Royal Logistic Corps

Sergeant Robert Busuttil

Sergeant Robert Busuttil.

It is with very deep regret that the Ministry of Defence has to confirm the deaths of two soldiers following an incident in Kabul on 17 August 2002. Sergeant Robert Busuttil and Corporal John Gregory, both aged thirty, died from gunshot wounds at the British base at Kabul International Airport. Both men served with the Royal Logistic Corps. Our sincere sympathies are with their families at this very difficult time. Colleagues at Kabul held a service of remembrance for them on 18 August 2002.

[ Pte Andrew Cutts ]

Private Andrew Barrie Cutts


Private Cutts was killed in action at 1530 hours during an operation to disrupt Taliban forces.

Private Andrew Barrie Cutts, from Mansfield, was born on 8 January 1987 and enlisted into the Army in July 2003. Following basic training he was posted as a driver into 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, based in Colchester. Private Cutts deployed to Afghanistan on 11 March 2006 as part of the Regiment’s Force Protection Troop. This was formed from specially selected and highly trained soldiers within the unit and charged with the responsibility of providing firepower and protection for logistic support convoys delivering combat supplies to British troops in Helmand Province.  Andrew was immensely liked and respected by all those that knew him. He was a popular member of the troop who could always be relied upon to break the tension with a smile and a joke. A fit, highly skilled and diligent soldier with a quiet, unassuming manner, he was preparing himself for parachute selection on return to Colchester. He was a dedicated supporter of his local football team, Mansfield Town, but his real passion lay with his family of whom he talked regularly and with great fondness.

His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neale Jouques OBE RLC, expressed the views of the entire Regiment when he said: "He died doing what he was good at, protecting his comrades. He was a brave and exemplary soldier. It is with enormous regret that the Regiment reports the loss of Private Cutts. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andrew’s family and girlfriend at this sad time."

Pte Leigh Reeves

Private Leigh Reeves of the Royal Logistic Corps, was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 9 August 2006. In a Road Traffic Accident at Camp Souter, Kabul. Private Leigh Reeves, aged 25 he was from Leicester.

No other soldiers or civilians were injured and there was no insurgent involvement.

Private Leigh Reeves was born on 24 February 1981 and enlisted into the Army on 6 October 2003. Following basic training as a Royal Logistic Corps driver, he was posted to the Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Support Battalion, based in Rheindahlen, Germany. Private Reeves deployed to Afghanistan on 30 March 2006 as part of the British Forces Transport Troop, providing transport support to the British Forces Headquarters and UK National Support Element based in Camp Souter, Kabul. The Troop’s role is to convey combat supplies and large numbers of military and civilian personnel around the Kabul area. Leigh was an extremely popular member of the troop and was immensely liked by all that knew him. His wicked sense of humour and happy-go-lucky outlook always helped to boost morale, particularly during his deployment in Afghanistan. He lived for his mates and the camaraderie that came with Service life. Never afraid to express his opinion, he often brought a smile with his very amusing perspective of the world.  Leigh was a fast learner and extremely hard worker who had all the ingredients for a successful career ahead of him. His passion was football and Leicester City Football Club. Indeed, due to the club's poor run of form, Leigh was frequently the centre of troop jokes, always responding with a characteristic, quick-witted riposte. His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Winstanley, Gren Gds, expressed the views of the entire Battalion when he said: "Leigh was one of those larger than life characters that every unit needs. This tragic accident has deprived the Battalion of a high calibre soldier who will be sorely missed. Indeed, we all share the Reeves family’s grief at his passing and our sincerest condolences go to them."

[ Warrant Officer Class 2 Gary 'Gaz' O'Donnell GM, (George Medal) ]

