Royal Artillery



[ Sergeant Wilkinson ]

Sergeant Wilkinson, 33, was killed by an explosion during a routine joint patrol with the Afghan National Army in Gereshk, Helmand province. A member of 19 Regiment Royal Artillery, he was serving with 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards at the time of the incident, in which four other members of the patrol were injured.  The patrol was conducting routine operations with the Afghan National Army when it was struck by an improvised explosive device. Although all the injured soldiers were quickly extracted by helicopter to the ISAF medical facility at Camp Bastion, Sergeant Wilkinson was pronounced dead on arrival.

Sergeant Dave Wilkinson, 'Pidge' to his friends, was a fit, courageous and determined soldier, who undoubtedly had a long and successful career ahead of him in the 'Highland Gunners'. It was entirely characteristic of his proactive nature and enthusiasm to help others, and therefore no surprise that he volunteered to undertake a period of patrolling with the Grenadier Guards team, mentoring and partnering the Afghan National Army, to allow them to continue their mission in the Gereshk area of Helmand Province. Brought up and educated in Ashford, Kent, Sergeant Wilkinson joined the Army in 1993 and, after training, was posted to 19/5 (Gibraltar 1779-83) Battery Royal Artillery, then part of 94 Locating Regiment Royal Artillery, 'the Kent Gunners'. Despite moves to a different Regiment and a change in role, he spent the vast majority of his career serving with the Battery, forging many strong friends over 14 years. His broad experience included service in Turkey and Norway as well as operations in the Balkans and Iraq. A highly qualified senior non commissioned officer, he specialised in the Motor Transport trade and was able to instruct on almost every vehicle in the Regiment. This passion and skill for driving extended to his spare time when he competed in civilian cross country driving competitions. His diverse interests also included kayaking and aikido and he had recently taken up golf. Sergeant Wilkinson was a loving husband to Rachel and an exceptional soldier who will be remembered by all who knew him for his infectious, dry sense of humour as well as his professional and committed attitude. Extremely popular, he will be much missed by all who knew him. His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Will Bramble said: "Sergeant Wilkinson excelled as a soldier. Clearly passionate about his trade, he contributed widely to the Regiment and was held in the highest regard by all those who knew him; his selfless nature and wry wit made him extremely popular. His death is a tragic loss that has left a space that is impossible to fill. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Rachel, and family. His courage will continue to be an example to all of us." Major Tim Law Royal Artillery, his Battery Commander, said: "Sergeant 'Pidge' Wilkinson was a first-rate soldier and loving husband to Rachel who, typically, volunteered to join the Queen's Company at short notice in order to ensure that they could continue to carry out their mission in the Gereshk area of Helmand Province. A highly-qualified senior non-commissioned officer and excellent instructor, he was ideally placed to answer his country's call to mentor the Afghan National Army and, until about three weeks ago, had been responsible for overseeing his colleagues' sustainment while they were on operations. "Wishing to play a more active role in actions against the Taliban, it was characteristic of him to put his name forward to assist the Queen's Company in their task of mentoring the Afghans in the central part of the Province. A professional and committed soldier, with a dry sense of humour and a no-nonsense approach to his work, he was extremely popular and will be very much missed by all who knew him. The British Army, today, has lost a loyal and devoted servant." Warrant Officer Class 2 Jimmy Martin, Battery Sergeant Major 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "Dave was not only a natural soldier but also a great friend to 5 Battery and all its members past and present. He was an individual of great intelligence and could master any military motor vehicle with ease. Dave had a great character and an enormous zest for life; these qualities earned respect and admiration from all with whom he served. We will meet again, my friend and fellow soldier." Warrant Officer Class 2 'Basher' Bate, Grenadier Guards, Company Sergeant Major Combat Support Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team said: "I only knew Dave for a short time, but found him a true professional: diligent, hardworking, loyal and honest. He had a lightning wit and I am a better person for knowing him. He will be missed greatly by both me and the team as a whole." Staff Sergeant Darren Lincoln, 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "Having known Dave for many years, he made an impression on everyone he met. With his professionalism and friendly manner, he was liked by everyone he came into contact with. Dave, you were my work colleague but most of all you were my friend. You will be missed." Sergeant Dave Cooper, Signals Sergeant 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I have known Dave for 13 years. What I'll miss is his humour, the way he could turn any situation into something absurd, the way that he would take the mickey and produce sarcastic remarks, always at the right time. I'll also miss his professionalism. He was down the line: he was annoyingly fit, his work was always meticulous and he knew his (and most other peoples') jobs inside out. Even when a task was laborious or seemingly pointless, Dave always gave 100 per cent. Secretly, I was jealous of him (I think we all were)." Sergeant Alex Potter, Battery Commander's Assistant 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I have known Dave since joining the Battery 2 years ago. In all this time he hasn't changed at all: always totally professional and always full of humour. A man that cannot be replaced, he will always be missed by those who had the pleasure of meeting and working with him." Officer Commanding Recce Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team said: "A kind and generous soul, he was ever happy to help both those he knew well and those not so well. Being one of the latter group, he nevertheless gave great support and energy to help both my men and myself deploy at the start of the tour. A 'fixer', Sergeant Wilkinson worked tirelessly behind the scenes to enable others to deploy on time and in safety. He will be missed." Captain Chris West Royal Engineers, Officer Commanding Engineer Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team said: "As a Royal Engineers officer, I had never met Dave until I had the honour of working with him in both the lead-up and deployment to Afghanistan. An extremely professional and dedicated individual whose dry sense of humour and quick wit was always at hand to maintain the morale of his comrades. He will be sorely missed." Lance Bombardier Geordie Holmes, Storeman 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I've known Sergeant Wilkinson since I joined the Battery in 2004 but in the last 3 months I've realised from working with him what a top bloke he is. In fact, he's probably one of the most professional Sergeants I've worked with. He was always willing to help and teach the rest of the soldiers and never let me down when I needed help. The Army has lost a good and professional Sergeant. I've lost a very good friend and will sorely miss him." Lance Bombardier Chris Heath, Observation Post Assistant 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "It was an honour to work with and know Dave. He was always professional and wanted the best, not only for himself but for all of his lads. He was always thinking of others whilst he was not with them, sending kit out onto the ground to help make their lives that little bit easier, and always there to help with anything on their return. With his impersonations of others, he was always good for morale. The fact that he used to sleep with a blindfold on his face always made us laugh. He has left a gap that can never be filled and he will always be remembered. All our thoughts go to his family on his return home." Bombardier Chris Payne, 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "Dave was my mate, I was privileged to know him for 10 years. If times were hard, Dave could always make you smile. He was able to see the funny side of any situation and was by far the most professional man in his field. I looked up to Dave as a good friend and boss. He will be sadly missed. I've lost a good friend and we've all lost a good soldier. My heart and thoughts are with Rachel and Dave's family." Bombardier Sean Jones, Observation Post Assistant 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I have known Dave for almost 10 years; he always made me laugh, being like a good Monty Python show. It was an honour to work with Dave and to regard him as a mate, with him always there to lend a hand and help you in any way that he could. I will sorely miss him and the banter and life that he brought to the Battery. No-one will ever take his place. My thoughts are with all of his family." Bombardier David Butterworth, Storeman 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I have known Dave since 1997, when we were Gunners together at 14 Regiment Royal Artillery, where one of his favourite tricks was to go into other peoples' rooms and move items from one side to another. Such were his practical jokes. From joking to work, he was always conscious of his responsibilities and several young Gunners have benefited from his knowledge in the gunnery and military transport world. One of Sergeant Wilkinson's best points was that he was able to joke whilst still being methodical in his work. He was a soldier who was trustworthy, reliable and honest, and a mate you could rely on." Captain Nicholas Spratley Royal Engineer, second in command Combat Support Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team said: "Sergeant Wilkinson was everything that a British soldier should aspire to be, a true professional that made the ultimate sacrifice for his colleagues in support of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. It was a privilege and an honour to have worked alongside him and he will not be forgotten"


Lance Bombardier Sarah MacDonald, 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I have known Sergeant Wilkinson for a few years. I will remember him by the way he made a joke out of any situation. It is a great loss to the Battery, he was a good Sergeant and took pride in his work." Lance Bombardier Ryan Chasteauneuf, 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I will miss him. He always gave me a run for my money in physical training and would take the mickey out of me for weeks when he beat me. I will miss him always." Bombadier Paul West, 5 Battery Royal Artillery said: "I have known Sergeant Wilkinson since I became a member of 5 Battery and will always remember him for his commitment to get things done. He was known for his sarcastic comments and he loved to have a joke. He took great pride in his job and would go out of his way to help others."


40th Regiment Royal Artillery

Royal Artillery Association ... Website

Wikipedia ... Website

MOD ... Website

ARRSE ... Website

[ Bombardier Craig Hopson ]

Bombardier Craig Hopson from 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 25 July 2009. Bombardier Hopson was killed when the Jackal vehicle in which he was travelling struck an improvised explosive device while taking part in Operation PANCHAI PALANG. Bombardier Hopson was part of a patrol in the Babaji area of Helmand province, tasked to recce a suitable area for a polling station in the forthcoming Afghan presidential elections. Bombardier Hopson was born on 11 March 1985 in Castleford, West Yorkshire, and attended Castleford High Technology College before deciding that he wanted a career in the Army. He joined 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) on 28 August 2002 after completion of his basic training at Pirbright and phase 2 training at Larkhill, Wiltshire.

After an initial tour in 129 (Dragon) Battery, he was posted to 38 (Seringapatam) Battery where, as an Observation Post Assistant, he very quickly established himself as a core member of the team. Having previously completed operational tours in Iraq and Cyprus, he completed pre-deployment training for Afghanistan  and subsequently deployed to Kandahar in March 2009 as Second-in-Command of a Fire Support Team, attached, with his battery, to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS).

