely recognised across the battalion as an extremely capable soldier, brave comrade and talented boxer. "He fully accepted his role in Afghanistan and ensured that his personal contribution to the mission made a genuine difference. "For over two months he was involved in heavy and relentless fighting against insurgents and always acted in a courageous, decisive and selfless manner. "The considerate way in which he interacted with the local population was synonymous with someone who was genuinely decent and wanted betterment for those less fortunate than himself. "Private Robert Hayes was immensely popular and sacrificed his life doing something that he truly believed in. "His loss is widely felt across all ranks within the company and our thoughts at this awful time remain firmly with his family and loved ones at home for whom the pain will be immeasurable." Second Lieutenant Dan Benstead, 6 Platoon Commander, C (Essex) Company, said: "Private Hayes was a stalwart of 6 Platoon. Despite only being in the Army a short time he was a supremely confident soldier and loved being on operations. "He had endless energy, a wicked sense of humour and was always involved in any platoon pranks. He was extremely popular with his peers and could often be found laughing and joking with them. "Private Hayes was a huge asset to the platoon and he will be sorely missed by all of the Mighty VI [6 Platoon]. No words can explain the utter devastation I feel for his family. My thoughts are with them and I only hope they can draw solace from his passion and belief in the job he was doing." Sergeant Ryan Vickery, 6 Platoon Sergeant, C (Essex) Company, said: "Private Hayes was an essential member of 6 Platoon; he was always motivated and always conducted himself as a professional soldier. "He was extremely proactive and never showed any signs of fear when engaged with the enemy. Robert is the type of character you cannot help but like and being in his company was nothing short of a pleasure. "Although Robert is no longer with us, he will never leave our minds and will now join his Viking brothers. "Our thoughts are with his family at this time of bereavement and our words are not enough when it comes to describing one of our own. Robert  Hayes - a Viking, a friend, a brother and a sad loss - rest forever in peace." Private Daniel Greenland, a close friend, said: "Private Robert Hayes was one of the funniest blokes I knew. Whenever I saw him he always had a smile on his face. "I had only known Rob a short while as he was fairly new in the regiment but he was a massive personality in 6 Platoon. I have never met someone as motivated and brave. "He was a great soldier and an even better friend. You will never be forgotten. See you on the other side mate."

Private Mathew Arrowsmith, a close friend, said: "A true friend has been taken from us and we hope you are in a better place mate. We will never be the same again. Words cannot describe how we feel. You'll never be forgotten. A true VI. RIP." Private Jason Field, a close friend, said: "Private Robert Hayes was one of my closest friends. He always walked around with a smile on his face. "I'll never forget the fun times we have shared together such as boxing training and our week in Newquay. I shall miss him dearly and never forget his smile."


[ Captain Martin Driver ] ex 4 Para TA Soldier

  Captain Martin Driver from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment died in Selly Oak Hospital on Monday 15 March 2010 from wounds sustained in Afghanistan. Captain Driver died at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Selly Oak Hospital as a result of wounds sustained in an explosion which occurred in the Musa Qal'ah district of Helmand province on the morning of 21 February 2010. Captain Martin Driver, aged 31, originally from Barnsley, commissioned into 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, 'The Vikings', on 16 December 2006. He had previously served in 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment (4 PARA), a TA unit, while at university and deployed during this time on operational tours in Iraq and Northern Ireland. Having completed the Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 6 in 2007. After two years commanding his platoon he was posted to study Arabic at the Defence School of Languages in Beaconsfield and promoted to Captain. He returned to 'The Vikings' as the Second-in-Command of A (Norfolk) Company. It was in this role that he deployed to Afghanistan for the second time in October 2009 with 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, serving as part of the Household Cavalry Regiment Battle Group, and was Acting Company Commander when he was tragically injured by an improvised explosive device blast whilst on patrol in Musa Qal'ah, resulting in his death in Selly Oak Hospital this week.

[ Martin served with 4 Para (TA) ]

Captain Driver's family made the following statement: "We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved Martin. He was such a caring young man who always put his family first. He touched the lives of  all who had the privilege to know him. He died doing a job he loved. His dedication and professionalism will remain an inspiration to all. "Martin always wanted to be a soldier and an officer he became, a Captain of the Vikings, 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment. We are so proud of his efforts. His legacy shall never be forgotten. He has touched so many with his love and compassion. We as his family, like others, shall always keep him in our hearts. "Martin leaves behind his beautiful partner Johanna, mother and father, and twin brother. "We are so grateful for the efforts of the Medical Teams in Afghanistan who brought Martin home, as he promised us he would. We would also like to thank the staff of Selly Oak Hospital Critical Care Unit, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, and all of the Surgical Teams who worked so valiantly for Martin during the last three weeks. "He died peacefully at 11 minutes past 11pm on the 15th of March 2010. We will never forget our Airborne Viking Brother Martin. God bless him."

Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: "Captain Martin Driver was a quiet and modest officer for whom the Army was his life. This quiet exterior hid a man who was focused and determined. He was one of the strongest Captains in the battalion and showed the potential to achieve great things in the Army. "He was a superb infantryman and an even better officer. He had a coolness about him - people naturally followed. Intelligent, driven, outstandingly fit and with grit and gravitas - he was planning to attempt Special Forces selection this summer and few in the battalion expected him to return. "He received his wounds whilst acting as the Company Commander of A (Norfolk) Company, a role he had stepped up to with confidence and poise. This was his fourth operational tour and his second deployment to Afghanistan. He thrived on the intellectual and physical challenges that only operations bring. "Martin was a popular and utterly decent man and he will be sorely missed by all those whose lives he touched. He has given his life in the service of his friends in the battalion, for the Royal Anglian Regiment, for his country, and for the people of Afghanistan. "As individuals and as a battalion, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and girlfriend who have been with him by his side as he has fought for his life over the last month. Martin served as a 'Viking' officer, died commanding 'Viking' soldiers, and will never be forgotten."

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Fullerton, Commanding Officer, Household Cavalry Regiment Battle Group, said: "The news of Captain Martin Driver's death has shocked the Battle Group in which he served. He was an inspiration to his company, a man of considerable combat experience and someone who was the backbone to A Company's operations. "Through his leadership and control, A Company has dealt a huge blow to the insurgency in the north of Musa Qal'ah, liberating the people and bringing  them security and hope. He relished the challenge of being here in Afghanistan to help the people rid themselves of tyranny, and he did so much to ensure that A Company was at all times prepared and ready for combat. "It is a true honour to have served with a young man of such talent and courage and my thoughts are with his family at this most tragic time." Major Stuart Smith, Officer Commanding, A (Norfolk) Company, said: "Captain Martin Driver finally succumbed to his wounds three weeks after sustaining a terrible injury and it is testament to his strength of character that he held on for so long. Martin was an exceptionally talented young officer. "Using his vast operational experience to best effect he was not only an excellent Company Second-in-Command but had been earmarked for future key  roles within the battalion. "He was diligent in his role but he also brought his dry sense of humour to the fore as he mentored the Platoon Commanders. At the time of his injury he was acting as Company Commander and was relishing the opportunity of commanding the company on operations. "Hugely popular across the whole spectrum of ranks and a great friend to so many of us in the battalion, he will be greatly missed. His passing has left a huge gap in the battalion's ranks but I know, as a dedicated officer, he would want the company to continue on with its mission. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his parents, brother David and girlfriend Jo at this very difficult time, especially as they have held vigil at his bedside for three long weeks. A great man and a great friend, Martin was and always will be the epitome of a true 'Viking' officer." Captain Tom Clarke, Officer Commanding, Mortar Platoon, said: "11 years ago I had the good fortune to make a friend and colleague in then Private Martin Driver when we both joined 4 PARA. It was immediately obvious that we were doing it for the same reasons; to gain experience as soldiers while at university, prior to embarking on careers as officers. "We have followed almost identical military careers, serving concurrently in Northern Ireland and Iraq as soldiers and two tours of Afghanistan since commissioning from Sandhurst. "Martin was a thoroughly professional soldier and officer and one couldn't ask for more from a friend. He was the consummate and selfless professional and would always ensure that all duties, be they to his office or his friends and family, were completed to perfection regardless of the impact upon himself. "It is testimony to his character and spirit that he survived for so long with such serious injuries; his tenacity and robustness showing right to the end. I will remember him as a loyal and trusted man whose wit and wisdom, and his ability to express them, were never far round the corner." "My thoughts and prayers are with his family and Jo at this sad time as we come to terms with this loss and grieve for a great friend." Captain Will Meddings, Adjutant, said: "I first met Martin Driver on my return to the battalion in 2007, where he had already established himself as an exceptional young officer. We jokingly nicknamed him 'mumbles' - he was a quiet, unassuming officer, but once you got to know him you could not help but be impressed by his capacity for work, his ability to get to the heart of any problem and the extent to which he cared about those under his command. "He was someone who you knew would graft for his platoon, whatever the circumstances. He took this attitude with him when he became the Second-in-Command of A (Norfolk) Company. All that had changed for him was that he now needed to look after over 100 soldiers rather than 30. I knew that if I had a question about any man in the company, he would be able to answer it. "Martin's loss will be keenly felt by the officers and soldiers of the battalion. I will always remember him as a good friend, a solid operator and a man I knew that I could turn to. Equally at home in a bar with his friends, out thrashing himself down a hill on his bike or commanding his men from a trench, he is irreplaceable in every respect and I know he will be missed."