Warrant Officer Class 2 Gary 'Gaz' O'Donnell GM, (George Medal) from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, Killed on Wednesday 10 September 2008, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. WO2 O'Donnell, 40, died from injuries sustained from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Musa Qaleh, Helmand province. At the time, he was commanding an Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) team within the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group who were dealing with a confirmed IED that had been detected by a high risk search team. Their task was to clear a route in a vulnerable area for 5 SCOTS Battlegroup, in and around the Western side of Musa Qaleh. Sadly, WO2 O'Donnell, who had completed almost 17 years of military service, died as a result of the explosion. WO2 Gary 'Gaz' O'Donnell, from Edinburgh, began his career in 1992 in the Ammunition Technical Trade and was posted to 3 Base Ammunition Depot Bracht in the British Army of the Rhine. He then undertook a further three tours at Ammunition Depots before being posted to 11 EOD Regiment RLC as a Joint Service IEDD No 1 Operator. Upon entering 11 EOD Regiment RLC as a Sergeant, he was quickly identified as a technician with significant ability and an abundance of potential. This was exemplified by his ability to pass his RLC No 1 IEDD Course as a high threat operator first time, only achieved by approximately 15-20 % of ammunition technicians.  Thereafter he proved his value as an outstanding technician and soldier, undertaking tours in Sierra Leone, Iraq, as well as two tours of both Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, in both the IEDD and Weapons Intelligence Specialist roles. He was the epitome of what the Ammunition Technician Trade stands for with his exemplary service, exceptional high standards and a humbling degree of courage and bravery. This was demonstrated by his award for bravery and courage in Iraq where he was awarded the George Medal for his work as an IEDD operator with the Joint Force EOD Group in 2006.  WO2 O'Donnell had spent the last eight years in the RLC EOD community. The Ammunition Technician trade and the Joint Force EOD Group is an extremely select and intimate group of individuals who have, as in most small units, an exceptionally close bond. Given the calibre of WO2 O'Donnell his loss will be significantly felt by all who knew him. WO2 O'Donnell leaves behind his wife, Toni, their children, Aiden, 8, and Ben, 9 weeks, as well as his children from a previous marriage, Dylan, 16, and Kayleigh, 14.  Toni, wife of WO2 O'Donnell, said: "Gary was living the dream and we are all very proud of who he was and he will be missed greatly." Lieutenant Colonel Dave Wilson MBE, Commander Joint Force Engineer Group, said: "WO2 O'Donnell was an amazing man. Hugely talented and unbelievably brave he was at the very top of his extremely dangerous and difficult trade. It was a trade at which he excelled. It was his passion and he took immense pride in making places safer for other people, the danger to his own life rarely seemed to affect him. If it did, he kept it to himself. He was a real character and a natural leader of men, his big smile often giving reassurance to the less experienced or more anxious.  "His death will be a great loss to the EOD community and the Army. Men of this calibre are extremely rare. Extremely professional and highly courageous he was quite simply a brilliant individual. He spoke of his wife and family often and this reflected the love and affection he had for all of them. He was a proud and happy father, husband and family man. Our thoughts are with his family at this time." Major Wayne Davidson RLC, Officer Commanding the Joint Force EOD Group, said: "In the short time that I had the pleasure and privilege to know WO2 Gaz O'Donnell it was evident to see his calibre and class as a solider and technician emanate through the Group. His passion and loyalty to his Trade, Corps and the EOD community was infectious and exhilarating. A highly experienced and respected operator, WO2 Gaz O'Donnell will be sorely missed but never forgotten. "11 EOD Regiment RLC and the wider EOD community are extremely hurt and deeply affected by this loss. However, such is the nature of our job and the calibre of our soldiers that we are neither broken nor deterred. His sacrifice will make our trade and Regiment stronger. WO2 Gaz O'Donnell has died amongst his work colleagues that have shared sweat, blood, toil and tears with and for him. We will ensure that his sacrifice is not in vain." Captain Mike Webb RLC, Ops Officer, Joint Force EOD Group, said: "Throughout the time that I knew WO2 Gaz O’Donnell he became a steadfast friend and a charismatic mentor; through his humour and boundless magnetic charm he taught me humility, professionalism and respect. As a colleague, ATO and soldier he was meticulous in his example, always encouraging his subordinates, peers and superiors alike to ever greater efforts. I will deeply miss his sharp wit and ready conversation. He will be fondly remembered by all who knew him." WO1 'Lav' Laverack, Senior Ammunition Technician, Joint Force EOD Group, said: "He died doing the job that he loved. I often hear that quoted but I genuinely believe that it’s true for Gaz. In the years that I have known him he was always smiling and willing to help. Highly-regarded by all who had the honour to meet him, he’ll be remembered for his insightful leadership and unfailing help to those less fortunate than himself." WO2 'Moxy' James, Squadron Sergeant Major, Joint Force EOD Group, said: "Gaz loved what he did because of the people he worked with. The people he worked with loved Gaz because of the way he worked. He died doing the job he loved surrounded by people who loved, admired and respected him." Members of the Royal Engineers Search Team and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) team who were with WO2 O’Donnell at the time of his death said: "An excellent friend and colleague who’s humour would never falter. He had an air of confidence that would immediately put everyone around him at ease. As a boss he was professional without compromise and you always knew where you stood. The safety and well-being of his team was always in the forefront of his mind. His strength of character was proven on countless occasions and his heroics have saved many lives. His charisma, sense of humour and zest for life will be missed by all that knew him, and he will live on in our memories, as he would say 'Living the Dream'."

[ Captain Daniel Shepherd ]

Captain Daniel Shepherd from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 20 July 2009. Captain Shepherd was serving with the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group when he died following an explosion in Nad-e-Ali District in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan. At the time of his death, Captain Shepherd was commanding an Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) team within  the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group who were dealing with a confirmed IED. Working in concert with a Royal Engineers Search Team, their task was to clear a route in order to ensure that an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) re-supply convoy and the local Afghan population were able to move freely through a particularly area. Another member of his team suffered minor injuries in the incident. 