Known to colleagues as 'Hoppo', Bombardier Hopson was a larger than life character and always at the centre of the action. Be it in the thick of the fight in Afghanistan on one of numerous Black Watch operations, or back in barracks with his mates, his contribution was always characterised by good humour and the often painful honesty of a proud, steadfast Yorkshireman.  On operations, his role as Second-in-Command of a Fire Support Team was a vital and challenging one; the need to provide timely, accurate and overwhelming artillery and air support to ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops, balanced with the need to minimise collateral damage and civilian casualties, can often be a difficult equilibrium to achieve

[ 'Hoppo', Bombardier Hopson ]

In finding this balance, as in the technical and tactical aspects of his application of gunnery, Bombardier Hopson excelled; he was truly in his element. A man of tremendous moral courage, he understood the consequences of his actions and the effect that they may have on the wider campaign and the people of Afghanistan, knowing that it often took more bravery to choose not to engage a target. That he had the fortitude to apply this courageous inactivity under pressure and under fire was a mark of the man. In addition to his considerable professional skill as a Joint Fires Controller, Bombardier Hopson was a talented sportsman, having represented the Army at rugby league. He leaves behind his mother Lynn, partner Eleanor and their three-month-old daughter Amelia. Bombardier Hopson's family paid the following tribute: "Craig was the light in so very many lives. The light has now gone out. His family and many, many friends will love him and miss him forever. Craig the legend. Our Craig has left a hole in our lives that no-one else can ever fill. He was loved so much." Lieutenant Colonel Owen Adams, Commanding Officer of 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Bombardier Hopson was part of the fabric of my regiment, known to everyone as a man with an enormous personality and a huge heart. He had that rare quality of being able to inject his own brand of gruff Northern humour into any situation, always at ear-splitting volume, generally at the expense of his superiors in the regiment, but always in good spirit. "A talented sportsman, he gave no quarter on the rugby field and expected none in return, and this characterised his approach to life and conduct of operations in Afghanistan, yet, for all his tenacity and uncompromising nature, he displayed a humility and compassion that only served to endear him further to those who were privileged to know him. "The quality of a man's life cannot be measured in days or years, but by the memories left when they are gone. Those touched by the life of Bombardier Hopson are left with the anguish of his loss but are consoled by their memories of him. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Lynn, partner Eleanor and daughter Amelia at this unimaginably distressing time." Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, Commanding Officer, 3 SCOTS Battle Group, said: "Bombardier Craig Hopson had made a huge impact in the Battle Group for the year we have all known him. He was a big man in every sense: a huge character, great fun and professionally immensely talented. "He was with us in Kenya on exercise, across England and Wales during our operational training, and of course here in Afghanistan. A booming English voice amidst the Scots majority, he gave and received banter in abundance and he contributed enormously to the team spirit required in a Battle Group on operations. "He died at the very front line of Operation Panther's Claw in Babaji, as the most forward artillery observer in the entire brigade. He was part of a patrol looking for a polling centre for the Afghanistan presidential elections next month. He has given his life for his friends, for the Battle Group and his regiment, and for the people of Afghanistan so that they may have a better life. "'Hoppo' was so proud of his newborn daughter and we cannot begin to imagine the hole that has been left in Eleanor's and Amelia's lives. Amelia will never know her father; our lives have been made richer by him in every way and I hope they can take some comfort from our thoughts and prayers at this most tragic time." Major Jeremy Sharpe, Battery Commander 38 (Seringapatam) Battery RA, said: "Bombardier Craig Hopson was the first member of the battery that I met. A vibrant individual with a sense of humour and heart to match his stature, he made an immediate impact as he did on everyone who was fortunate enough to come into contact with him. "Craig had a ready smile and was the first to start with friendly banter in any situation; his irreverent sense of humour was legendary. He attacked everything in life with verve and determination, whether at work, on the rugby field or in the bar. 'Hoppo' enjoyed hiding his light under a bushel, his brash exterior thinly covering a man of intelligence, courage and  compassion; he was the consummate professional. "Immensely strong, calm under fire and technically excellent, his team remember him as a man they looked up to and aspired to emulate. My abiding memory of him at work will be him controlling simultaneous missions while under fire without resort to cribs or notes.  "He was a man in his element doing the job he loved; he earned the deep respect and friendship of everyone in the battery and the Battle Group. His booming voice across the battlefield will be missed by one and all. "Craig had just returned from R&R seeing his baby daughter Amelia for only the second time and his enormous pride in becoming a father shone through whenever he spoke of his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time. "Craig's loss leaves a hole in the battery that will be difficult to fill. If he were here he would be the first to crack a joke, remind us of the task in hand and, in his own inimitable style, draw the team together and back to work. That is exactly what we will do; he would expect nothing less than this of us. "Bombardier Hopson died as he lived, going forwards, determined and committed. He was one of the best of us and we will carry on strengthened by his memory. He will not be forgotten." Major Matt Munro, Officer Commanding Alpha (Grenadier) Company, said: "Craig Hopson will be remembered by Alpha (Grenadier) Company as a remarkable soldier and a charismatic and hugely popular young man. He personally made a massive contribution to our operations in Afghanistan and was a pivotal member of my team. "We joked often that Craig's personal 'volume control' was defective but, truth be told, we loved listening to his irreverent sense of humour and razor sharp wit. Craig loved to proudly advertise his West Yorkshire roots and, surrounded by Jocks, this always made for entertaining banter. "Craig's bluff exterior belied a deeply caring side; on the many occasions when he spoke of his newborn daughter Amelia he visibly swelled with pride. At this terrible time our thoughts are with his partner Eleanor, his family and many, many friends. His absence leaves a great void; gone but never forgotten, Craig Hopson - Rest In Peace." Captain James Banks, Fire Support Team Commander, said: "Hoppo was a larger than life character both in stature and personality; he carried a mature head on young shoulders and persona that none could match. From the first moment I met Bombardier Hopson I could see he was a character. His bubbly and individual style of soldiering made him an excellent and irreplaceable member of my Fire Support Team. "Hoppo's technical ability was second-to-none and his passion for gunnery was clear to all that knew him. As my Second-in-Command he was a solid sounding block and on more than one occasion saved my blushes when the technical aspects of gunnery had caught me off guard. "He had a wicked sense of humour and was more than capable of making fun of the most extraordinary situations. He was an excellent Bombardier, a pleasure to command and a good friend. Bombardier Hopson will be sorely missed throughout not only the battery but throughout the whole of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Bombardier Hopson I salute you." Sergeant Nick Collins, Battery Commander's Assistant, 38 Battery, said: "Craig will be remembered firstly as a proud father, a fine and brave soldier, and above all a friend. Always ready with a joke and willing to help those in need of guidance, usually with a kind word but when required a firm hand. "He always led from the front, either in battle or on a rugby pitch where for his strapping six-foot frame he showed surprising nimbleness. He also proved his knowledge in the classroom where he achieved high grades in all his courses. "I've known Craig since he joined the regiment, serving with him on operational tours and as he progressed through the ranks watching him mature into the role he excelled at. As a professional soldier he had a great future ahead of him and I am proud to have served with him but I am prouder to know he called me a friend. "As part of the family that is 38 Battery and his former unit 129 Battery, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him both past and present. At this time our thoughts are with Eleanor, Amelia and his family." Friends Lance Bombardier Willie Ewens and Gunner Danny Venter said: "Hoppo was a larger than life character who always loved a good laugh. He spoke his mind and in the time we worked together was a good ack and an excellent friend. "He always backed us up in any situation and we will miss his dry sense of humour. He will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with his family, his partner Eleanor and his young daughter Amelia."


MOD ... Website

Wikipedia ... Website

[ 5th Regiment Royal Artillery ]

5th Regiment Royal Artillery

[ Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Upton ]

Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Upton was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 27 July 2009. Warrant Officer Class 2 Upton from 5th Regiment Royal Artillery was killed as a result of an explosion whilst conducting a foot patrol in Sangin district, Helmand province. He was serving as second-in-command of Sangin's Police Mentoring Team.

WO2 Upton was born on 29 November 1973 in Nottinghamshire. He enlisted into the Army in June 1990. A career Royal Artillery weapon locator specialising in RADAR systems, he served operationally in Iraq, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and  Bosnia, and previously in Afghanistan. He was a natural leader and intensely professional soldier who rose sharply through the ranks, quickly gaining trust from, and the confidence of, colleagues wherever he served.

At the start of Operation HERRICK 10 he commanded the Counter Fire elements at Kandahar Airfield, protecting it from insurgent rocket and mortar fire. It was the sort of job in which he revelled, needing a sharp technical intellect and a calm and decisive manner he was yet again superbly effective. On transfer to Sangin district, Helmand province he approached his duty with the same energy and intelligent attention to detail that characterised his career. WO2 Upton was one of the central figures that make 53 (Louisburg) Battery so effective. He was absolutely key to the life and ethos of the unit, whether on Operations or at home. Always approachable, and hugely capable, he inadvertently became a role model to a generation of junior soldiers. His character was self-effacing and generous, and he lived his life through an unimpeachable set of values. Throughout the build-up to this tour WO2 Upton was always at the heart of training activity; cajoling and encouraging soldiers, and sometimes prodding the junior officers and imparting wisdom in the diplomatic and avuncular manner required; he seemed always to be in exactly the right place. His popularity across the wider Regiment marked him as a man whose company was always fun and who could be relied upon to deliver; he was consequently relied upon heavily, in particular by his Battery Commander and Battery Sergeant Major. Despite all of his professional achievements, WO2 Upton remained a devoted family man and was hugely proud of his young family; he leaves behind his wife Karen and two children Hollie and Ewan.

