Special Boat Service - Special Forces Special Reconnaissance Regiment Special Forces Support Group (SFSG)

Two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan 27 Jun 2006

Sergeant Paul Bartlett

[ Special Boat Service ]

[ Special Reconnaissance Regiment ]

Captain David Patton (Left above) of the Parachute Regiment was born on 12 Sept 1967.  Sergeant Paul Bartlett (Right above) Royal Marines was born on 3 March 1971.

Blair tribute to soldiers killed in Afghanistan  Tony Blair led tributes in the House of Commons yesterday to the two British special forces' soldiers killed on Tuesday in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan. The men are believed to have been a member of the Royal Marines' Special Boat Service and a Captain from the army's new Special Reconnaissance Regiment. The Prime Minister invited the Commons to join him in sending condolences and sympathy to their families and said the country could be "very proud" of the work they were doing. The SBS is the naval "sister service" of the SAS and has just 232 men in its four operational squadrons. About half are trained for land missions, specialising in close reconnaissance and demolition. 'By Strength And Guile' The SRR is composed of volunteers from all regiments and has a core of soldiers with experience of undercover work in Northern Ireland and the Balkans. A third unit, the new Special Forces Support Group, is also understood to have been deployed to Afghanistan only two months after being formed from a mix of Parachute Regiment, Royal Marines and RAF Regiment personnel. All of the covert units come under the command of director, special forces, who answers directly to Downing Street and the Cabinet's Cobra emergency committee. The SBS has been used in land operations in Bosnia and Iraq in recent years to relieve overstretch on the SAS.  The two special forces men who died in Afghanistan were hit when their patrol was returning under cover of darkness to a forward base in the Taliban refuge of the Sangin Valley in northern Helmand province. When the 12-man patrol came under attack, the soldiers took up defensive positions to return fire. Both fatalities and the wounding of a third trooper happened as they fought off insurgents Maneuvering to overrun their position.

Captain David Patton Mourners told of slain soldier's commitment  A Northern Ireland soldier killed in Afghanistan was totally committed to his job, mourners today (6th July 2006) heard. Hundreds of friends and family packed into Portstewart Baptist Church in Co Derry to hear Captain David Patton’s former minister Val English pay tribute to the 38-year-old father of one, killed during fierce fighting in Sangin Town, in the southern Helmand province. Capt Patton is survived by his wife, Paula, and a 14-month-old daughter. The Aghadowey man, killed on Tuesday, June 27, was serving with the special forces at the time, although attached to the Parachute Regiment, and died along with a Royal Marine soldier when fighting flared after a rocket-propelled grenade destroyed a vehicle. Mourners began arriving at the church on the outskirts of Portstewart over an hour before today’s 2pm service and they included East Derry MP Gregory Campbell, from the Democratic Unionist Party. The former General Officer Commanding in Northern Ireland, Sir Phillip Trouesdell, was among former and serving military figures who attended. An Uilleann-piper played as a 14-strong guard of honour from the Royal Irish Regiment 1st Battalion stood outside the church as people arrived. Also among the mourners was Coleraine Councillor Norman Hillis.

The coffin draped in a Union flag with military medals and a belt belonging to Mr Patton on top of his coffin. A floral tribute that said ‘Dad’ was also carried in the hearse which was followed from the family home in Aghadowey by a silver BMW and a black Volvo containing friends and family.

His coffin was carried by members of the 1st Battalion, RIR

He (Captain David Patton) started his career with the Royal Irish Rangers in Germany. He was laid to rest next to his father, Terry, who was a major in the former Ulster Defence Regiment.

Reggie McCay, his music teacher and pastoral head, paid tribute to his former pupil. Mr Patton attended Limavady High School between 1979 and 1984, along with his brother, Terry. “He and his brother were two super chaps. We were so proud of them. It was just so sad to hear of David’s death,” he said. “He was always in the right place at the right time and he was utterly reliable. “He was a model pupil, an excellent student. He showed great determination and whatever he started, finished.”