Captain Shepherd aged 28, was married and came from Lincoln. Following a degree in Electrical Engineering, he joined the Royal Logistic Corps on Commissioning from Sandhurst in August 2003. He subsequently attended specialist logistic training before, as a junior officer, joining 8 Transport Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, with whom he served in Iraq in 2004. In 2007 he attended and passed Ammunition Technical Officer training before being posted to 11 EOD Regiment RLC as a Troop Commander and Joint Service IED Disposal Operator with Northolt Troop, 621 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron, providing bomb disposal support in the Greater London area. In December 2008 he joined the select group of our very best Bomb Disposal operators by attending and passing the IEDD No1 (High Threat) course.  In Afghanistan, Captain Shepherd commanded an IED Disposal Team within the Joint Force EOD Group. His role was to conduct IED Disposal operations, clearing the way to make routes safe for ISAF and the Afghan people, during the course of his tour he had already dealt with over 50 devices and he died whilst deployed in support of Operation PANCHAI PALANG. He was at his very best on operations and excelled in the demanding operational environment of Southern Afghanistan. Such was his talent and operational experience that he was shortly to take up a high profile appointment, focused on countering the threat from IEDs in Afghanistan, at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood. Captain Shepherd leaves behind his wife, Kerry, his devoted parents David and Judith and his brother Paul. Capt Shepherd's wife, Kerry, said: "He was doing what he loved. I was so proud of him. I have not lost just a husband but a best friend and he will be missed by everyone." The family of Capt Shepherd said: "We are very proud of our youngest son and husband. He lived life to the full. Daniel worked hard to achieve all he set out to do in his career in the Army. He has left a huge hole in our family and our lives and will be sadly missed. He is in our thoughts, always." Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis, Joint Force Engineer, Task Force Helmand, and Commanding Officer of the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group said: "Captain Dan Shepherd was an extraordinary officer; composed, compassionate, utterly charming and imbued with a single-minded determination to put others before himself. "He was incredibly courageous yet immensely modest about his own stunning achievements. A consummate and technically gifted Ammunition Technical Officer, Dan understood fully the dangerous nature of his job yet every day was the first to put his own life on the line. "To have the honour to serve alongside him was a humbling experience; he was an inspiration to all. "Dan lived each and every moment of his life at a frenetic pace and whether through his climbing, his family or his work he invested his energy completed. "As a consequence his soldiers adored him and he reciprocated their loyalty tenfold. The only thing that could steal him away from them was his devotion to his wife, Kerry, and his wider family. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this most awful time." Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, Commanding Officer 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, said:

"The Regiment has been shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Captain Dan Shepherd. Dan was a very popular member of 11 EOD Regiment RLC. I first met him in 2004 when serving together on Operation TELIC 4 in Iraq as part of 8 Regiment RLC, where I was impressed with his boundless energy, enthusiasm and courage. Dan always led from the front and I know his soldiers would have followed him anywhere. "Since joining 11 EOD Regiment in 2007, Dan has been totally committed to Explosive Ordnance Disposal and was determined to qualify as a High Threat Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) operator at the first opportunity. "Dan was always at his best on operations; he was the ultimate professional and very much, a soldier's soldier. With a  calm and confident air that belied his age, Dan was the man you would want with you in a difficult situation. In some small way it is a comfort knowing that he died doing the job he loved and for which he was highly respected. "Dan was extremely proud of being an Ammunition Technical Officer (ATO). He took a quiet satisfaction in knowing that, as a High Threat bomb disposal operator, his work was directly contributing to making Afghanistan a safer and better place, both for the Afghans and his Army comrades. "A charming and instantly likeable young man, Dan lived life to the full. He was passionate about the outdoors and a  talented rock climber. His cheerful and upbeat approach, natural modesty and outright professionalism were an inspiration to all of us. "The Regiment and his colleagues serving alongside him in Afghanistan have been deeply shocked by his death but we will continue, however, to press on with the essential task being undertaken in Helmand because that is what Dan would have expected of us. "Dan was a wonderful man and he will live on in the memory of the Regiment. Dan's death is a tragic loss to the Regiment and ATO community who are a tight knit family but it is nothing compared to the loss suffered by his wife Kerry and Dan's family and my heartfelt condolences go out to them at this time." Major Eldon Millar, Officer Commanding the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, said: "Captain Dan Shepherd was a man of extraordinary talent; robust, determined and unbelievably courageous. His relaxed, amiable and honest character made him one of the most popular and respected men in our very tight knit Group. "His boundless energy, love of the outdoors, devotion to his family and pride in the City of Lincoln were the hallmarks of a remarkably self assured man. He was devoted to his team all of whom adored him for both his professional ability and  generosity of spirit. "On task he was the epitome of cool; calm and collected he was utterly unflappable a trait which inspired enormous confidence in all who served alongside him. "He was killed as he lived his life; in the thick of the action, leading his team from the front and determined to ensure that his professional skills were able to save the lives of others. "His death has come as an extremely heavy blow to the Joint Force EOD Group - quite simply he was one of our best and I am personally devastated to have lost another fine man in the prime of his life. It is with the deepest sympathy that we extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his wife Kerry, their family and wide circle of friends at this unimaginably dreadful time.  "My prayer is that they may take some comfort in his extraordinary contribution to saving the lives of many others through his immense courage and skill and the considerable benefit which all of us, who had the privilege of knowing and serving alongside him, have derived. "We will not forget him and now, once again, will turn our focus to our task of driving forward the vital work that he died conducting; he would not want us to do anything less." Capt Wayne Owers RLC, Ammunition Technical Officer, Joint Force EOD Group, said: "I have known Dan since he qualified as an Ammunition Technical Officer. We trained for this tour together and deployed at the same time. We regularly chatted over EFI coffee about the challenges of operating in Helmand, and also of our loved ones back in the UK. "Dan was a consummate perfectionist in all that he was involved in. His death is a savage blow to the ammunition trade. "My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. Rest in peace buddy; hope to meet with you again someday." Staff Sergeant Chris Oldfield RE, Royal Engineer Search Advisor, Joint Force EOD Group said: "During Op HERRICK 10 I had the privilege of working, living and laughing with Capt Dan Shepherd. During what could be classed as a short period of time I made a friend who neither I nor my team will ever forget. "Dan was a brave, selfless commander of men who I class to be amongst the best I have ever worked for. I consider the brief time I spent with him as extremely valuable and thank him for the times he had helped me, especially at my lowest. Rest in Peace Dan, my thoughts are with your wife and family grieving for your loss." Sergeant Gaz Reynolds RE, Royal Engineer Search Advisor, Joint Force EOD Group said: "I only recently got to know Dan Shepherd, and it was to my benefit to have done so. One of the most genuine and friendly men I have had the honour of calling a friend. I worked intensively with him for the last two weeks, and found out that not only is he an amazing ATO, but also an outstanding scrabble player (mainly due to the fact he was playing with the likes of me) and he used his intelligence to make up words and convince us that they were real. We will never forget him, my and my teams thoughts are with his family." Corporal Lee Davies RLC - High Threat No2 for Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Team Four said: "Upon arriving in theatre I was welcomed into the team which had already been on the ground for three weeks. Dan was, to put it simply, the best boss that I have had the privilege of working for; funny, approachable, friendly and caring. "The team was a close knit family and Dan was a respected colleague and a good friend. He talked of his wife and family often and clearly thought the world of them. My thoughts are with his family; Dan's death is a tragic loss to all who knew him."

