The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment

2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border)

 


[ Kingsman Jason Dunn-Bridgeman ]

Wikipedia

MOD

Kingsman Jason Dunn-Bridgeman killed in Afghanistan, he served with the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in southern Afghanistan on 13 September 2009. Kingsman Dunn-Bridgeman, aged 20, died after his platoon became locked in an exchange of fire with the enemy during a foot patrol in the Babaji district of Helmand province. He received a gunshot wound to the neck and, despite every endeavour made by those around him to save his life, died of his wounds. Born on 6 December 1988 in Liverpool, Kingsman Dunn-Bridgeman joined Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (the 'Lions of England'), in May 2008 after attending the Infantry Training School in Catterick. Despite breaking his leg during training, he made a full recovery and completed the demanding course with merit. Having achieved the rank of Army Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major in his youth, he very quickly settled into the routine of being a soldier in barracks in the UK before moving with his battalion to Episkopi in Cyprus in August 2008. Being part of the Resident Infantry Battalion based in the west of Cyprus, he took part in a number of challenging exercises as well as carrying out essential security duties on the island. By the spring he had begun his pre-deployment training in earnest, in preparation for the Lions' new role as Theatre Reserve Battalion - essentially a rapid reaction force which could be called forward at any time. Following an intense period of training conducted both in the arid conditions of Cyprus and in new facilities in the UK, Kgn Dunn-Bridgeman volunteered to move across to Blenheim Company, who were the spearhead force for any possible deployment. He put himself forward, knowing well that he would be amongst the first to deploy to Afghanistan should the need arise. Just hours after he had moved his personal effects across, Blenheim Company were deployed to Helmand province to bolster The Light Dragoons Battle Group in the area of Babaji. Kgn Dunn-Bridgeman, known almost universally as 'Dunny', was described by friends and colleagues as popular, friendly, quick-witted and selfless. He loved life and lived for new experiences, as reflected by his passionate interest in adventure training. Whilst in Cyprus he attended courses in both parachuting and paragliding, taking as naturally to the sky as he did to the slopes of Bavaria when he was selected for the battalion skiing team. Such was his verve for outdoor pursuits he talked often of being an adventure training or skiing instructor when he eventually left the Army. His passion for adventure fuelled his professionalism as a soldier, which rapidly earned him the respect of his peers and his superiors. Deploying to Afghanistan with Blenheim Company, Kgn Dunn-Bridgeman quickly found himself on a pivotal mission into the heart of Babaji, an area which experienced some of the most fearsome fighting during the summer's Operation PANCHAI PALANG offensive. Kgn Dunn-Bridgeman's principal role within his platoon was as a member of the four-man clearance team at the forefront of every patrol. These men, using mine-detecting equipment and specialist drills, regularly put themselves in harm's way in order to find insurgent-laid improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It is a measure of the calibre of Kingsman Dunn-Bridgeman that he was selected to do this demanding job. When there was fighting to be done as well, he was also at the fore. Between operations he raised spirits with his banter and easy humour. He fought the same way he approached life, with verve and fearlessness. A dedicated soldier and loyal friend, Kingsman Dunn-Bridgeman will be sorely missed, not least by his mother Tracey, who has lost a treasured son. Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, said: "Kingsman Jason Dunn-Bridgeman was an immensely popular member of Arnhem Company who had volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan early to serve with Blenheim Company. He latterly demonstrated courage under fire several times with Blenheim Company. "A real character who was extremely popular, he will be sadly missed by his friends who are about to deploy from Cyprus and also by his comrades whom he fought alongside in Afghanistan. England - as well as the Battalion - has lost a lion." Lieutenant Colonel Gus Fair, Officer Commanding The Light Dragoons Battle Group to which Kgn Dunn-Bridgeman was attached, said: "Kingsman Jason Dunn-Bridgeman's tragic death has had a profound effect on his company and the Battle Group as a whole. A young and gifted soldier, it was clear that he had a promising future ahead of him. Never one to shy away from hard work, he demonstrated a strong sense of duty and perseverance in everything he did. The ease of his adjustment to both joining the platoon and his deployment at short notice on this operational tour is testament to his character and professionalism as a devoted, loyal and trustworthy soldier. "The loss of this remarkable and charismatic soldier has been felt poignantly throughout the Battle Group but in particular by his platoon. Our thoughts and  prayers are with his family and his friends at this very difficult time." Major George Maund, Officer Commanding Blenheim Company, said: "Kingsman Jason Dunn-Bridgeman's death on Sunday 13 September 2009 is a tragic loss to Blenheim Company. "Dunny was a fiercely loyal and dedicated soldier and an utterly selfless person. He epitomised all characteristics of a Kingsman, and it was typical of him that he should volunteer for this deployment from another company. He was an intelligent, bright young man and a gifted soldier who loved his job. "Blessed with a great sense of humour, he had a permanently positive outlook on life and was a great source of morale to all the lads. "Although still in the early stages of his military career, he had shown great promise and was a natural soldier and infantryman. His life and career have  been cut short but we take comfort in the knowledge that he died doing what he loved. "We that knew him have been blessed and privileged to have served alongside him. As a friend and a comrade he will be sorely missed." 2nd Lieutenant Ben Collier, 4 Platoon Commander, said: "Kingsman Dunn-Bridgeman was a motivated soldier with a mature attitude who took his deployment to Afghanistan at short notice in his stride. He thrived in the operational environment and was constantly eager to learn more from his seniors and commanders. His perceptive nature proved valuable on several occasions particularly in gathering intelligence whilst on patrol. "Although new to the platoon he took no time in making friends and quickly built up a rapport with all ranks. Kingsman Dunn-Bridgeman's tragic death leaves a hole in the platoon that cannot be filled. We will all carry his memory with us as we continue our work in Afghanistan and long after our tour ends. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends." Kingsman David Corcoran of 4 Platoon said: "Dunny was very much one of the lads. Despite coming across from another company he settled in really quickly and we became close friends. He was a genuinely nice guy, and would do anything for you. He was the sort of bloke that you wanted to have as a mate. He was always a good laugh and had an infectious sense of humour. He helped make the difficult times more bearable and was always the one to lift spirits when they started to flag. "We were on patrol one night when we came across a group of insurgents digging in IEDs. Dunny was the first person to see them. He pointed it out to the rest of us, but before we could get into a better position a fire-fight erupted. Dunny was straight into a fire position without a moment's hesitation, straight into it. Soon after rocket-propelled grenades started flying but that didn't deter him. At one stage my team lost sight of the enemy but Dunny saw where the tracer rounds directed at the enemy from another position were landing and brought us onto the enemy with fire from his own weapon.  "Another time we were coming back in off a patrol, and it became apparent that the village we had just visited had a doctor, which is a fairly important thing to know. I asked Dunny if he had cottoned on to this, to which he grinned and rolled up his sleeve and said 'Yeah! I wrote his name down on my arm'. That's the sort of switched-on bloke he was. We will all miss him."