[ Lance Corporal Scott Hardy and Private James Grigg  ]

Lance Corporal Scott Hardy (left) and Private James Grigg, both from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 16 March 2010. They were killed, while serving as part of the Household Cavalry Regiment Battle Group, as a result of an explosion which occurred in an area approximately 20km north of Musa Qal'ah district centre, Helmand province. At the time of their deaths Lance Corporal Hardy and Private Grigg were on an operation inserted deep into Taliban territory, attacking the insurgents where they least expected it.

[ Lance Corporal Scott Hardy, ]

Lance Corporal Scott Hardy, aged 26, was born and raised in Chelmsford. A bricklayer before joining the Army, he excelled at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. He passed out of training in May 2007 and deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 6 only three weeks later. His age and maturity showed in Afghanistan and he was identified as a soldier with the potential to become a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer. He  passed his Leadership Course in the winter of 2008 and was promoted shortly after. His performance on this course was indicative of the man. In the swirling snow and sub-zero conditions and after four-and-a-half hours of tabbing up mountains he was still there, plugging away with a grim smile on his face. He soaked hardship up and got on with the job. Lance Corporal Hardy arrived in Afghanistan on 19 October 2009 and was employed as a Section Second in Command in 3 Platoon of A (Norfolk) Company.

Lance Corporal Hardy's family and girlfriend made the following statement: "Lance Corporal Scott Hardy was a proud professional soldier who courageously gave his life for his Country in Helmand Province. "He had previously served there in 2007. As an infantryman he brought a passionate enthusiasm to the job of Section Commander. Having already promoted quickly, attendance on his next promotion course had been planned for return from Afghanistan. "Possessing great inner strength and a powerful personality, Scott could be relied upon, even in the worst of situations, to lift his mens' morale. They loved him - he loved them. "Whilst being a highly competitive man, his role as a dearly loved son, brother, uncle and partner, developed his gift for attentiveness towards those around him. His young nephews and nieces agreed that his presence, 'brightened a room'. "His father, brother, sisters and childhood sweetheart, Charlene, feel words fail to express the sorrow only a heart-broken family knows. "To lose Scott, is to lose a huge part of life itself. But he will always be with us, making us smile, giving us pride and gratitude. We also wish to remember his Viking comrades with heartfelt sympathy. Rest in peace valiant friend." Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment said: "Today the Battalion lost two fine young men, killed by an IED whilst conducting an Operation to rid the Taliban from an area to the North of Musa Qal'ah. "Serving as part of A (Norfolk) Company, Lance Corporal Scott Hardy has been part of a close knit team which has, through hard Infantry graft, created real improvements in the security for large numbers of people. "This security allows education, development and health care to flourish without the fear of retribution or intimidation. It is painful that such progress comes at such human cost. "Scott came to my attention soon after I took over command - a big man, with real gravitas and a natural leader of men. He was a stereotypical Junior Non Commissioned Officer - he could have been squeezed out of the mould that has been producing Infantry leaders for generations. "Always ready to see the bright side of life, always ready with banter when the situation allowed it. Mature and unflappable, he was one of those individuals who takes life in their stride. "He was earmarked to attend the Section Commanders Battle Course later this year and we expected him to pass with flying colours. "His performance leading men in the most demanding of circumstances in Afghanistan was notable - he was steadfast under fire and hugely brave. Blessed by a robust sense of humour, Scott was the first to laugh at life's challenges and keep soldiering on. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Scott's family and girlfriend at this tragic time. This man served as a Viking and died a Viking - we will remember his sacrifice for evermore." Major Stuart Smith, Officer Commanding, A (Norfolk) Company said: "Lance Corporal Scott Hardy was a larger than life character with a great sense of humour but beside this he was a thoroughly professional JNCO. "He relished the challenges that came with the role of a light role Infantry Section Commander on Operations. Whether he was engaging with the local nationals or taking the fight to the enemy, his first thought were always for his men and they respected him accordingly. "With his previous Operational experience in Afghanistan in 2007 and with his current performance this year he had really shown his full potential and was highlighted as a real star of the future. "Snatched from us at the prime of his life, he will be missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with his family, girlfriend and friends at this very difficult time. He has left a hole in our ranks, but I know that he would want A (Norfolk) Company to keep continuing with our mission in Afghanistan. He was and always will be a true Viking." Lieutenant Simon Broomfield, Officer Commanding, 3 Platoon said: "Older than most when he joined up, Lance Corporal Hardy was one of the rocks that 3 Platoon relied upon. He joined the Company half way through Op HERRICK 6 in 2007 and stayed with the 'Fighting Ninth' until he died. "Due to go on his Section Commanders' Battle Course on return to the UK, he was undoubtedly going to achieve a strong pass - he was a good leader, a man that I trusted. "Perhaps most impressive was the way he motivated his men. He had a perfect balance of stick and carrot, which was ironic as he had the most striking 'carrot-top' hair. "He was a huge West Ham fan and loved football. Always smiling, always ready with a joke, he was one of those larger than life characters who was always looking for the next thing to take the mickey out of. "3 Platoon mourns his loss and he leaves a correspondingly huge hole in the Platoon. Our thoughts are with his family and his girlfriend Charlene."