[ Staff Sergeant Olaf Sean George Schmid ]

Staff Sergeant Olaf Sean George Schmid, of the Royal Logistic Corps, Killed in Afghanistan on the afternoon of Saturday 31 October 2009. SSgt Schmid died instantly following an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion in the Sangin region of Helmand Province. At the time he was commanding an Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) team who were dealing with a confirmed IED. Working in concert with an Advanced Search team he was conducting a manual route search to clear devices in the vicinity of the Forward Operating Base and was defusing the device when it initiated. SSgt Schmid was born in Truro, Cornwall on 11 June 1979. He was married to Christina (Chrissy) and had a step-son Laird, aged five. They lived together as a family in Winchester. An Ammunition Technician (AT) by trade, SSgt Schmid served much of his career at the Commando Logistic Regt and thrived in 3 Commando Brigade, the ethos there suiting his thirst for soldiering.  He sailed through the ranks and was selected for promotion to SSgt in April 2008. SSgt Schmid was posted to 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps as an AT Senior Non-Commissioned Officer at Alpha Troop providing close IEDD support to Special Forces and Police Tactical Firearms teams; an area in which he continued to thrive. He had a natural aptitude for IEDD and made steady progress through the numerous courses that an AT has to go through to become a High Threat Operator. He successfully passed the High Threat IEDD Course earlier this year which qualified him to operate in Afghanistan which is considered very much the pinnacle of any AT's operational career. SSgt Schmid arrived in theatre on Op HERRICK 10 in June 2009, thrown in the deep-end participating in Op PANCHAI PALANG during the summer. During the course of his tour, he attended 41 tasks, rendered safe 64 IEDs and attended 11 finds of bomb making equipment.

His friends bring him home ...


Thanks to Getty Images for the photo left and of Christina below

The cortege bearing the body of her heroic husband passes slowly before her. With staggering courage and the utmost dignity, Christina Schmid pays an instinctive tribute to the fallen bomb disposal expert - with a solitary round of applause.  Christina Schmid, wife of Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid said: "Oz was a phenomenal husband and loving father who was cruelly murdered on his last day of a relentless five month tour. "He was my best friend and soul mate. The pain of losing him is overwhelming. I take comfort knowing he saved countless lives with his hard work. I am so proud of him."

'Rare award' The George Cross is the country's highest award for gallantry by civilians, or by military personnel not in the presence of the enemy.