[ Lance Corporal Michael Jones ]

[ Special Boat Service ]

To read more about the "Special Boat Service" click here

Lance Corporal Michael Jones Royal Marines (SBS) killed during operations in southern Afghanistan on Sunday 29 July 2007. Lance Corporal Michael Jones RM  Lance Corporal Michael Jones RM was killed in action in Afghanistan on 29 July 2007, at the age of 26. Raised in Newbald, Yorkshire, he was born on 2 February 1981 and joined the Royal Marines aged 18 on 8 February 1999. Through eight years of meritorious service, he served on operations in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

His Commanding Officer said: "Michael was a truly exceptional Junior Non-Commissioned Officer, the best at his level, who unflinchingly stood, time after time, shoulder to shoulder with his friends in the very worst of conditions. It will be impossible to replace Michael. He will be remembered as a genuine and loyal friend whose selfless bravery whilst assaulting a formidable Taliban position is an example to us all." Michael was taking part in a special mission to root out insurgents in the Nimruz province in the south-west of the country. Michael Jones was a commando in the Special Boat Service (SBS). Three other SBS men were also wounded in Sunday’s gun battle. He was taking part in a special operation ordered by commanders to target a Taliban group who were planning to carry out attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

Please note that no more names will be added to this website of those killed on operations in Afghanistan for security reasons, it is also the wish of the families ... we will remember them in our own special way ... never forgotten ... Unless photos / information are in the public domain.

[ James Thompson ]

James Thompson killed in Afghanistan on 19 May James Thompson – the first SAS officer to be killed in Afghanistan He was patrolling on foot as part of operations in the Musa Qaleh area when he was caught in an explosion and tragically lost his life.  His family have released the following tribute to him:  "James Thompson was a loving son, brother and friend to many. His tragic and untimely death has devastated the family and touched all those who knew him. James was proud to be a soldier – he died doing the job that he loved and will be sadly missed by all.” His Commanding Officer said:  "James Thompson was a special individual. A professional and reliable soldier in every respect - we were all privileged to serve alongside James who excelled in all that he did. "His death has come as a great shock and he will be sadly missed by all his colleagues. Our thoughts are of course with his family, at this most difficult time."

THE funeral of a soldier from Whitley Bay who died while serving in Afghanistan took place at "St Mary the Virgin", Monkseaton. In his death notice, his parents Allen and Hilary Thompson, former owners of the Marlborough Hotel on the Whitley Bay seafront, stated: "Full of life and fun, a devastating loss but we are all so proud of him."

James, 27, of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside

A collection for the Headley Forces Rehabilitation Centre was taken at the church.

[ St Mary the Virgin, Monkseaton ]

Corporal Sarah Bryant of the Intelligence Corps, Corporal Sean Robert Reeve of the Royal Signals, Lance Corporal Richard Larkin and Paul Stout ((23 SAS-(TA)) killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 17 June 2008. All four soldiers were tragically killed while taking part in a deliberate operation east of Lashkar Gah when the vehicle in which they were travelling was caught in an explosion at approximately 1540hrs. Another soldier was wounded in the incident and is receiving treatment for his wounds at the UK Field Hospital at Camp Bastion. He is in a stable condition.

Statement from the family of Corporal Sean Robert Reeve, aged 28, Royal Signals: "A dearly loved son, brother, godparent, uncle, grandson, and friend, who was loving, loyal, honourable, selfless and gentle. A pillar of strength that all could turn to.

Sean’s professionalism and determination for all that he did was an inspiration to all that were fortunate to have known him. Taken from us but never forgotten."

Corporal Reeve was a member of the Royal Signals serving on attachment to 23 SAS.

[ Corporal Sean Robert Reeve ]

[ Lance Corporal Richard Larkin ]


It may come as a surprise to many that even the SAS, known to the world as the British armed force's crack team of elite soldiers, has a TA regiment attached to it. In fact, it has two – the Artists Rifles (21st) and the 23rd SAS regiment, in which the soldiers involved in the latest incident served. TA soldiers serving in the regiments are very highly regarded, with some placing their skills higher than many regular soldiers. The selection process is tough, and not far off that subjected on full-time SAS hopefuls. Men aged between 18 and 30 are free to apply (the age limit is extended for those with military experience). Then a series of mental and physical tests are used to highlight the cream of the crop. Training takes place just like other TA soldiers, over a series of weekends and camps. Lance corporal Larkin and Pte Stout were both married with children. They served with 23 SAS, one of two part-time SAS regiments fighting the Taliban.

Statement from the family of Lance Corporal Richard Larkin, aged 39: "Lance Corporal Richard Larkin was a beloved husband, father, son and brother whose tragic and untimely death will be deeply mourned by his family, friends and colleagues."

[ Paul Stout ]

Statement from the family of Paul Stout, aged 31: "Paul was a loving father and devoted husband. He was a wonderful son and brother and will be greatly missed by all his family and friends. Our lives will be changed forever by this lost."