[ Corporal Simon Hornby ]

Corporal Simon Hornby, from 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan on 19 December 2009. Corporal Hornby died from wounds received as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device explosion that happened whilst he was on a foot patrol in the Nad-e-Ali area of central Helmand Province on the morning of 19th December 2009. Despite every endeavour by those around him to save his life, he died of his wounds. Corporal Hornby had deployed to Afghanistan as a Section Commander with Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (who are the Theatre Reserve Battalion) as part of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards Battle Group.  Corporal Hornby was stationed in Patrol Base Shamal Storrai and, being the most senior of the Non-Commissioned Officers present, he administered the patrol base for his Platoon Commander. He thrived in this challenging role whilst also commanding his Section with tenacity and a gritty determination. Always leading by strong example he was also able to see the funnier side of life during any downtime.

Corporal Hornby was born on 13 November 1980 in Liverpool where he grew up and attended Halewood Comprehensive School. On joining the Army in September 2000, he successfully completed Basic Training and had no other wish than to join his local Regiment, The 1st Battalion The Kings Regiment. Cpl Hornby, known almost universally as 'Si', was a popular, friendly, sociable and selfless man. He loved life and was a passionate Liverpool FC fan. A strong performance on his Section Commander's Battle Course secured his promotion in 2008. Cpl Hornby had a bright future ahead of him and after the tour he was due to instruct in a Recruit Training establishment – a role in which he would have excelled. Holly Hornby, Simon's wife, said: "I am devastated by the loss of Simon. He was proud to be a soldier and died doing the job he loved. He was my hero." Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Corporal Hornby was one of the most courageous men in my Battalion. He was a professional and a highly respected leader of my soldiers. Always happy, always chirpy, he - as did we - lived for his sense of fun, humour and his infectious zest for life; now so sadly taken from him and us. "He was a highly motivated young Junior Non-Commissioned Officer with his priorities fixed firmly around the welfare of his soldiers and the welfare of his wife, Holly, who we will support as a Regimental family throughout her tragedy. He loved his wife, he loved the Army and his Regiment, and he loved his football team; Liverpool FC. "As a young non-commissioned officer he had served bravely on operations with Chindit Company and Arnhem Company in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He had already demonstrated the courage needed to lead Lions of the North West in battle. "As a Lance Corporal, he was awarded a commendation for services in Iraq for discovering an Improvised Explosive Device and for spoiling an insurgent ambush. In Afghanistan, he had won over the full confidence of Officer Commanding Arnhem Company, as well as his soldiers, and had stepped up to effectively act as a Platoon Sergeant, taking on the administrative challenge brilliantly, yet with the same sense of humour that we all knew and loved. He was a real character. "He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers, particularly at this difficult time of year, lie with his wife Holly. "The Lions of England have lost one of their most courageous. Major Jon Elliott, Officer Commanding Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Cpl Si Hornby was fiercely loyal to his family, his Regiment and his home town. He was a lively character with a natural tendency to see the lighter side of life, one which he lived to the full. A constant source of morale for his Platoon he was greatly respected by his colleagues and friends. "On visiting his Patrol Base his innovation never failed to impress me as he selflessly worked to improve the living conditions for his men. He was a compassionate leader who understood and nurtured his subordinates into a formidable fighting force. In battle his own personal courage was an infectious source of inspiration to those around him and he formed the backbone of his platoon. "We will continue the good work that he started as a tribute to him and those who have fallen before him. Our thoughts are very much with his wife Holly and his family back in the UK. Whilst our Company is a much poorer place for his loss, our resolve is strengthened in his honour." Lieutenant Mark Whishaw, Cpl Hornby's Platoon Commander said: "Cpl Si Hornby was a dedicated Section Commander who I will sorely miss. His thorough professionalism contributed directly to the smooth running of our Patrol Base and his overriding concern was always to the safety of his Kingmen. "His courage in the face of adversity was an example to us all – and I will always remember his cheeky grin." Captain Jon Muspratt, a former Platoon Commander said: "He was a typical Kingsman, strong and loyal. You always heard him before you could see him." Sergeant Lee Vout, Int Sgt for Arnhem Coy said: "I will miss Si especially the banter about our love of football, he was a true red as I am a blue. Rest in peace." Lance Corporal Sean Bateson, a close friend said: "A determined leader of men that always lead from the front. Always the first to volunteer and loved his job dearly." Kingsman John Cree, a member of his section said: "He lived for Admin! Always cleaning and caring for our welfare. Constant kit checks, thorough and professional. His catchphrase: "'No stone unturned, No water bottle empty.'"


[ Kingsman Sean Dawson ]

Kingsman Sean Dawson of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (2 LANCS) killed in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, 14 February 2010. Kingsman Dawson was part of a ambush set up by Battle Group North West approximately 300 metres north-west of Patrol Base Minden. The ambush engaged suspected insurgents with small arms fire. During the resulting contact Kingsman Dawson suffered a gunshot wound and was killed. Kingsman Sean Dawson was born in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Manchester on 28th December 1990. He attended the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourne, before completing his basic training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick in August 2008. He joined the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment 'Lions of England' in September 2008 and served in Catterick and Cyprus. The Battalion is based in Episkopi in Cyprus and is undertaking the Theatre Reserve Battalion role. It provides acclimatised soldiers for reinforcement of UK operations and has been deployed in Afghanistan continually since August 2009. Kingsman Sean Dawson deployed with Chindit Company, in support of the Household Cavalry Regiment Battle Group in the Battle Group North West area of operations. He was based at Patrol Base Minden approximately 7km to the south of Musa Qala. He was employed as a Sharpshooter within a Sniper pair and was responsible for identifying and engaging insurgents that posed a threat to both Afghan and British soldiers as well as Afghan locals. This work was often done at long ranges and demanded judgement, patience and excellent marksmanship, all qualities he held in spades. Kingsman Sean Dawson leaves behind his father Sean, his mother Karen, his brothers Jack and James and sisters Anna, Danielle and Summer, and his girlfriend Sadie.