Lieutenant Col Robert Thomson, Commanding Officer 2 RIFLES Battle Group said: "SSgt Oz Schmid was simply the bravest and most courageous man I have ever met. Under relentless IED and small arms attacks he stood taller than the tallest. He opened the Pharmacy Road and 24 hrs later, found 31 IEDs in one go on route SPARTA. Every single Company in 2 RIFLES adored working with him. "I adored working with him. No matter how difficult or lethal the task which lay in front of us, he was the man who only saw solutions. "He saved lives in 2 RIFLES time after time and for that he will retain a very special place in every heart of every Rifleman in our extraordinary Battle  Group. Superlatives do not do the man justice. Better than the best. Better than the best of the best. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved family." Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex RLC, Commanding Officer Counter IED Task Force said: "SSgt Oz Schmid was a brilliant IEDD operator and a superb soldier. We loved him like a brother; he was a much adored member of our close knit family. "His example will urge us on with greater determination as we continue the C-IED fight he fought so valiantly. He had such a bright future ahead of him in a career that he so blatantly loved; the Army has been robbed of a superb talent. "With his tousled hair and boyish grin his effervescent presence was always good for morale and he had an infectious enthusiasm. "Once met, never forgotten his wicked sense of humour was legendary; he received so many accolades from the Battle Groups for his professionalism, courage and vibrant personality. "It was an honour to serve with him and a privilege to have been his Commanding Officer. He will be revered for ever in 11 EOD Regiment RLC as a hero and an inspiration to all who follow him; he takes his rightful place alongside recent fallen comrades WO2 Gaz O'Donnell GM + Bar and Captain Dan Shepherd. "SSgt Schmid stood proud amongst some formidable men serving here in Afghanistan; the tag 'legend' is frequently bestowed nowadays but in his case it is rightly justified - SSgt Schmid was a legend. "His courage was not displayed in a fleeting moment of time; he stared death in the face on a daily basis. Many soldiers and ordinary Afghans owe their lives to SSgt Schmid's gallant actions and his sacrifice will never be forgotten." Lt Col Nicholas Kitson, Commanding Officer 3 RIFLES Battle Group said: "The minute I met SSgt Schmid only a few weeks ago on a heli pad with my predecessor here, CO 2 RIFLES, it was clear that he was a legendary figure. "Full of boundless energy and humour, loved and respected by all, he was both our greatest source of morale back in the FOB and our most precious military asset in the deadly cat and mouse game we play daily with the insurgent bombers. "He exuded confidence and professionalism but was self-effacing and modest in the extreme, always ready to make fun of himself and have a laugh with all around him. "He is this Battle Group's first loss and although he has been with us (or more accurately we with him) only a few weeks, it is the most painful of first blows. "He has saved many lives and he made the ultimate sacrifice doing just that. He will be impossible to forget and will be sorely missed by all. He will, though, remain an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family; we share their grief." Major Tim Gould QGM RLC, Officer Commanding Joint Force EOD Group said: "SSgt Oz Schmid was a man of extreme courage who revelled in this the most challenging and dangerous of environments. "To see him out here in Afghanistan was to view a man very much in his element; he simply loved what he did, in fact, you would swear that he was born for it. "An enigma when I met him; a pleasure to have known him; an honour to have served with him; a travesty to lose him. "A superlative individual, a soldier of the very highest calibre, who will be deeply missed. In all my time in the Army, I have never met, nor am I ever likely to meet a man like SSgt Schmid again; he truly was a once in a generation phenomenon." SSgt Shaun Marsh, Royal Engineer Search Advisor said: "Oz was a very professional person, both with work and socialising aspects. He loved his job and has been operating for four months in Afghanistan, all over the province including on Panchai Palang. "My team and I have been working with him for two months now. He was an inspiration to the team; full of knowledge and mostly his bubbly charisma and sense of humour. "Oz was bubbly all the time, from first light to last light. He loved working with 2 & 3 RIFLES for their professionalism and also enjoyed working in the Sangin area.  "He will be missed by us all and many others. Our thoughts go to his wife and son and family. God let him rest in peace."

[ Captain Daniel Read ]

Captain Daniel Read from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, part of the Counter-IED Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 11 January 2010. Captain Daniel Read was killed as a result of an explosion which happened in the Musa Qaleh area of northern Helmand province. Captain Dan Read deployed on Operation HERRICK 11 as a High Threat Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Disposal Operator. He was born in Kent in December 1978 and was 31 years old when he was tragically killed in an IED blast whilst he was on task supporting Battle  Group (North West). Having completed his GCSEs at Rainham Mark Grammar School, Captain Read joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1996 as a Sapper. He was posted to 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) and got his first taste of EOD operations on Op FINGAL in 2002 when he deployed as a Search Team Second-in-Command. From this point on, Captain Read was 'hooked' on EOD and knew the only job for him was that of an Ammunition Technical Officer or 'ATO'. When he returned from the tour, Captain Read applied for a commission in the Royal Logistic Corps; he was successful and he completed his course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in December 2004. Captain Read was commissioned into the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) and was posted to 23 Pioneer Regiment RLC as a Troop Commander in April 2005. Typically, he could not sit still and his zest and enthusiasm inspired him to complete the All Arms Commando Course and a tour of Afghanistan in 2006. Captain Read's passion for EOD operations had not deteriorated and at the first opportunity he volunteered for the Ammunition Technical Officers' Course which he completed in May 2008 and was posted to 821 EOD Squadron, 11 EOD Regiment RLC. In August 2009 he passed the high threat operator course and immediately began the pre-deployment training for Op HERRICK 11. Captain Read was an experienced operator. He attended 21 tasks in Afghanistan, and had already dealt with 32 IEDs. Captain Read was passionate about his role as a High Threat Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Operator, always displaying a boundless enthusiasm and energy for the tasks he undertook. Captain Read leaves his wife Lorraine, parents and sisters behind. Our thoughts and prayers will hopefully provide some solace at this time and help them through this tragic loss.

[ Dan ]

Captain Read's widow, Mrs Lorraine (known as 'Lou') Read, has made the following statement: "Dan was so brave, he was my hero and best friend, he was a loving husband, son, brother, uncle and friend. He will never be forgotten and always in my heart. I'm so proud and privileged to have been your wife." He was killed three months after being injured in another blast.  ... "When he returned he felt guilty for leaving the lads." ... She said "brave, gorgeous Dan" was "intelligent, hilarious and loving". "He was such a wonderful husband. He was my protector," she said. "He was a true gent and would do anything for anyone." Lorraine Read, of Newquay, Cornwall, said: "My soul-mate has been taken from me."