[ Corporal Bolger ]

Corporal Bolger's family have released the following statement: "Stephen was a wonderful first born son, brother to two and friend to many; he was dearly loved and will be sorely missed. Stephen was always happy, caring and generous and we are sure that those fortunate enough to have known him will share in the loss we are now feeling. "We can take some comfort knowing that he died amongst friends, doing something he loved and believed in. We are all immensely proud of him.

[ Corporal Bolger ]

His Commanding Officer said:

"Stephen was, quite simply, an extraordinary man doing an extraordinary job. He embodied a life based on service to others, duty and self-sacrifice - the life of a soldier. He chose this life and lived it with a passion; he died prematurely, but he died doing what he loved. "He gave his all for his friends, for The Parachute Regiment and for the difficult task he faced. How privileged we are to have known this courageous and talented soldier and every member of the unit is very proud and deeply honoured to have served alongside him. "We think now about his family; our thoughts and prayers are with them, and in the silence of their lives we hope they will draw strength from the same memories we all share."

[ Corporal Kevin Mulligan, Lance Corporal Dale Thomas Hopkins and Private Kyle Adams ]

Corporal Kevin Mulligan, Lance Corporal Dale Thomas Hopkins and Private Kyle Adams were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 6 August 2009 ... they were part of the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) which was set up in April 2006 ... The three soldiers, all from The Parachute Regiment, were killed while undertaking a routine security patrol alongside Afghan National Security Forces to the north of Lashkar Gah when the Jackal vehicle they were travelling in was hit by an explosion, followed by a small arms fire attack.

[ Corporal Kevin Mulligan ]

Corporal Kevin Mulligan Corporal Mulligan was aged 26. His family paid the following tribute: "Kevin was the light and love in all our lives and he will always be close in our hearts."

The Commanding Officer said; "Corporal Kevin Mulligan was the epitome of a professional soldier; diligent, selfless, caring, with a profound sense of duty. A charismatic man with an irrepressible sense of humour, he was overwhelmingly popular and universally respected. An exceptional leader, he died how he led his life, at the forefront of his men.  "He gave his life for his comrades and for The Parachute Regiment, both of which were dear to him. We count ourselves privileged to have known this dedicated, brave soldier and every member of the Unit is proud and deeply honoured to have served alongside him. Our feelings are perhaps best encapsulated through the words of one of the private soldiers under Kevin's command, who said quite simply, that 'Corporal Mulligan was everything I aspire to become'.  "Our thoughts are with his family, his fiancée, and his unborn child at this incredibly difficult time. In the midst of their profound loss we hope that they can draw strength from the same fond memories we all share."

[ Lance Corporal Dale Thomas Hopkins  ]

Lance Corporal Dale Thomas Hopkins  Lance Corporal Hopkins was aged 23. His family paid the following tribute: "Dale was a loving son and brother. He was a determined, energetic man who loved life. We are so very proud of him and all that he achieved. "We are all devastated that such a wonderful and popular person is now missing from our lives. Dale will be sadly missed by his family, friends and colleagues." The Commanding Officer said: "Dale was an immensely proud, forthright and honest man who took an abiding joy in soldiering. An outstanding and utterly professional paratrooper, he readily embraced the self sacrifice, responsibility and dedication required of his profession. He died doing the job he so loved, alongside the comrades that meant so much to him. "He gave his life for his fellow comrades and for The Parachute Regiment. We are privileged to have counted such a brave, upright and professional soldier as one of our own, and every man in the Unit is proud and honoured to have served with him." "At this difficult time we think about Dale's family, to whom he was so dedicated. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and we hope that they can draw strength, as we do, from fond memories of an exceptional young man."

[ Private Kyle Adams ]

Private Adams was aged 21. His family said: "Before his deployment Private Adams said to his father. "Dad, I'm not a soldier. I'm a Para." His Father paid the following tribute. "He was a loving: Son, Brother, Uncle, Nephew, Grandson, and Boyfriend. He was the life and soul of any party. He has left a big hole and he will be sorely missed." The Commanding Officer said; "Private Kyle Adams was an undemonstrative, yet utterly professional soldier. Always ready for the next challenge, he was a real team player, and indeed was a talented sportsman. "The focus, selflessness and responsibility required of his profession came naturally to him. He died doing the work he loved, alongside the comrades who held him in such high regard. "He gave his life for his fellow comrades and The Parachute Regiment. We who served with him are privileged and honoured to have known such a brave, committed and enthusiastic young soldier. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kyle's family at this incredibly difficult time. We hope that the fond memories of an inspiring young man can in some way help them, as they do us."