[ Private James Grigg ]

Private James Grigg was born in Hartismere, Suffolk in January 1989. It was at his local school where he developed his first passion in life - the glorious game of cricket. After he left the school he continued to coach their team. It was only later, once he had passed out of training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, that he developed his twin passion - being a 'Viking'. Private James Grigg was utterly loyal to The Regiment. He had only been in the Battalion just over a year when he deployed with 'The Vikings' to Afghanistan where he served in A (Norfolk) Company.

 

Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment said: "It is a grim day in the Battalion's life when we mourn the loss of two of our fine young men. Private James Grigg was killed whilst taking part in an Operation to rid the Taliban from an area to the North of Musa Qal'ah. "He was killed by an insurgent laid IED; a cowardly tactic in a campaign which seeks to destroy peace and progress in Afghanistan. James and the other soldiers of A (Norfolk) Company have made huge strides in delivering security in Musa Qal'ah - whilst his death hits us hard, we remain resolute in our determination to complete our mission. "James came across to most as a quiet man who kept himself to himself, but engage him on the subject of cricket and you would unlock him. He was simply fanatical about the game and a great all-round player. "When he stepped up to bowl, you just knew he would start taking wickets. It was once suggested to me that I should commission him for a day, to join us in the annual Officers' v Warrant Officers and Sergeants' Mess cricket match. "But he was passionate about soldiering too; he thought himself lucky to have found a job where he could combine the two things that he loved so much. In turn, we think ourselves lucky to have worked alongside him. "Friendly, polite and endlessly helpful, he was a real team player that you would want to have on your team. He was reliable - a man you could trust. "Our thoughts and prayers are with James' parents and sister at this tragic time. His brother 'Vikings' and the Regimental family share their pain. Together we will ensure he will never be forgotten." Major Stuart Smith, Officer Commanding, A (Norfolk) Company said: "Private James Grigg joined A (Norfolk) Company just over eighteen months ago and this was his first Operational tour and one he was rightly proud to be part of. A thoroughly professional soldier, he was also a real character with a sense of humour that ensured he was popular amongst his Platoon. "An all-round sportsman, he really excelled at cricket and his contribution to the team last summer ensured that the Company was victorious in the Battalion competition. "Always smiling and never complaining James will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. Our thoughts at this difficult time are with his family and friends. Despite leaving a hole in our ranks, I know he would want us to continue with our mission. He had quickly become and always will be a true Viking." Lieutenant Simon Broomfield, Officer Commanding, 3 Platoon said: "Private James Grigg was a great soldier, a capable sportsman and an excellent cricketer. He was a joy to have in my Platoon. An intelligent and thinking soldier, he was quiet but well liked by his team mates. "He had a razor sharp wit. He and I followed the test matches religiously on BFBS and he could be found thumbing his way through my Wisden cricket magazine when ever I was not reading it myself. "Words cannot express the loss that 3 Platoon feel now that he has been killed, but it will not stop our resolution in the task we have ahead of us. I speak for the whole of 3 Platoon when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with his family."