[ Lorraine  & Dan ]

Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex RLC, Commanding Officer, Counter-IED Task Force and 11 EOD Regiment RLC, said: "Dan Read was filled with a zest for life, and I found him instantly likeable when I first met him in November 2008. He epitomised the values of selfless commitment, loyalty and deep-seated courage. "Such was his professionalism and determination that even an injury sustained in a bomb blast in October 2009 could not keep him away for more than two months and he returned to theatre in December 2009 as soon as his injuries were healed. "Despite the inherent dangers, Dan was determined to return to Afghanistan; he had a job to finish and a team to rejoin. My thoughts go out to  Lou, his wife, who was Dan's rock. "His return after injury is but one example that could be used to illustrate Dan's tremendous physical and mental courage, but for those who knew him you simply had to see the cheeky grin or hear him say 'no dramas' in the face of a daunting task to know that nothing could faze him. "A natural leader, Dan was well respected and held in deep affection by his men. He led by example, loved working in the close-knit community that is typical of the improvised explosive device disposal [IEDD] teams, and would have done anything for his men. "He relished his role as an IEDD operator and was very proud to have reached the pinnacle that is denoted by 'high threat' status. Dan will always be remembered for his buoyant character, infectious sense of humour and love for a social gathering. "He made the ultimate sacrifice, but his actions have saved countless numbers of the lives of both his fellow soldiers and the Afghans whom he fought to protect. "In ridding Helmand province of the indiscriminate threat of these explosive devices he has served a noble cause and we are inspired by his incredible bravery and personal example. "I am proud and honoured to have been the Commanding Officer of a man of Dan's calibre. His death will not be in vain; we will see to that." Lieutenant Colonel Harry Fullerton, Commanding Officer Battle Group (North West), said: "This has been a tragic day. Words cannot express how we all feel. Captain Dan Read had become, in a short space of time, a trusted comrade and friend, who we had so much respect for and had so very much relied on. "Dan was a brave officer, who died doing a very dangerous and complex job. He loved his profession and he knew the risks that he took on a daily basis. Without his expertise in countering the IED threat, all the gains we have made recently would have been impossible. "His death has come as a shock to me, to his IEDD team and all soldiers serving here in the Household Cavalry Battle Group. I and many others had been working closely with Dan over the past few days to clear insurgents out of Musa Qaleh. "He had dealt with many numbers of IEDs, rendering them safe in a calm and professional manner. Dan never showed any fear, just a clear focus on his job and a dedication to duty that few outside the ATO profession can equal. "We will all miss him and I salute a hero and a very brave young man. Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this most difficult time." Major Tim Gould QGM RLC, Officer Commanding Joint Force EOD Group, said: "Dan was a driven young officer who was motivated by his desire to be an Ammunition Technical Officer, an Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Officer. "He understood and faced the many challenges involved in undertaking his chosen career path and knew that operating in Afghanistan would be the pinnacle of his professional career in this the most hazardous of fields. "Dan was very much a soldiers' officer; he was both loved and adored by his men, he simply understood them well and as such was their greatest champion. "An officer committed to duty, to the soldiers that served alongside him and to the task of saving lives by eradicating the explosive hazard in Helmand. "It is an honour to say that I served alongside a man of such courage, dedication and selfless commitment as Captain Dan Read. "Our hearts are saddened and spirits are dampened by the sad loss of a valued and valiant comrade and yet our resolve in the Task Force is strengthened for the task in hand; we will not allow his death to be in vain." Captain Gareth Bateman, Royal Engineers, Second-in-Command Joint Force EOD Group, said: "From the first moment I met Dan it was evident that he had an utterly infectious sense of humour. Remarkably he could switch in an instant to give total concentration to the task at hand but the occasional quip or flash of his grin reminded you of the character within. "Soldiers understand what it means to be courageous and Dan epitomised this most incredible quality. Lesser men would have opted for the easy option and stayed at home after being injured but Dan had a task to finish, a team to lead and a battle that he wanted to continue fighting. "Dan gave his life playing his part in trying to rid this country of the indiscriminate threat of IEDs. He was totally selfless to the end. In his memory, and using his sacrifice as our inspiration, we will push on in our task. Our thoughts are with his wife and family as they face this most difficult time." Warrant Officer Class 1 Sandy Little, Senior Ammunition Technician, Joint Force EOD Group, said: "Although the first time I met Dan was just a little over two years ago it seems as if I have known him for years. He revelled in all the pre-deployment training and in particular returning to Dartmoor, the home of his green beret that he so treasured. "His drive and enthusiasm was second-to-none, this was demonstrated by the fact he overcame all the hurdles placed in his way to return to theatre after an injury from a contact IED. Dan you will be sorely missed but you will never be forgotten, all our thoughts go to Lou and your family." Captain Martin Birch Hansen, Officer Commanding Engineer Detachment, Danish Battle Group, said: "It was with a sad heart that I today realised that another one of our dedicated colleagues had sacrificed his life in our joint struggle against the IED threat. I knew Dan quite well. "He and his Royal Engineer Search Advisor helped pave the road to a fruitful co-operation between the Joint Force EOD Group team and the Danish Battle Group. After his injury, I was not surprised when I was told that Dan had re-entered theatre after his recuperation. "That was him exactly - not choosing the easy way. He had a job to finish. I will always remember his serious approach to the job in front of him  and his humorous approach to just about everything else. "The way he would say 'no dramas' created an ethos of determination here that has not been forgotten. On behalf of the Danish Engineer  Detachment in DABG, I send my compassion and thoughts to Dan's family, teammates and friends. 'We will remember them'." Corporal Dan King, Corporal Andy Stockdale and Private Stephan Cross, IEDD 6, 'Team Illume', said: "Captain Dan Read was much more than just our Boss and our Operator, he was our friend. He was always there with a willing ear for us to unload all our problems on and he always managed to turn them into a joke and have us in stitches, forgetting our troubles in minutes. "To come back after his injury was inspiring and though he would never have admitted it, we knew he had fought to come back to make sure we were all right. "Captain Read is one of those men who are truly irreplaceable. He will be missed so much more than any words can say. He will always live on in  our hearts."