[ Corporal John Harrison ]

A Special Forces commando killed during the rescue of a New York Times journalist kidnapped in Afghanistan was formally identified.  Corporal John Harrison, from the Parachute Regiment, was killed (Wednesday 9th September 2009) during the operation to free Stephen Farrell, formerly of The Times. He was killed along with another Afghan civilian. In a statement tonight, Cpl Harrison’s family said they were "absolutely heartbroken", adding: "John was a wonderful son, brother and a dedicated soldier who was greatly loved and cherished by all his family and friends.”  His commanding officer, whose name was not released by the Ministry of Defence due to the special forces role of the unit, described him as “a tower of strength” and “a remarkable man”. “Cpl John Harrison was an immensely capable, self- effacing and highly likeable soldier with an irrepressible humour," he said. “His hallmark was an undemonstrative, yet profound, professionalism; he cared deeply about his work, and more deeply still about those he commanded and served alongside. "He was an unflinching and inspirational man with a deep, deep pool of courage, who died as he lived - at the forefront of his men. He gave his life for his comrades and the Parachute Regiment, both of which meant so much to him. “Although his passing is a sad day for us, every member of the unit counts themselves privileged to have known such a tower of strength and we all are deeply honoured to have served alongside him.”

"Our thoughts and prayers now turn to his family and friends at this most difficult time. We hope that in the midst of their profound loss, they can draw strength from the fond memories that we all share of this remarkable man."

The C. Coy Standard from 1 Para Reunion Club was in attendance, along with 4 PRA Standards and a RBL Standard. The C. Coy Standard was carried by Bill Donaldson who once again was outstanding in his bearing and manner and who took charge of the other Standards with the Reunion Club Standard leading the way. Bill Donaldson, Iain Reed, John McAleese and myself were present along with Kenny Watt a Falklands Vet from 3 Para. in Total 60 ex Paras were in attendance lining the route to and from the Church. The most moving tribute came from the RAF when a C130 flew over the grave at 300ft while the 2 minutes silence was being observed. Once again the firing party nearly gave me a heart attack (Was I the only one who jumped when they opened fire) ????? A full military funeral was held for this brave lad from C. Coy 1 Para. A poppy cross was laid on behalf of the C. Coy Reunion Club on his grave. Below is the text from the local paper. Twin brother pays tribute at funeral of Scottish paratrooper killed in raid to free journalist ... 30th September 2009 By Chris Musson THE twin brother of hero Scots Para John Harrison fought back tears at his funeral yesterday as he described their unbreakable bond. Alan Harrison told mourners: "John always led the way. Sometimes, it was as much like having an older brother as having a twin. "He will be so well remembered by everyone for his huge personality." John, a 29-year-old corporal, was killed in northern Afghanistan on September 9 as he helped rescue a kidnapped British journalist. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the Special Forces troops on the operation had shown "breathtaking heroism". Alan led the tributes to John yesterday at the Old Parish Church in the family's home town of East Kilbride. He told the 400 mourners, including many of John's comrades, that his brother's dreams came true when he joined the Parachute Regiment. Alan said John had always wanted to be a soldier. He added: "There was one regiment in particular which really appealed to him - the Paras. "I think if John could have taken selection at 14, he probably would have. He just knew that it was the life for him. "I admire him for the way he turned his childhood ambition into reality, something not many of us get the chance to do." Alan thanked John for leaving him a lifetime of memories. And he remembered his brother as a "physically imposing" man who was also kind and intelligent. "He always had an opinion," Alan said. Locals in the Lanarkshire town came out of shops and workplaces to pay their respects as John's coffin was driven to the church. Six Paras carried his body inside as the Dire Straits ballad Brothers In Arms was played. John's best friend also spoke at the service and described him as "the epitome of a paratrooper in every sense of the world". The soldier, who cannot be named for security reasons because he serves with the special forces, added: "Words like 'professionalism', 'courageous' and 'heroic' were not enough for John. "He once said to me, 'Never ask somebody to do something you wouldn't do yourself.' These are words which show just how great John was. "The one comfort I can take from his loss is that he died saving someone else." John was buried in a private ceremony at Philipshill Cemetery in East Kilbride. Alan comforted his mum Elizabeth, 58, and dad Alan, 59, after the service. John was shot and killed as his unit joined Special Boat Service troops on the night raid to free reporter Stephen Farrell. He was serving with the Special Forces Support Group, who provide backup for the SBS commandos. Farrell, a 46-year-old with dual British and Irish citizenship, was freed unharmed but his Afghan interpreter, Sultan Munadi, 34, was killed. The British troops killed an estimated 48 Taliban fighters. New York Times reporter Farrell had gone into Taliban territory to investigate reports that a NATO air strike had killed 80 civilians. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he went against "very strong advice" that the area where he was kidnapped was "extremely dangerous". Farrell was criticised in some quarters for putting British troops at risk in the operation to free him but he insisted he made the right decision by going into the danger zone. He admitted, however, that there was nothing he could do to make up for John's loss. He wrote on his blog: "I thanked everyone who was still alive to thank. It wasn't, and never will be, enough." John's family said after his death: "We are absolutely heartbroken. John was a wonderful son and brother and a dedicated soldier who was greatly loved and cherished by all his family and friends." The dead man's commanding officer, who can't be named, described him as "a tower of strength" and "an unflinching, inspirational man". Albert (secretary CCRC)