Lieutenant Colonel John Musgrave, Commanding Officer 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "WO2 Sean Upton was a naturally gifted soldier, the complete professional, noted for his light touch in command and dedication to his solders. He specialised in the defeat of enemy rockets and mortars – an art he had practiced in the Balkans, Iraq and on both his Afghanistan tours, always remaining calm under fire, and decisive and effective in his response. "His rapid progression through the ranks was testimony to what would have been the brightest future in the Army. 5th Regiment has lost a truly dedicated and exemplary soldier and man, who was a role model to all he met and worked with; always living and working to the highest standards, but also always with a smile on his face and a ready laugh, true to his belief that soldiering should be a rewarding way of life. "He will be sorely missed by the soldiers of 5th Regiment Royal Artillery and by all in the Royal Artillery who had the privilege of knowing him and working alongside him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, particularly his wife Karen and his son, Ewan, and daughter Hollie." Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson, Commanding Officer 2 RIFLES Battle Group, said: "WO2 Upton was one of those outstanding British Army Sergeant Majors who volunteered for everything. It was his way to be in the mix and at the front and it did not matter whether it was work or play. "He has been brilliant at mentoring his Afghan comrades and did it with a perfect lightness of touch. He was adored by his Afghan Policeman and that is a reflection of his qualities as a man and as a soldier. "He is sorely missed and, yet in this dark hour in the Battle Group, our first thoughts and prayers must be with his beloved wife and adored children who have lost their hero." Major John Catto, Battery Commander 53 (Louisburg) Battery Royal Artillery, said: "In the frenetic pace of Regimental life, WO2 Upton was the hub that much of the Battery revolved around. With a firm grip on his training role, and all the soldiers who passed through his office, he was unfailingly on top of whatever was thrown at him, no matter how short the notice or obscure the request.  "He coupled this competence with a broad smile and biting sense of humour that could draw laughs from any situation. When all seemed overwhelming, there was always WO2 Upton to bring his sense of composure and perspective onto events. The Battery's loss, however great, is nothing to that of his family, and he will be sorely missed by all." Major Ion Hill, Officer Commanding I Company, 2 RIFLES Battle Group, said: "In the short time that I knew WO2 Upton he made a remarkable impression. It is a testament to his character and dedication that he volunteered to leave the relative quiet of Kandahar and fill a gap within the Police Mentoring Team in Sangin district, Helmand province. "His professionalism as a soldier was evident to all and he rose to the challenge of commanding Afghan Soldiers in the infantry role. Yet above all of this he stood out as a particularly human and unassuming Sergeant Major who cared deeply about the welfare of his soldiers. I will remember him for his selfless nature and benevolent sense of humour. "He developed a deep empathy with the members of the Afghan National Police who he was responsible for mentoring and they immediately warmed to him. A man of genuine integrity he soon won their trust and was responsible in part for the ever-increasing cooperation between the Police and ourselves. They held him in very high regard; so much so that last week they attempted to present him with a young eagle as a token of their respect. "First and foremost WO2 Upton was a strong family man and he spoke often of them. Tonight his family are very much in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time." Captain Paul Harris, Operations Officer 53 (Louisburg) Battery Royal Artillery, said: "WO2 Upton epitomised what it was to be a professional soldier. Fit, dedicated, competent and wearing a constant smile he approached every task with an abundance of energy and rigour that gained him a steadfast reputation throughout the Gunner community. "He loved the Army and threw himself fully into every role whether that was the soul of discretion as the Officers' Mess Manager, becoming the Battery Sergeant Major on one day's notice, or single-handedly organising Pre Deployment Training for the Battery's simultaneous deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. "WO2 Upton loved only his family more than the Army. His office and room were always adorned with their photos and he would regularly keep us abreast of how his children were doing at school. His thoughts were constantly with his family. His loss is keenly felt by all who knew him." Captain Howard Hooper with Sergeant Adrian Meager and Corporal Scott Horn, Operational Co-Ordination Team attached to 2 RIFLES Battle Group, said: "Sergeant Major Upton was our team's ideal Second-in-Command whose humbleness and common-touch reached across all backgrounds, ranks and nationalities; he so very quickly gained a solid rapport with the Afghan National Police and Army whom we worked with, and who were deeply saddened by his death. "My hope is that we all continue in his example of mentoring local Afghan security forces with such professionalism, compassion and energy. "Our team's small size, resulted in a family-like closeness and we have lost a great man whose sense of humour, genuine willingness to help others and loyal friendship was so sad to lose, yet truly admirable. "Most of all we remember our Sergeant Major as a loving and dedicated husband of Karen and father to Ewan and Hollie  whom he regularly spoke of and clearly missed – our team's thoughts and prayers are with them." Lieutenant Freuer Whitaker, Troop Commander 53 (Louisburg) Battery Royal Artillery, said: "WO2 Sean Upton was everything a Sergeant Major should be; a role model to his subordinates, a firm friend to his peers, and a source of advice and guidance to the junior officers. "WO2 Upton embodied loyalty. He genuinely cared for the wellbeing of the soldiers and took a personal interest in ensuring they were trained to the highest standard possible, while always presenting a robust, no nonsense front. He was a steadfast friend to many within the Battery and wider Regiment and could be relied upon, not least professionally, for frank advice, a cup of tea and a chat, or putting the world to rights over a beer.  "WO2 Upton vested himself wholly in everything and will be missed tremendously in many ways. He spoke of Karen his wife and their two children frequently, it was profoundly obvious that he loved them deeply as they were never far from the surface of his thoughts; they are at the forefront of ours at this incredibly difficult time." Warrant Officer Class 2 Pat Jeeves, Troop Sergeant Major 53 (Louisburg) Battery Royal Artillery, said: "WO2 Sean Upton was an outstanding soldier and a close friend to all. His professionalism and determination shone, never faltering even when the cards seemed against him. He showed all the qualities of a good leader and he was respected by his superiors and peers alike. "Sean enjoyed the Army life and grasped challenges and opportunities with both hands. His dedication and loyalty to all those around him was endless and was always there to help others even if it was putting him out. Sean was a truly genuine man making him extremely approachable, the sort of person who you knew you could rely on and would always put others first. "Sean was a fit soldier and although not dedicated to a specific sport would give anything a go and always give 100%, again a testimony to his character. Sean was a devoted husband to his wife Karen and the perfect caring father to his two children Ewan and Hollie who he leaves behind. Sean will be missed by all those who knew him and never be forgotten." Warrant Officer Class 2 Wayne Gower, Troop Sergeant Major 53 (Louisburg) Battery Royal Artillery, said: "Sean was not just a mate, he was a true friend. In the Army we have lots of mates, but friends can usually be counted on one hand. To be friends with Sean was a massive "prof" - Sean was quality. A quality bloke, quality to be around and a quality dry sense of humour to match. "Like me, Sean liked a drink, and like me wasn't very good at it. Also like me, he used to like a crafty cigarette when we were out being rubbish drinkers. It was on these various nights out that it soon became obvious I'd met someone who could match me in my exceptional shyness in actually buying a pack. You didn't need to be around Sean long to realize what a family man he was. "He loved ‘spinning dits' about what the kids had got up to or what his plans where at the weekend for Karen and the kids. He was a caring guy, not just for his family and friends, but genuinely cared for the lads and lasses and whether they knew it or not, he wanted the best for every single one of them. Sean it was an honour to know you, I will miss you friend. God bless." Sergeant Adrian Meager ROYAL IRISH and Corporal Scott Horn ROYAL ANGLIAN, KAJACKI Police Mentoring Team, said: "WO2 Upton was our team's ideal second-in-command whose humbleness and common-touch reached across all backgrounds, ranks and nationalities; he so very quickly gained a solid rapport with the Afghan National Police and Army whom we worked with, and who were deeply saddened by his death. "My hope is that we all continue in his example of mentoring local Afghan security forces with such professionalism, compassion and energy. Our team's small size, resulted in a family-like closeness and we have lost a great man whose sense of humour, genuine willingness to help others and loyal friendship was so sad to lose, yet truly admirable. "Most of all we remember our Sergeant Major as a loving and dedicated husband of Karen and father to Ewan and Hollie whom he regularly spoke of and clearly missed – our team's thoughts and prayers are with them." Sergeant Andy Luckhurst, Brother Gunner from 5 Regiment Royal Artillery and  Radar Detachment Commander attached to 2 RIFLES Battle Group said: "It is hard to write about one person and sum up all their qualities when that person had so many. I've had the pleasure of working with Sean Upton for many years and he was respected by his peers and subordinates alike. He had an infectious sense of humour and he was remembered by anybody who was fortunate enough to speak to him. "More than any other, the word ‘selfless' comes to mind when talking about Sean. He was always more concerned about others than he was himself, whether that was his soldiers welfare or their careers. Sean's open door policy offered his soldiers a compassionate and caring leader and will be irreplaceable within 53 Battery and 5 Regiment. "Sean was dedicated in all that he did, but none more so than spending time with his family. Sean leaves behind his wife Karen, son Ewan and daughter Hollie. All our thoughts are with them."


[ Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton and Rifleman Daniel Wild  ]

Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton and Rifleman Daniel Wild (photo above of Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton and Rifleman Daniel Wild ) killed in Afghanistan. Captain Mark Hale and Rifleman Daniel Wild of the 2nd Battalion The Rifles (2 Rifles) and Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton of 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 13 August 2009 ... 

[ Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton ]

Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton

Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton was killed in action on Thursday 13 August 2009, when he was caught in an Improvised Explosive Device blast whilst on foot patrol as part of Op GHARTSE KERS 4, providing security for a pre-election shura in the Sangin area of Helmand province. He had suffered injury in an initial blast which had sadly killed Rifleman Wild and, whilst trying to clear an extraction route to the Helicopter Landing Site, was caught in a second blast in which he was fatally wounded. Lance Bombardier Hatton was born on 15 June 1986 and was from Easingwold in North Yorkshire. He joined 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (the Lowland Gunners) on 21 January 2004 after completion of his Basic Training at the Army Foundation College Harrogate and Phase 2 Training at Larkhill, Wiltshire. After an initial tour in 49 (Inkerman) Headquarters Battery, he was posted to 6/36 (Arcot 1751) Battery, immediately establishing himself as a highly popular character within a very close knit Tactical Group. Having previously completed operational tours in Iraq and Cyprus, he completed Pre-Deployment Training for Afghanistan and subsequently deployed with the 2 RIFLES Battle Group in March 2009 as an Observation Post Assistant, initially to the Kajaki area of operations and subsequently south, to Sangin where he was bolstering the in place Fire Support Team (FST) when he was tragically killed. The role of an Observation Post Assistant is a demanding one and requires a special breed of soldier. The job requires initiative, foresight, composure under extreme pressure, clarity of thought, physical and mental robustness and tactical awareness. LBdr Hatton epitomised these qualities and possessed an enthusiasm for his work which was clear for all to see. He was often to be found in his room at night reading his Operational Procedures (OP) cribs in order to better understand the technical aspects of his profession, much to the amusement of his friends in the Battery, or in the Gym working hard on his fitness in order to ensure that he would be ready in all respects when the time came. He had begun his career in 40th Regiment Royal Artillery as a Battlefield Meteorological System (BMETS) operator, responsible for providing the  meteorological data that a Light Gun requires in order to fire accurately. However, it was indicative of his character and desire to be at the forefront of the action so he sought a posting to a Fire Support Team. He was a man who thrived on being at the forefront of everything that his Battery and Regiment were involved in and it was in this spirit that he deployed to Kajaki with his FST and his comrades from the 2 RIFLES Battle Group. In perhaps the most austere and kinetic corner of Helmand Province, his orchestration of Joint Fires was truly exceptional. On his return from Helmand  province, it was his wish to attempt the arduous patrols course and become a member of 4/73 Battery Royal Artillery; further testament to the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction he derived from soldiering, and soldiering well. A young man with a winning smile and a heart of gold LBdr Matthew Hatton was one of the best of us. The distress of the Regiment is second only to that  of his mother Jill, father Philip and his girlfriend Tasha Chehab. Our thoughts are with them.  LBdr Hatton's family have said: "Matt always wanted to be a soldier from being very young. He passionately enjoyed his job and often talked fondly about his colleagues and friends. "He was very brave and a credit to both us and the Army. We are really proud of him as our son, as a brother and as a soldier. Matt loved all his family dearly. He was full of fun, mischief and always brought happiness to our days. With a huge heart he touched many lives and will be missed by everyone and remembered forever." Lieutenant Colonel Owen Adams, Commanding Officer of 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton was a man who had found his niche in life. He revelled in the bond that is commonplace amongst soldiers who serve in small teams across the Army and he lived to excel in his chosen profession. "Being a member of an FST on operations is a privileged and important role at the very heart of the Company Group. The bonds of camaraderie formed between a Company and its FST are forged through the blood and sweat of endeavour, in pursuit of a common purpose. "It is a special bond that only soldiers truly understand; Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton understood it and thrived on it, as did his resolute comrades in 2 RIFLES and I know they will mourn his loss with their own. "Lance Bombardier Hatton was one of those characters who stood out in a crowd. I was always most struck by his engaging style, cheerfulness and sense of pride. I enjoyed his company on the times we chatted in Barracks or out in the field. He was no shrinking violet and would always engage in conversation with his superiors, peers and subordinates alike; a positive and inspiring young man who I can honestly say was a genuine pleasure to know." Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson MBE, Commanding Officer 2 RIFLES Battle Group, said: "Lance Bombardier Hatton was one of an enviably effervescent bunch of Gunners who have made a mark in all corners of the 2 Rifles Battle Group. I got to know Lance Bombardier Hatton because we always seemed to be on the same helicopter. "He made an immediate impression - physically striking, he sat and chatted with real insight about his fight at Kajaki and what he hoped to bring to Sangin. He was a master of his art and has dug my Riflemen out of some very hairy moments and I am hugely grateful. He has saved lives, undoubtedly so. "I have been struck as I have walked round my Battle Group today by how proud people are to have known 'Hatts' and I count myself firmly in that number of very privileged men and women. "He will be sorely missed by us all but we will pause in our FOB to recall a man who lived to the full, brimmed with passion for his job and touched the lives of many here in the Upper Sangin Valley. There is much to celebrate in his life, cut so tragically short.  "Our prayers and thoughts must now be with his beloved family and we pray that somehow they will find the courage and the strength to face this unimaginably awful time." Major Joe Power, Commanding 6/36 Battery, 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "In the short time I knew Lance Bombardier Hatton he made a remarkable impression on me. It is a great testament to his character that he so readily volunteered to join the A Company Fire Support Team in Sangin, having spent a considerable period engaged in combat operations in Kajaki beforehand. "Full of beans and with huge reserves of energy, he threw himself into his new role as the 'Ack', and quickly made his mark in an already highly competent team. His arrival added impetus and fresh ideas and he just couldn't wait to use his considerable talents to make a difference here in Sangin. "He remarked to me just days before his untimely death that soldiering in Sangin was precisely what he joined the Army to do. He was supremely comfortable with his duties as an 'Ack' and a great soldier too. He had an amazing future ahead of him and the Battery has lost one of its rising stars. "Enormously popular and unfailingly cheerful, even when faced with adversity, his mischievous smile and sense of fun will be sorely missed. He was the epitome of a Fire Support Team soldier and died doing what he loved. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones at this most difficult of times." Major Matt Rimmer, former Battery Commander 6/36 Battery , said: "Lance Bombardier Hatton was one of my rising stars, a real talent for the future. 'Hatts', as we rather predictably called him, was an ox of a man, with shoulders that bore weight and responsibility with equal ease. "He was thriving on operations in Northern Helmand, relishing his role in a Fire Support Team and flourishing in a hugely challenging environment. He had been part of a very close-knit team supporting 2 RIFLES Battlegroup and clearly loved the experience. "Fitter, stronger and more assured than I have ever known him, he used his technical skill on a daily basis to take the fight to the insurgents. He loved being a soldier, loved being in the mix with his mates and was growing in maturity and confidence before one's eyes. "Despite an inability to resist spending vast amounts of cash on unnecessary military kit, Hatts was a remarkably level-headed and measured man. Calm, poised and ready to chat, he had an enviable ability to make friends readily – he was the sort of guy who would always make the extra effort to include someone new. He was a gallant and kind man – a genuinely decent bloke. "Hatts had real intelligence and courage, as his questions and his actions demonstrated. Never afraid to volunteer, he was a front-foot soldier with a positive attitude and a positive influence on those around him. While his friends and family will be suffering hugely at the moment, they should rest assured that he was a man in his element, doing what he loved, doing it superbly and making a difference." Captain Colin Oliver, Acting Officer Commanding I Company, 2 Rifles, Kajaki, said: "Lance Bombardier Hatton spent most of his tour at Kajaki, where he was a proud member of a close Fire Support Team that helped I Company, 2 Rifles protect the Kajaki dam. A unique part of Helmand, the FST were in constant use and 'Hatts' was an important part of a team who used Joint Fires on an almost daily basis. "Fit, strong and with a larger than life character, he was well known throughout the FOB, and was a popular individual amongst the Riflemen of I Company. He dealt with the news of his move to Sangin with maturity and enthusiasm for a new challenge. A mark of the man was that he spent his last few days in Kajaki cramming up on his skills and drills, so that he could do the best possible job as an 'Ack' in Sangin. "He will be greatly missed, both by his very close knit FST and by those Riflemen with whom he served in Kajaki. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time, of whom he talked about so often." Sergeant Lee Wotherspoon, Team Commander, said: "I first met Lance Bombardier Hatton as a fresh faced sixteen year old when I was his section commander at AFC Harrogate. Straight away I was struck by his boundless energy and willingness to learn and try new experiences. "This never changed throughout his career and he always threw himself into every situation with an enthusiasm that was an inspiration to the younger members of the team. As a colleague and a friend he was always a joy to be around with his ready wit and all too ready smile. He was, to the end, a constant professional; he was never happier than when he was doing his job, in which he took great pride. "Hatts, you were a joy to be around and inspired all who new you. It saddens me that you are gone and the world will be a much duller place without you in it. Our thoughts go out to your family at this most difficult of times. You were one of the best and will never be replaced." Sergeant Mike Oldfield, of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre in Kajaki, said: "Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton was an excellent Junior Non Commissioned Officer. He was an immensely strong soldier and could Tab along for hours on end in the heat without moaning. His input to our team in daily FOB life will be missed immensely. Although his bread baking skills left a lot to be desired he would always try again the next day which just summed up his character. "He was a man who wouldn't give up on something once he'd set his mind to do it; a great soldier and a great bloke. May you now rest in peace." Bombardier Simon Chambers, FST Ack in Wishtan, said: "It has only been a couple of years since 'Hatts' joined our Tac Group, bringing with him huge amounts of enthusiasm and surplus amounts of kit. He spent the majority of his pay on 'ally-ness' when on occasion he didn't even know what it was for! It may even be true that he had more kit than the BQMS. "Hatts, your keenness, love of the FST and the Regiment, will be greatly missed; it saddens us to know that you will not be around to brighten our lives. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends at this time." Bombardier Ryan Brown, FST Ack in Kajaki, said: "Matthew, or "Hatts" as he was known to many, was as keen as they come. I grew to know Hatts on a personal and professional level as we have always seemed to end up on the same courses ever since I joined the Regiment. He always wanted to be in a Fire Support Team and sure enough, he transferred Batteries and ended up a member of 6/36 (Arcot 1751) Battery RA. "Living completed our Observation Post Assistant Level 3 course together we found out we would be "Going to War" (as we called it) together as Witchcraft 23. Hatts was a vital member of the team and although I was the "Ack" he was the "Ack's Ack", a joke we had amongst us. Having served 5 months with us in Kajaki he was in his element fighting the fight and getting to show his skills as the teams "Ray Mears". "When he got the chance to go to Sangin, he grinned like a Cheshire Cat! That will be the lasting memory I will always have of him, as he got on that flight to go down river and do what he was itching to do. I know he had a huge impact once he arrived and he told me he was having the time of his life. "Hatts - you will be missed but never forgotten. Our thoughts are with the Hatton Family circle at this difficult time." Gunner Lee Davies, Kajaki FST, said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28.  "Lance Bombardier Hatton was a true soldier and very close friend. I knew Hatts for 2 years and it was the second year when we really got close, when we were in the same FST. These past 5 months will always stick with me, especially all the good laughs Matthew and I had. "To all the Hatton family and friends, my heart goes out to you all. You will never be forgotten Big Man." Gunner Toby Allen, Kajaki FST, said: "Hatts", was such a great guy for the time I knew him. He lived for the Army; he always wanted to get into the action and do a bit of the fighting. Since being on tour and exercise with Hatts, he has taught me so much and made the Army better for me. "I will never forget you "Hatts"; you were such a good friend and an awesome soldier. May you sleep in peace." Lance Bombardier John Cottle, said: "Matthew's true qualities shone through from the moment I met him. He was a quiet but confident soldier who loved his job. He had a heart of gold and would always be willing to help others. He was a dedicated family man who was always at the forefront of any practical jokes played on his fellow colleagues. Matthew will be missed by all. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends at this difficult time."