[ Staff Sergeant Brett George Linley ]

Staff Sergeant Brett George Linley, from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 17 July 2010. Staff Sergeant Linley, serving with the Counter-IED Task Force in support of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), was killed in an explosion during a counter-IED operation in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand province. Staff Sergeant Brett George Linley was 29 years old and from Birmingham. He enlisted into the Royal Logistics Corps in March 2001 and qualified as an Ammunition Technician in September 2002. Over the next eight years, Staff Sergeant Linley trained for several Counter-IED roles and most recently in March 2010, qualified as a High Threat IEDD Operator. Over this time he perfected his bomb disposal skills whilst deployed on three separate tours of duty in Northern Ireland, working closely with the Police Service of Northern Ireland. He also deployed in the Ammunition Technician role to the Falklands Islands and Canada. In late March 2010, Staff Sergeant Linley deployed with his IEDD team on Operation HERRICK to Afghanistan and conducted dozens of IED clearances across Helmand province.  On 17 July 2010, Staff Sergeant Linley and his team were working in support of Combined Force Nahr-e-Saraj (South) to clear IEDs from a major route when sadly he died following an IED explosion. The security of this route is vital to the freedom of manoeuvre, and as such, is a major priority in that area. There is no doubt that during his tour of duty in Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Linley's actions have saved many lives, both Afghan and British, and his death is a tragic loss to his unit, his family and his friends. Staff Sergeant Linley is survived by his partner and his parents.