[ Sergeant Lee Andrew Houltram, ]

[ Special Boat Service ]

Sergeant Lee Andrew Houltram, Royal Marines, killed in Afghanistan on 29 August 2009. Sergeant Houltram died following an explosion whilst on a foot patrol near Gereshk in Helmand province. A spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, said at the time of his death: "This Marine gave his life for his country and the freedom of the Afghan people; there is no greater sacrifice than this." he was from Cowie, Stirlingshire and awarded QCVS 2007-08

[ Lance Corporal Tommy Brown ]

Bomb killed Special Forces paratrooper in Afghanistan it has emerged, as a paratrooper serving alongside Special Forces was named as the most recent British casualty to die in Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Tommy Brown, from 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment, was on foot patrol with Afghan troops when he was killed by a suspected improvised explosive device near Sangin on Tuesday (22 Dec 2009). His age and home town were not released by the Ministry of Defence, in line with government policy.  “Lance Corporal Tommy Brown was a dynamic, optimistic and talented soldier and sportsman for whom no challenge was too great," the MoD said in a statement. “He relished responsibility, and was never found wanting. In all that he did, he displayed the easy confidence of a natural leader. “His cheeky grin and easy wit were never far from the surface, especially when things were tough. He died as he lived, leading from the front - the only place that someone like Tommy knew.” It was understood that L/Cpl Brown belonged to the Special Forces Support Group, which was formed in April 2006 to assist the SAS and Special Boat Service on operations.  A regimental spokesman said: “He gave his life for his comrades and the Parachute Regiment, both of which meant so much to him. “His passing is a sad day for us, but every member of the unit is privileged to have known such a likeable, grounded and utterly professional man. We are deeply honoured to have served alongside him.”

The Ministry of Defence announced only that a Royal Marine had died yesterday (Thursday 1 July 2010.) but the Guardian can reveal that he was a member of the Special Boat Service (SBS).

[ Special Boat Service ]

[ Special Reconnaissance Regiment ]

Corporal Matthew Thomas, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was killed in the Garmsir district of Helmand province on Saturday 25 September 2010. Corporal Thomas was killed when the vehicle he was driving was struck by an improvised explosive device. His family has been informed.

A spokesperson for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers said:

"Corporal Matthew Thomas was an intelligent, dedicated and courageous man whose all-round professionalism as a soldier, excellence as a sportsman, and deep, deep competence as a mechanical engineer were widely respected and admired. "Though still a young man he was a natural leader, setting the highest standards, showing enormous moral strength, and nurturing those under his command at every turn. His ready smile, natural exuberance and 'can do' attitude were much prized by all with whom he worked, and were testament to how he loved his profession. "He revelled in the responsibility, challenges and opportunities presented to him as a vehicle mechanic on operations in Afghanistan. And for their part the troops whom he supported so ably wholeheartedly embraced 'Tommo', as he was fondly called. "He died alongside these comrades, with whom such a bond had been built and who meant so much to him. His passing is a sad day for us but we must count ourselves privileged to have served with such a talented, rounded and inspirational man. "Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. We hope that in the midst of their terrible loss they can draw strength, as we do, from fond memories of a remarkable sportsman, soldier, mechanic and leader.