[ Gunner Zak Cusack ]

[ 4th Reg RA ]

Gunner Zak Cusack from 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), was killed in Afghanistan on 26 May 2010. Gunner Cusack was participating in a routine reassurance patrol when he was killed during a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces in an area around Enezai Village. Gunner Zak Cusack was born on 16 September 1989 in Stoke on Trent. He joined the Army in September 2006, attending the Army Foundation College, Harrogate. Upon completion of his training, he was posted to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, then based in Osnabrück, Germany. He joined 97 Battery (Lawson's Company) and deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 7 as a member of a light gun detachment. Upon return from Afghanistan, he moved with the Regiment to Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. Having impressed with his fitness, aptitude and enthusiasm, Gunner Cusack was selected to transfer to a Fire Support Team and undertook extensive training in Canada between June and July 2009 before commencing Mission Specific Training for Operation HERRICK 12 in September last year. His Fire Support Team moved under command of 129 (Dragon) Battery at the beginning of 2010 and he deployed to Afghanistan in March based in Nahr-e Saraj (South) with Malta Company, 1 MERCIAN, supporting 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. During his time in Afghanistan, his Fire Support Team has conducted dozens of joint patrols with the Afghan National Army to reassure the local population in Nahr-e Saraj and prevent intimidation of villagers by the insurgents. It was on one of these reassurance patrols in an area around Enezai Village when he was killed in action during a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces. A keen sportsman and fitness enthusiast, Gunner Cusack thrived on life. Whether boxing, football or in the gym, he gave his all. He excelled in his position as Fire Support Team signaller and was a key personality within his crew. Socially gregarious, he was an extremely popular member of his Battery, and his energy and enthusiasm were contagious. An only child, he leaves behind his mother Tracey and father Sean.

 

Gunner Zak Cusak's Family said: "Zak was a courageous, compassionate and charismatic young man. We are justly proud of not only the job that he did, but of the complete person we all knew and loved. For such a young man, Zak's infectious sense of humour, appetite for life and truly romantic heart inspired so many others. "Zak's loss leaves a hole in our hearts, a chasm in our lives and many, many other broken hearts behind. He had a fire in his soul that will burn brightly in all our memories. He is our beautiful boy, loving son and best friend, in Zak's own words, ‘he is a ledge' (Legend)."

 

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Squier RA, Commanding Officer 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Gunner Zak Cusack was a big man with the personality to go with it. Young, fit and with a healthy love of life, he was always close to, or at the heart of, the action. "A Stoke City fan in the North East Gunners will always have his work cut out, but his combination of cheeky charm and buoyant character always won out. "As a soldier he had already given more than most in his short life. This was his second tour of Afghanistan having deployed in 2007 on his 18th birthday. True to his character and commitment he fought hard to move from the Gun Line to become a member of a Fire Support Team. "Here his true potential shone through – he was a man made for the role. He fell as he had lived life, in the thick of things and with his mates in 97 Battery (Lawson's Company) and B (Malta) Company 1 MERCIAN. "My thoughts and condolences go out to his parents Tracey and Sean and his many friends at home whose true loss we can only imagine. He will remain Forever Fourth." Major Rich Grover, Company Commander B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "In the short time I had the privilege of commanding Gunner Cusack, he proved to be a highly professional and competent forward observer who carried a ready smile and fun loving attitude. "The measure of the man was the fact that the platoons wanted him with them for the patrols as they trusted him, and he had already proven that when the going got tough, he was able to step up to the plate and deliver; just the type of man required in a tight spot. "His loss will be felt by us all, and our thoughts go out to his family and friends, all those who love him." Major Matt Birch, Battery Commander 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Gunner Zak Cusack was an excellent man and soldier whom I got to know well whilst working in the confines of the same vehicle for a two month exercise in BATUS, Canada, last year. "This was effectively the beginning of our build-up training for the current deployment to Afghanistan; I was immediately struck by his energy and work ethic whilst being in the field. This was Zak at his best, a fit and resourceful soldier who cared and worked tirelessly for the other members of the Battery. "When we were challenged by hard times he would maintain a level head but also lighten our spirits with his enduring wit. "This strength of character and fun loving attitude made him a central character on the Battery's social stage. "His professionalism made him respected throughout the Battery; I already anticipated promoting him during this tour and he was displaying the capability to develop further within the Battery's Tactical Group. "He proved himself on operations during both tours of Afghanistan, as the soldier that you wanted by your side in the face of adversity. "He embodied the Lawson's spirit of professionalism and fun. His loss will affect the heart of the Battery family and we know that the remainder of us will have to work twice as hard to make up for the huge gap he has left. "Zak personified the spirit of an artilleryman at its best and we will miss him deeply. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times." Major Nick Constable, Battery Commander 129 (Dragon) Battery, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Although having only been attached to my Battery for a short time, Gunner Zak Cusack has made a lasting impression on all of us. "He was a young man with tremendous energy, a sharp wit and a zest for life. "His stories of escapades on the town with his many friends were a constant source of amusement. "I knew Zak as a soldier in a job which he loved and focussed on operations. He was an extremely capable forward observer with tremendous potential for the future, a talented radio operator and a courageous individual who would put his team members and friends before himself. "Only one week prior to his tragic death, exhausted, whilst returning from a patrol which received a casualty he relieved a tiring stretcher party of their burden by putting his injured colleague over his shoulders and carrying him through boggy terrain to safety; such was the determined and selfless character of Gunner Cusack." Capt Stu Lennox, Fire Support Team Commander, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "I have never seen Zak without a smile on his face. He was a constant source of morale and cherished not only by his Fire Support Team but the entire Battery. "He had incredible potential and ability and also a thirst for fun and adventure. "Zak was dedicated to his physical fitness, his friends and his job within the Fire Support Team. "He was always a good addition to any social occasion and would often tell me stories of his crazy nights out. "However, at the same time, he would spend many hours a day in the gym ensuring he was both capable of doing his job and ready for the beach on post tour leave." Warrant Officer Class Two (Troop Sergeant Major) Marc Ravenhill, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Zak was a larger than life character in the Troop and indeed within the Battery who made friends easily. "He was always a highly motivated individual who wanted to be involved in everything the Tactical Group took part in and would never shy away from a new challenge. "Zak could always be found wherever the action was, be that at work, on the sports pitch or on a social basis with his friends. "He was a keen, bright and talented soldier who was not scared to stand up for what he believed in. "Zak will be sadly missed by all members of the Troop and the Battery. My sympathies go to his family and friends at this time." Bombardier Paul Madden, Command Post Non-Commissioned Officer, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "He was a well known member of the Battery and the Regiment. He was always happy and making jokes even when times were hard. "It is hard to believe that we saw him just the other week, he was so happy to see the boys, telling us how much he was enjoying himself. He will be sorely missed by his friends and our thoughts go out to him and his family." Bombardier Dougie Collins, Forward Air Controller, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Zak was the life and soul of the party, always there to make dull situations bright. "Some looked upon him as being a bit of a Jack the Lad, I looked upon him as a man's man. "Zak would always give 100% in everything that he did, be it at work, or at play, and never needing any encouragement, because he was always at the forefront of everything. "As a friend he will be massively missed by all who knew him and he has left a void that can never be filled. "He has written his own page in history and his memory will live on in all of us. Zak has brought us all joy and happiness and for that I am thankful." Bombardier Dave Southern, Joint Fires Junior Non-Commissioned Officer, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Zak was very much a lad's lad, he was always at the centre of everything, be it socially or professionally. "He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He has left a massive gap amongst his friends in the Regiment and the Tactical Group that knew him best. I will miss the banter whenever Bolton played Stoke. "My deepest condolences go to his family and friends back home on their loss; Zak will always be a part of 97 Battery Tactical Group and will never be forgotten." Lance Bombardier Nath Mandall, Joint Fires Junior Non-Commissioned Officer, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "I have never in my life known a lad like Zak, outgoing, easy to get on with and a wicked sense of humour, his ability to put most of us to shame in PT will stay with me. "He loved being a soldier and took great pride in his job and everything he did, always a team player and never needed to be asked twice to get something done. "Zak will be sorely missed within the Battery and in the Regiment, as well as on nights out socially. "My thoughts and best wishes go out to you and your family at this time. He will never be forgotten by all those who have had the great pleasure to have known him." Lance Bombardier Paulo Liga, Gun Number, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "A good lad. He was a good bloke, always happy, one of the best guys in the Battery. He had something in him that no one else had – the personality and character he had was so special that I knew he was going a long way in his career. "I was with him on the last HERRICK tour which clearly influenced him and he grew very strong. "A good laugh out on the town in Germany, we will miss him. My condolences go to his family and may the good Lord continue to be with his family in these times. "May his soul rest in peace." Lance Bombardier Scott Casson, Joint Fires Junior Non-Commissioned Officer, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Zak was a character who was larger than life; he was an extremely popular lad within the Battery, even more so within the Tactical Group. "Zak was always up for a laugh, and the first one up for a party, and never short of a story of his escapades from the weekend. "At work Zak was a very dedicated and professional soldier, always giving 100% all of the time. "Highly respected and looked up to by the junior lads, and an equal amongst his peers, he will be sadly missed by all within the Regiment." Gunner Daniel Pugh, Fire Support Team Signaller, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Zak Cusack, what a guy. Serving alongside Cusack was an honour because he was a professional and selfless soldier who put others before himself, even in his personal life. "He has made times feel so much better than what they have because he had a special way to bring the best out of every situation, bad or good and I will miss him greatly." Gunner Graham Thompson, Joint Fires Signaller, 129 (Dragon) Battery, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Zak was a great friend who will be truly missed. He will never be forgotten; all the lads will remember him. I will miss those fun times we had and especially the nights on the town." Gunner 'Chappy' Chapman, Fire Support Team Assistant, 97 Battery (Lawson's Company), 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Zak was a friend in a million, with so many stories that will remain with me forever, thinking of you all at this very difficult time."


[ Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler ]

[ 4th Reg RA ]

Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 8 June 2010. Lance Bombardier Chandler was attached to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, serving as part of Combined Force Nad 'Ali, and was killed in a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces in the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was aged 32 and from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. He joined the Army on 5 January 2004, aged 26, and was posted to M (HQ) Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, based in Hohne, Germany. Lance Bombardier Chandler deployed to Basra, Iraq, on Op TELIC 7 as part of the Commanding Officer's Rover Group. Professional and conscientious, he was given the trusted position of Commanding Officer's driver upon his return to Germany, which he held for two years. His determination, fitness and motivation shone through and he was posted to D Battery as a Fire Support Team assistant, deploying to Canada in June 2009 before commencing pre-deployment training for Op HERRICK 12. He deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010, supporting Anzio Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, in Nad 'Ali. Anzio Company has been operating from Patrol Base Khaamar, conducting security and reassurance patrols for the local nationals with both the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army. Anzio Company has undoubtedly improved the lives of the people of Showal by improving freedom of movement and increasing security. On 8 June 2010, during a joint patrol with the Afghan National Security Forces to prevent insurgent intimidation of local villagers, Lance Bombardier Chandler was killed in action during a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces.  Twice Army Luge champion and accomplished skier, he threw himself into regimental and battery life and was always in the centre of the action, be it sport, social or fun. He drew people to him with his sense of adventure and he leaves behind his parents, Mike and Ann, brother Steve, and an extensive group of friends who will all feel his loss keenly.

 

Lance Bombardier Chandler's family said: "Mark - a son and brother any parent would be proud of. A consummate soldier, a skier, a Luger, an athlete and a lover of life. He will be sorely missed by his loving family and friends." Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Williams, Commanding Officer, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "Lance Bombardier Chandler, known to everybody as Chandler 'Bing', was a remarkably talented Junior Non-Commissioned Officer who showed a real grit for soldiering. "Fit, committed, loyal and a true professional, he was a rising star within the regiment and had a bright future ahead of him. He was a talented sportsman with a passion for winter sports and represented the army at luge; not a sport for the faint-hearted, which he certainly wasn't. "He also relished a challenge and this was fulfilled by his move across to the Fire Support Team in D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. The news of Lance Bombardier Chandler's death has rocked the regiment as he was an immensely popular individual and a great friend to many within the regiment. "All members of 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery miss him but I recognise that this sense of loss will be nothing compared to that felt by his parents, Ann and Michael, his brother Steve and his many friends, whose true loss we can only imagine. Our prayers are now for them. We will remember him."

 

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Squier, Commanding Officer, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "Every team needs a Mark Chandler. He was strong, fit, robust and, above all, a man of compassion and humility. He was a rock to his mates. For D Battery he was a source of great resolve and he leaves a hole in many of the lads' hearts. "As a soldier and member of a Fire Support Team I could not have asked for more. He was brave, dependable and a steadying influence. Utterly calm under fire, he died on the shoulder of, and supporting, his commander; totally selfless to the very end. "My sincere condolences and thoughts go to Mark's parents Ann and Mike, his brother Steve and his friends at home; their's is the true loss. Colonel Ian Bell, former Commanding Officer, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "Lance Bombardier Chandler was a good bloke. He was great fun, made the most of everything he did, and had a really bright future ahead of him." Major Adam Wilson, Battery Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was an exceptional soldier and a true friend to everyone in D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. Known to us as 'Bing', he was respected and admired for his unswerving bravery, his professionalism and his absolute commitment to the team and his mates. "Mark was part of a Fire Support Team and I have been very lucky to get to know him well through a year of training and during our deployment to Afghanistan. He has proven himself in battle time and again. Always cool and calm in contact, he could usually be found next to his Commander with a reassuring grin on his face. He was a man who made you feel that everything would be all right. "Mark was a talented sportsman and loved motor sport, mountain biking, skiing and sailing - anything that involved going fast. "He was also the Army luge champion two years in a row. Mark was a kind, considered 'older brother' to the Gunners in my battery and always at the heart of the social life of 'Shiny D'. "He had an infectious sense of fun and usually a mischievous twinkle in his eye. His death is a devastating loss; we have lost one of our stars and he will always be remembered with great affection. "I feel extremely privileged to have known him. The thoughts of all ranks of D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, are with his family, friends and all those who love him at this very sad time." Major John Fry, Officer Commanding Anzio Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, said: "Lance Bombardier Chandler ('Bing') was an unforgettable character; full of life, confident in his ability, and an all round good bloke who got on with all members of Anzio Company. "He bonded immediately and was always regarded as one of the company irrespective of the cap badge he wore. He was with us from the start of pre-deployment training all the way through to our deployment on Op HERRICK 12. In short he was one of us. "In Afghanistan he proved himself to be a courageous and very capable soldier whilst operating in difficult and dangerous circumstances. This he always took in his stride with a calm and balanced manner, whilst maintaining a great sense of humour. "His professionalism was unquestionable and I believe he would have had a prosperous career ahead of him. He was an asset to both the 'Gunners' and this company and can only be described as an outstanding soldier. "Even though we have only known 'Bing' for a short period of time it has been a privilege to have him in our company. Whilst we reflect in Afghanistan, our thoughts are with his friends and family at this tragic time. "Everyone should be proud of him and everything that he achieved in his life. He was a credit not only to his family but also the Army in which he served. He will always be remembered by the men of D Battery and Anzio Company; he will be sorely missed." Major Simon Briggs, Battery Commander, Combined Force Nad 'Ali, said: "This deployment to Afghanistan is the second time I have had the pleasure to work with Mark. Always professional, thoroughly capable, and with an ever present dry sense of humour, Mark was an asset to the battery in so many ways. "Professionally he was on top of his game. His colleagues and I trusted him 100 per cent with every aspect of the complex job he did. "Proven throughout the deployment on several occasions he had added immeasurable value with his technical ability, a testament to his level-headed nature and maturity. Socially, he was a central figure within the battery and was considered by all as a true friend. "Tragically killed doing the job that he loved and excelled at, he will leave a significant hole which will be very hard to fill." Captain Johnny Mercer, Fire Support Team Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was in my eyes the perfect soldier. He remained consistent whether in combat or not. His selfless commitment truly set him apart from his peers. "He was a selfless man who would just as readily volunteer to empty the bins as go out on a patrol to disrupt the insurgents and protect the people as on the day he was killed. He was the man that men aspire to be. "Whenever we were in a dangerous situation, Mark would be sat in the ditch next to me smiling, seemingly without a care in the world. His sanity and calm humour kept our morale up. He was the perfect man to have in a Fire Support Team. It was an absolute privilege to command this example of a man." Captain Alex Gray, Adjutant, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, former Fire Support Team Commander, D Battery, said: "Lance Bombardier Chandler quickly integrated into D Battery with his amiable personality, good sense of humour, and proved himself to be a popular member of not just the Tactical Group but the wider battery. "He deployed with me to Canada on Exercise Medicine Man where as an individual he was great to have within the Fire Support Team. Living out of a Warrior armoured vehicle week after week can be trying for all but he never failed to remain in good humour and to put a smile on our faces. "I am not only sad at his loss, but privileged to say that I had worked with him. He will be missed." Captain Tim Haskell, Troop Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "Lance Bombardier Chandler's cheerful and professional manner made him one of the strongest and most respected members of the troop. He was a very professional soldier who took pride in all his work and had a very promising future. "A calm and dependable man under extreme pressure, Bing transformed himself from a quiet individual to a formidable and unflappable soldier; exactly the type of person you need in difficult situations. "Nothing ever seemed to daunt Bing and he would usually lighten a tense situation with his dry but fantastic sense of humour. He was a person whom everyone could look to for help and advice, and he leaves a big hole in the troop, D Battery and the regiment. "He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and will never be forgotten." Bombardier Richard Kay, Joint Fires Cell Detachment Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "Mark was a fit and enthusiastic man who was always up for a challenge and willing to try something new. He loved his job and wanted to be the best he could; which is why he wanted to be a member of a Fire Support Team. "Bing, as he was known to his mates, also enjoyed the more extreme sports representing the regiment and Artillery at downhill skiing several times. Wanting to go even faster, he then took up luge, which he excelled at, competing at Army level. "Out of work he was very sociable and when on leave would often visit mates who are no longer serving just to catch up and have a few beers. He is a true mate and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him." Lance Bombardier Daniel 'Tez' Terry, Fire Support Team Assistant, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "I first met Bing just after our deployment to Cyprus. Being new Gunners, we got put on guard duty almost as soon as we arrived and I will always remember our first meeting because of his constant whingeing and how it made everyone laugh. "We were both really happy when he got posted to D Battery because we were such close friends and this would mean we could spend more time together. I also knew that his personality and outstanding soldiering would make him fit really well into the battery. "Bing was always there to help and give good advice regardless of the situation; he would always boost morale just by being himself. "Although we didn't really share a passion for the same sports, he would always show interest in what I was doing because that was the kind and caring person he was. I will never forget him and will miss him every day. He was a truly great friend. Bombardier 'Geordie' Clayton, M (HQ) Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said: "Bing was a great guy. Fun to be around and he will be dearly missed."