Lieutenant Colonel David Southall MBE Royal Engineers, Commanding Officer Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, said: "Staff Sergeant Brett Linley was a man of courage and composure - his loss has shaken us all. He qualified earlier this year as a High Threat IED Operator, motivated by a simple desire to save life and play his part in Afghanistan. "I will remember his calm, considered manner and, as one of life's grafters, his professionalism was meticulous; 'If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right' he'd tell his boys, both in training and on task. Brett faced the IED threat daily, but despite the risk, his heroism was without fuss or fanfare – such quiet and unassuming modesty endeared him to all. "Brett leaves behind his partner and parents, whose grief we share. In this confused and turbulent world, I will miss his measured voice of reason and clarity of thought; it leaves a void we struggle to fill." Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland MBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battlegroup, Combined Forces Nahr-e-Saraj (South), said: "The loss of Staff Sergeant Brett Linley has touched us all in this battle group. He had worked with us for most of the last three months through testing times. I have a vivid memory of him which I think captures everything that was good and courageous about him. "After a soldier had been killed in an IED strike, Staff Sergeant Linley went forward to clear the area so that the soldier's personal effects could be recovered. I sat fifty metres away as the sun dipped in the sky watching his lone figure edging down a wood line, step by painstaking step. In the space of an hour, on his own, he found three more IEDs. "There was no fanfare, he simply dealt with each device, and then silently moved on to the next. He did much more for us, both before and after this event, but it is a mark of the man that he was ever calm, utterly professional, and never made a fuss. "He was a true hero who knew the risks of his job, but never hesitated to step forward into danger. I will miss his wise advice greatly. We mourn his loss, and grieve for his family." Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, Commanding Officer 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, said: "Once again our regiment has been shaken by the news of this latest operational death and my heartfelt condolences go out to Staff Sergeant Brett Linley's parents, partner and friends. Staff Sergeant Linley was an exceptional man; modest and unassuming, he took immense pride in his work and was remarkable at what he did. "Never one to take life too seriously, he was always the source of a witty comment to break the ice or defuse a tricky situation. He was immensely proud of his Midlands heritage, Birmingham City Football Club and his broad 'brummie' accent, dry humour and outgoing manner ensured that all who met him instantly felt at ease and couldn't help become a friend. "Latterly he took immense pride in becoming a High Threat IEDD operator and was keen to deploy to Afghanistan; his motivation was quite simply to save lives. In a traditional sense he might not have looked the part and was often 'fashionably' scruffy but he would have walked through fire for his team to get them home safe. "Throughout his career he collected close friends wherever he served; an inspiration to all those who met him and an incomparable Ammunition Technician his loss is an enormous blow to us all." Major David Croall, Officer Commanding Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, said: "Today is a tragic day: the death of Staff Sergeant Brett Linley has come as a heavy blow to the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, part of the Counter-IED Task Force. "We are devastated that another exceptional man has been lost in the prime of his life and send our heartfelt condolences to his girlfriend, parents, the men and women of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, and his wider family and friends. "Brett Linley was a very amiable man whose calmness and self-effacing manner belied his inner strength and absolute courageousness. I  personally will also remember him for his graciousness, chattiness and mischievous grin. He was utterly dedicated to his perilous job and simply radiated quiet professionalism. "A remarkably strong member of any team, he was wholeheartedly enthusiastic and a very thoughtful mentor to those less experienced. "I can only hope that all that knew him may find some comfort in the knowledge that he died in the conduct of a noble and vital cause. We in our tight-knit Group will continue the fight to reduce the threat from Improvised Explosive Devices, but we will not forget him and are ourselves consoled by the privilege of having known, and worked with, such a fine soldier and man." Captain Robert Durnford, Second-in-Command Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, said: "The Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group has sadly lost another of its number in Staff Sergeant Brett Linley. Born in Solihull, Birmingham, he deployed as part of the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group in March 2010 and was killed in action on 17 July 2010 at the age of 29. "Staff Sergeant Linley was an extremely capable soldier who was a credit to his trade. As an Ammunition Technical Officer he was frequently called upon to deal with Improvised Explosive Devices, and he did this with immense professionalism. "Having only taken over at the start of May, I was instantly struck by his work ethic and his easy going manner. He always took the time to talk to people and in several instances I was grateful for both his experience and his advice, something which I wasn't alone in benefitting from. He inspired confidence in those around him and his loss is felt throughout the Group. "Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with his partner, his parents, his brother, his sister and the rest of his family and friends." Major Karl Frankland, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, said: "I first met Brett on the High Threat Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Operators course back in January. We shared a bay together which afforded me the opportunity to quickly get to know him. It was immediately apparent that, along with Staff Sergeant 'Jonno' Johnston, I had found myself amongst true team players who were determined to get each other through, and we did. "I never knew Brett before the start of the course but he made me feel welcome and treated me like we had been mates for years. He was an incredibly friendly and considerate man who displayed a level of meticulous professionalism that was in the very best traditions of a Royal Logistic Corps Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Operator. "Though I never admitted it at the time, his attitude towards the course was a constant source of inspiration for me, as was his insistence that 'if it was worth doing, it was worth doing right'. I valued his opinions and support and learned constantly from his actions;  indeed, I have no doubt that his positive approach instilled greater confidence in all of us. "I was immediately struck by Brett's level headed approach and his ability to rally his team through calm leadership and clarity of thought. He carried this over into Afghanistan and was unsurprisingly well respected by both his team and all those he came into contact with. "Outside of work, he was a private man, big in heart and possessing a bubbly and wicked sense of humour which manifested itself during rare 'let your hair down' moments. He epitomised the 'work hard, play hard' ethos of the trade and was the best company. "Never one to sit back when questions needed asking, Brett was methodical, passionate and steadfastly determined, not just as an operator, but in everything he did. He tackled his training and subsequent deployment in the same manner, carefully, and with the safety of his team foremost in his mind. "He, like all of us, was aware of the nature of the task ahead but saw it as his duty to step up to the plate and be counted. He knew that, despite the politics surrounding the operation in Afghanistan, he was about to deploy for one reason – to save lives and to lessen the burden of his comrades already embroiled in the task at hand. "Brett made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of a role that he valued and took pride in. His passing has been sudden and he is a great loss, but we reflect fondly from this moment on the life of this great man who will not be forgotten."  Warrant Officer Class 1 Marcus Dewstowe, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, said: "I can honestly say that Brett's sacrifice will never be forgotten by me, his friends, his Squadron, his Regiment and the Ammunition Technician family as a whole. "There is nothing that we can ever say to make the loss to his family, his partner, or all who knew him, any easier. To his regimental family the loss is immense. His selfless commitment, modest yet humorous courage and friendship will never be forgotten." Staff Sergeant Gareth Wood, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, said: "Brett was a great big teddy bear of a man; you just wanted to cuddle him all the time, which on our recent High Threat Improvised Explosive Device Disposal course I did on many occasions in the bar. He would bring us the most awful fruit I have ever tasted which he had proudly grown in his orchard. "Brett was a lover not a fighter but was as brave and determined as they come. He leaves a big hole in my life and leaves that trade a worse place. My heart goes out to his partner and his parents whose loss is much keener felt than ours. "Rest in Peace mate. Look after him Oz." Staff Sergeant Ian Johnston, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, said: "Brett was inspirational with an easy going manner. Everyone that he met would soon call him a friend. True friends like him do not come around everyday, the type of person that would drive fifty miles out of his way to ensure a promise is kept. "Always on hand to assist a friend, he was confident and a natural leader of men. The trade has lost one of its finest; who can never be replaced. Courageous to the last, the long walk was a task undertaken, for which he wanted no thanks. "It breaks my heart to say friend, sleep well. I hope one day we will meet again." Cpl Andrew Harrison, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, said: "Every time we set foot on the ground with Brett leading the way, we knew we were in safe hands. Always putting his team's safety first, he never left anything to chance. His passion for the job could be seen throughout every task he performed and he was always keen to do as much as possible to help. "Always first to crack a joke and raise a smile, he was an inspirational man to work with and it has been a privilege to serve alongside him. He shall never be forgotten." Cpl Sarah Kain, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, said: "One of the nicest men to grace this planet. Such a selfless, courageous gentleman. Every task with Brett was a pleasure, and every bit of down-time a barrel of laughs. "An absolute top bloke who will be missed tremendously. Rest in Peace Brett."