[ Bombardier Stephen Raymond Gilbert ]

[ 4th Reg RA ]

Bombardier Stephen Raymond Gilbert, from 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, died from wounds sustained in Afghanistan in hospital in Birmingham on Saturday 26 June 2010. Bombardier Gilbert died as a result of injuries sustained during an explosion in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on the afternoon of Thursday 10 June 2010. Bombardier Stephen Gilbert was 36 years old and joined the Army in August 1999. He enlisted into the Royal Artillery and was posted to 6/36 Battery, 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) based in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. Bombardier Gilbert started his career in the gun group before re-roling to become an Observation Post Assistant, working on the front line in a Fire Support Team and deploying to Kosovo in 2001. He then deployed to Iraq in 2003 and again in March 2005 as part of an infantry ground holding multiple. His vigour, professionalism and dedication shone through and he was selected to become an instructor at the Army Foundation College at Harrogate. Bombardier Gilbert typified the ideal instructor; dynamic, proficient and with an infectious sense of humour which motivated the young recruits. If ever there was a role model for young soldiers to emulate it was him. In January 2010, Bombardier Gilbert was posted to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, which had replaced 40th Regiment Royal Artillery in Topcliffe.  He joined 88 (Arracan) Battery during Mission Specific Training as a Fire Support Team Assistant and deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010 in support of G Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) based in Forward Operating Base Khar Nikah in Nahr-e Saraj (North) operating under the Danish Battlegroup. Bombardier Gilbert has spent the last three months in the region providing security to the local population, preventing insurgent intimidation and supporting the Afghan National Army. He was on a joint patrol with the Afghan National Army on the afternoon of 10 June 2010 when he was injured by an explosion. He was transferred to the New Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where he sadly died of his wounds on the afternoon of 26 June 2010. He leaves behind his wife Jackie and sons Connor and Kristian.

 

Jackie Gilbert has made the following statement: "We as a family are so proud of Steve and everything he believed in. He was a fantastic father and Connor and Kristian has not only lost their dad but their best friend. "Steve was a devoted husband and we lived and laughed everyday we shared. I do truly believe I was lucky enough to find my true soul mate. "Steve will always be in my heart and will live on through his family and many close friends. Rest in peace my darling; I love you so much." Lieutenant Colonel Chris Squier, Commanding Officer 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Bombardier Stephen Gilbert was a rising star. A fit, robust Scotsman, he was a man of great compassion and moral purpose. "His family were everything to him. He and his wife Jackie were central to life at our home in Topcliffe. "His loss has had deep and profound reverberations across the Regiment and our local community. "As a soldier he was the epitome of the Gunner Fire Support Team Assistant. Knowledgeable enough to teach and mentor his team, strong enough to support his commander, fearless enough to lead them in the fight, courageous enough to lift his head from the ditch  and call for fire and compassionate enough to treat his team as his own family; men like him are truly rare. "He fought for the final days of his life as he had lived; with true passion and spirit. He never woke from the blast that so cruelly took him from us and he sadly passed away with his wife Jackie by his side. My thoughts go to her, their sons Connor and Kristian, his parents Ray and Helen and his brother and sisters. "Theirs is the true loss we can only imagine; he will remain always, Forever Fourth." Major Paul Dupuy, Battery Commander, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "Bombardier Gilbert was the essence of a 'Gunner' Non-Commissioned Officer and a Fire Support Team Assistant. Bright, dedicated and utterly committed, he was an exceptional soldier and commander.  "He led his soldiers from the front and worked tirelessly to support, educate and look after them. He had only been with the Battery for six months but in that time he had earned the trust and respect of all, including the infantry company to which he was attached. "He was a key member of the team. He had considerable ability and much potential. He was a kind, loyal and honest man, whom I held in  highest regard. "He personified all that I know and is great about the Battery. It was a privilege to command and serve with him. He will be sorely missed by all of us. "At this most difficult of times my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jackie, his two sons Connor and Kristian, his family and friends."  Major Nick Aucott, Officer Commanding G (Tobruk) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "Bombardier Stephen Gilbert was a highly professional soldier who was a privilege to work alongside. "At the time he sustained his injuries he was conducting a mobile patrol with soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) on the edge of the Green Zone, tasked with disrupting an insurgent check point that was inhibiting the freedom of movement of the local farmers from Khar Nikah to Gereshk. "As a dour Scotsman, his dry wit and gentle nature ensured that he was exceptionally popular with the Gurkha, British and Afghan soldiers he was working alongside. "It is never easy to integrate into a company as an attachment, and that Bombardier Gilbert did this so successfully is a testament to his personable nature and the professionalism with which he approached his job.  "Bombardier Gilbert was a true character and wonderful company; he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are now with his family during this difficult time." Major Kevin Young, Regimental Welfare Officer, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "I have known Bombardier Gilbert for a number of years. He was a huge character and professionally one of the best Bombardiers I have come across. "He was a vibrant individual with a wicked sense of humour and always willing to lead from the front. "Although enlisted into the Army at a late age, he certainly had a fruitful and inspiring career ahead of him. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jackie, sons Connor and Kristian at this unimaginably distressing time." Captain Martin Wells, Fire Support Team Commander, 88 (Arracan) Battery on behalf of Bombardier Gilbert’s Fire Support Team said: "Bombardier Stephen Gilbert was a soldier whose strength of character and consummate professionalism marked him apart from his peers. "He always demonstrated a courage and calmness when on patrol, and composure in the face of adversity that ensured, on more than one occasion, the safe return of his fellow soldiers. "He possessed a sense of humour remarkably similar to my own through which we connected and developed a rapport that never diminished. "He was immensely devoted to his family and we both took great pleasure in sharing stories and photos from home. "He was a father figure to the younger members of the Fire Support Team, a shoulder of support for them and their welfare became his priority. "I have had the pleasure to work with him and the honour to call him my friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. He will be sorely missed."  Captain Duncan McDonald, Fire Support Team Commander, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "I worked with Bombardier Gilbert for only a short time but he made a big impression. During the pre-deployment training he worked as my Fire Support Team Assistant on what can only be described as a tough and very cold exercise where he was deployed forward with the lead callsigns for a period of 50 hours. "As it was only supposed to be a short patrol, you could not have blamed him for showing some sort of ill feeling, however in his extremely professional nature he cracked on with absolutely no complaint whatsoever. "His ability to get along with everyone was an absolute credit to him and his good nature and respect for everyone made him an extremely popular member of the Battery. "We shall miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his wife Jackie, his children Connor and Kristian and the rest of his family." Captain Katie Palastanga, Fire Support Team Commander, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "Bombardier Gilbert came to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery in January after a stint away instructing and immediately fitted into the Battery. "His professional and conscientious attitude meant that respecting him came easily, and his quiet and thoughtful nature meant that he was a pleasure to be around. "He was one of the most motivated soldiers I have met, always managing to see a silver lining to any situation and his enthusiasm was infectious. "To the more junior soldiers and officers he was a great mentor and role model, he was exactly what a good Non-Commissioned Officer should be, balancing his wealth of knowledge and experience with humility and good nature. "I feel privileged to have served alongside such a fine soldier. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family. Gone but not forgotten."  Warrant Officer Class 2 Paddy Prout, Battery Sergeant Major, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "From the moment Steve arrived in the Battery I knew we had struck gold; of him it really was true to say "he was the best" and "utterly professional". "Steve joined the Battery during Mission Specific Training, hit the ground running and impressed right from the very start. "As the Battery Sergeant Major I knew that the job would not only get completed but to the highest standard because that was the sort of bloke he was. "He took the reigns of the Troop within days and ran it along with the Troop Commander as if he had been in the Battery for years. Everyone in the Gun Troop at Patrol Base 2 is feeling the loss of our friend and comrade and our thoughts and prayers are with Jackie, Connor, Kristian and all Steve’s family and friends at this most difficult of times. "Steve you will always be one of us, you will always be a REDNECK." Staff Sergeant Mark Wilde, Joint Fires Cell Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "Gilly was one of the most dedicated and professional men I have ever met. "He was kind and generous and always put others, especially his team, before himself. "To work with him was a pleasure. Everything had a positive side and the job was never finished until it was done right. "I was always put at ease by Gilly, he always wanted to do what was right and never faltered under pressure. "He was a shining example to all who had the privilege to know and work with him. My deepest sympathies go to his wife and family." Staff Sergeant ‘Reggie’ Perren, Joint Fires Cell Commander, 129 (Dragon) Battery Royal Artillery said: "I first meet Gilly about 10 years ago back in 40 Regiment Royal Artillery. The first time I met him I thought what a good lad, a true and honest man, a hard working soldier who wanted to get the most out of Army life. "Gilly was a guy who was up for a laugh both in and out of work. I’d often see Gilly walking around, or should I say getting dragged around, the shops by Jackie doing pretty much the same as me, looking for the drinks aisle. My thoughts go out to Jackie and the family. "Gilly mate you will never be forgotten, you will be always in my thoughts, good night mate sleep tight."  Colour Sergeant Wayne Glynn, G (Tobruk) Company Fire Support Group, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "Bombardier Gilbert or ‘Gilly’ as he was known by his friends and colleagues, first started working with our multiple in April, as part of the Fire Support Team. "He quickly proved himself to be very dependable and professional at his job. When out on patrol, we felt that much safer for his presence, knowing that fire support was always in his very capable hands. "He was tested several times whilst on patrol, and thrived and shone in the challenging environment, calling supporting fire down within seconds, when needed. "Always focused on the job in hand, he gave us the reassurance we required to leave the Forward Operating Base on task. "On a personal note, we quickly became firm friends, as is often the case when you rely on someone day in, day out, and sharing stories about home, family and the job we do, over late night cups of tea. "He had a cracking sense of humour, often lifting our spirits when we were feeling low, and was much respected and well liked by the lads who knew him. "We are devastated by his death, and it was an honour to work with such a selfless, committed and thoroughly likeable man." Sergeant Lee Moye, Forward Air Controller, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "It is hard to put into words the loss of Bombardier Gilbert, ‘Gilly’ as everyone knew him in 4th Regiment Royal Artillery. "I first met Gilly back in Germany whilst serving with 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, he was a member of 6/36 Battery and I was a member of 137 Battery. "Although we were in different Batteries we had the usual rival banter between the Observation Post crews on the countless competitions we all took part in up and down the country. "Gilly was an inspirational character who always looked on the bright side of what some would call a bad situation. He showed such a passion for the job, more than any soldier I know. "He would always go out of his way to help out the junior soldiers by passing on the vast knowledge that he had built up over the years. "Gilly you are a dear friend and will be sorely missed, our hearts go out to your family at this tragic time. “We will always remember you, dear friend.""  Corporal John Hough, Section Commander, C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshires) said: "Gilly was like an older brother to me, always guiding and advising and showing me the right road to go down. "He was always on hand to guide me back onto this road whenever I got lost, in the way that only Gilly could. "He was an absolute one in a million, generous, kind and consoling whenever a friend was in need. He was a tough and resolute soldier but deep down I know he was a big softie with his one true love his wife Jackie and his boys. "This love was never-ending and evident for everyone to see. Gilly will be sorely missed but never forgotten and I will always love and remember him as the brother I never had and a true friend. "I am deeply sorry that I will not be able to be with you all at this time, however, I know Gillie would understand and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this tough time." Bombardier Ian Davies, Forward Air Controller, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "Unfortunately I only knew Gilly for a short time but due to his dry humour and infectious laugh and proper ‘naff tats’ which he thought were brilliant, you could do nothing but like the man. "Whilst working with him before, during and after Pre-Deployment Training I used to always try and snap him but in good old Gilly fashion you just got that look he gave and calmly got told where to go with a little smirk in a strong Scottish accent. "All Gilly ever spoke about was his wife and how he couldn’t wait to get home and smash a few bottles of wine. "Gilly was the most kind-hearted and calming person I’ve ever met and am absolutely devastated at his death. "My thoughts and prayers go to his wife Jackie, his kids Connor and Kris, who I know he loved dearly and his extended family through  these terrible times. Corporal 'Baz' Chambers, 88 Battery Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers Fitter Section said: "When I heard Gilly had been posted to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery I was happy that an old friend was back. "I first met Gilly in 2002 at 40th Regiment Royal Artillery and served in his platoon on Op TELIC and on Op FRESCO before that. "He was a role model for all the junior soldiers; many aspired to be like him. Gilly was happiest when passing on his knowledge of his trade  to all the Gunners that worked in his detachment. "Gilly was always the practical joker, with a wicked sense of humour and infectious laugh. "He was a dedicated husband, father and soldier. During this tough time my thoughts go out to Jackie, Connor and Kristian and with all of his friends from 40th Regiment Royal Artillery and 88 (Arracan) Battery. "Bombardier Stephen "Gilly" Gilbert, you will always be a true Braveheart." Bombardier 'Fitzy' Ficetola, Gun Coverer, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "Quite simply – a true gentleman. I first served with Gilly as instructors at the Army Foundation College (Harrogate) where he was extremely popular and well respected by all. "A man with a good heart who was always there for you when you needed a friend. "Gilly, an individual who stood out from the crowd, was always willing to help others and would do anything for you. "A true friend who will be sorely missed. RIP mate." Corporal Waine Bolger, Mortar Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "Bombardier Stephen ‘Gilly’ Gilbert first started working with Mortar Platoon on an exercise in January 2010, where he quickly became a well-liked and respected member of the Platoon, showing his enthusiasm to learn new things and his great sense of humour. "Even though we had worked together for only a short amount of time, Stephen quickly earned the trust and respect of all the members  within the Mortar Platoon. "He would often come to where the Mortars were to have a cup of tea and chat, passing the time by talking of home and memories we had, and what we looked forward to most upon return to England. "Whilst in Afghanistan, people would feel safe on patrol knowing that they could rely on Stephen, and if the situation arose he would react with great speed and accuracy.  "Stephen’s death has come as a shock to the members of the Platoon and he will be sadly missed by all. "All the members of the Platoon who had the pleasure of meeting Stephen will hold a dear and long lasting memory of him. "Personally it has been a privilege and honour to have worked with Stephen and he will be sadly missed." Lance Bombardier Ian Callaghan, Fire Support Team Assistant, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "Since he arrived in January, Gilly showed straight away a relaxed and easy going nature towards the lads. "He was knowledgeable and good at his job but never afraid to ask questions, even to the more Junior Non-Commissioned Officers of the Troop. "I remember him always talking about his two sons and worrying when his eldest learnt to drive. "Joining in on any banter, he was one of the best. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, it was my privilege to know him." Gunner Joe Bootland, Fire Support Team Signaller, 88 (Arracan) Battery Royal Artillery said: "I’ve known Gilly just under a year, but in that short time I came to admire him as a soldier and as a friend. "He would always do what he could for the lads, be that getting us knocked off early or giving advice to the younger soldier such as myself. "He will be deeply missed within the Troop, Battery and Regiment. My heart goes out to his family at this hard time. "Gilly, you will be remembered always and never forgotten."


[ Bombardier Samuel Joseph Robinson ]

[ 5th Regiment Royal Artillery ]

5th Regiment Royal Artillery

Bombardier Samuel Joseph Robinson, 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 8 July 2010. Bombardier Robinson was serving in support of Combined Force Sangin, and died in an explosion while on foot patrol in the Sangin District of Helmand Province. Bombardier Sam Robinson, 31 years old from Carmarthen, joined the Army on 23 November 1999 aged 20. He transferred from 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps in 2006 as a parachute trained corporal, and joined 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery, 5th Regiment Royal Artillery.  In March 2008, after successfully passing the Patrol Course he was selected as a Royal Artillery Special Observer. Bombardier Robinson was deployed on his fourth operational tour in Afghanistan. On a previous deployment he had been a member of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force and played an active part in Op PANCHAI PALANG in June 2009. He deployed to Afghanistan in May 2010 as a specialist advisor to provide support to Combined Force Sangin from Forward Operating Base Wishtan. Bombardier Robinson was the second in command of a Surveillance and Target Acquisition Patrol from 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery Royal Artillery. On 8 July 10, Bombardier Robinson was on a local area patrol with members of A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) to ensure freedom of movement for locals, and International Security and Assistance Forces in Sangin, when he was killed by an explosion from an Improvised Explosive Device. A Physical Training Instructor, 'Robbo' kept himself very fit. A fish in the water, the current 2 Div swimming champion, and a gazelle over land, Bombardier Robinson was never happier than when hill walking in the Welsh mountains, putting his Mountain Leader skills to the test. All members of 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, especially those in 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery will miss him immensely. We will remember him. The family of Bombardier Samuel Joseph Robinson have made the following statement: "Sam was doing the job that he loved and was proud to be doing it. We are all very proud of him and we will miss him forever."

 

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hayhurst RA, Commanding Officer 5th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Bombardier Robinson was one of the first to step forward for this particularly difficult task even though he had just returned from Op HERRICK 10. "This courageous man held the respect of all that knew him; his strength of character, professionalism, and outright robustness made him a force to be reckoned with, and he was the perfect role model for the rest of the Regiment and in particular the young members of 4/73 Battery. "He was special and will be sorely missed. His tragic loss has come as a shock to us all and my greatest sympathy goes out to his family and to his friends." Lieutenant Colonel Chris J M Squier RA, Commanding Officer 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Hard, fit, tough and with the operational experience to back him, Bombardier Sam Robinson epitomised all I have come to expect from this group of highly dedicated and committed soldiers who have earned the right to be called Special Observers. "His loss cuts right to the heart of his close knit and resolute trade – he and they deserve our utmost respect. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, colleagues and friends; theirs is the true loss we can only imagine." Major Mark Wood RA, Battery Commander 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery, 5th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Bombardier Robinson was an utterly dedicated and professional Junior Non Commissioned Officer who epitomised everything that a Surveillance and Target Acquisition Patrol soldier should be. "Fiercely fit, highly capable and entirely selfless, he was the life blood of the Battery. "His quirky personality and irrepressible enthusiasm for his job endeared him to his fellow Patrol Soldiers and he will be sorely missed by all ranks. "Bombardier Robinson had accumulated a huge amount of diverse experience and his calm, unflappable manner enabled him to pass this knowledge on to the junior members of his team; he was instrumental in moulding them into a tightly knit and highly effective unit. "He was never more at home than as a member of a small team of professional soldiers and held the respect and admiration of his peers and seniors alike. "A determined and utterly reliable Patrol Second in Command, he inspired trust and confidence in all those with whom he worked. "In typical fashion, Bombardier Robinson volunteered to redeploy to theatre after a short turnaround in the UK and was killed while leading his patrol from the front. Courageous, extremely professional and a shining example to others, it is devastating that he should lose his life whilst doing the job he loved."  Captain Lee Chapman RA, Operations Officer 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery, 5th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Bombardier Robinson was an experienced, consummate professional who always put his job first. "He was fiercely loyal both to his subordinates and the Battery that he was so proud in serving.  "During the deployment, his professionalism and dedication to the task were typical of what Bombardier Robinson stood for and believed in. "Irrespective of the conditions at hand or the time of day, Bombardier Robinson was an outstanding and fearless Non Commissioned Officer, who always strived for perfection in all that he did. "He will be greatly missed by the Patrol and the Special Observer 'family' and will always be remembered for his dedication, loyalty and his love for his beloved Wales." Sergeant Wayne Turnbull, Patrol Commander 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery, 5th Regiment Royal Artillery said: "Bombardier Robinson was an exceptional soldier and a true brother in arms. "A fit and robust soldier, he stood by my side and led the patrol in any task given to us, regardless of the danger involved.  "Bombardier Robinson was the ultimate professional; precise and methodical in all that he did. A better patrol second in command will never be found. "He never asked for anything but gave everything; looking after his subordinates and disregarding his own needs was the way he worked and that is why he will be so greatly missed. "Bombardier Robinson wasn't just my second in command but my friend and brother and he will be dearly missed." All Ranks, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said: "We had worked with Bombardier Robinson for only a short time, but he had quickly fitted in and become part of the team. During various incidents in the past few days he and his colleagues made a huge impression by always being ready to help in any situation. "We are pleased and proud to have worked alongside him, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family."