 

His father, Mr Sean Dawson, paid the following tribute on behalf of the family: "Even as young as six Sean wanted to join the Army and later joined the local Army Cadet Force in Stalybridge becoming a Cadet Sergeant before joining the regular Army. He loved everything about the Army – it was his life. "Before he went to Afghanistan he took part in the Battalion Boxing Championships in Cyprus and won the Light Welterweight title as well as the prize for the 'Most Courageous Fighter' – that was Sean. He believed in everything he was doing in Afghanistan and even though he was apprehensive, he couldn't wait to get out there. "He was a normal young man who enjoyed a pint with his mates and spending time with the younger members of the family. He was kind-hearted  and thought about everyone before himself. "I cannot put into words the hole he is going to leave behind in the lives of everyone who knew him. His immediate family and girlfriend Sadie loved him dearly and he will always be in our hearts." Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer 2 LANCS, said: "I have lost one of my most promising young fighters, and Kingsman Sean Dawson was in every way a fighter, an English fighter extraordinaire; a true Lion of England. "I watched Kingsman Dawson fight with genuine admiration back in November at my Inter-Company Novice Boxing competition in Cyprus. He was a Light Welter Weight and winded, but his courage, fitness and determination made him fight his opponent back time and time and time again. "I have never been so impressed with a young fighter's courage in the Boxing ring. His skill, determination and fighting spirit summed up everything The Duke of Lancaster values in her English Infantry soldiers. I awarded him the trophy of a silver lion, henceforth to be known as 'The Dawson Trophy', as the most courageous fighter on the night. Against tradition I gave it to the winner. Kingsman Sean Dawson was a fighter and was that winner. "In Afghanistan he fought with the same tenacity. He fought for the people of Afghanistan, he fought for his friends in Chindit Company and he fought for England. My heart and all of my prayers go out to his parents, his girlfriend Sadie, as well as to his brothers and sisters at home and in the family regiment he loved. "One of my fittest and finest fighters. He was one of England's Lions." Major Alan Sweeney, Company Commander, 2 LANCS, said: "Kingsman Sean Dawson was a thoroughly professional soldier who was dedicated to his profession, his colleagues and his family. He had served with Chindit Coy from September 2008, first as rifleman and then as a sharpshooter. "Soldiering was his life and he threw himself into all aspects of the military, keen to follow in the footsteps of his father, Sean, whom he described as his best friend. "His primary aim was to become a sniper and he was well on his way to achieving his ambition when in January 2010 he successfully passed a Sharpshooter's Cadre, gaining awards for Best Shot and Best Student. His quiet manner, ready smile and gentle sense of humour disguised a courageous and unflappable young man. "Whether boxing in the Battalion's Inter-Coy Boxing competition, during which he was awarded the Most Courageous Boxer title, or under effective  enemy fire he displayed the same coolness and efficiency. "His devotion to the Army and his mates was only matched by his love of his family. He adored his girlfriend Sadie and her daughter Millie. His loss leaves a gap in the Company that cannot be filled. The thoughts of all Chindit Company personnel are with his family, loved ones and friends." Captain Charlie Whitting, Officer Commanding Chindit Fire Support Group, said: "Kingsman Dawson was a truly courageous young soldier. The epitome of everything I would ask for in a sniper – his aim was true, his position rock steady and his desire to lead from the front unquestionable. A dedicated sniper, who was thoroughly devoted to his craft, he constantly looked to improve his knowledge, technique and ability. On operations he had already proven himself under fire. He was a loving partner to Sadie and her daughter Millie. He will be sadly missed by all who served with him." Warrant Officer Class 2 Anthony Zyda, Company Sergeant Major, said: "Kingsman Dawson was a very professional and competent soldier. He loved his job and this showed itself in his excellent attitude and dedication. His good humour was a morale boost for all within the Company. He will be sorely missed." Kingsman Adam Clarke said: "He will be greatly missed by me and all the Platoon. I met him when I first turned up to the Battalion and we were great friends from the start. He was one of those people who never had a bad thing said about them. He was a very sociable lad and popular amongst everyone. If it wasn't for Dawson I would never have met my Fiancée. He was like a younger brother to me. I will never forget him for as long as I live."


[ Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai and Kingsman Ponipate Tagitaginimoce ]

Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai (left) and Kingsman Ponipate Tagitaginimoce from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (1 LANCS), serving as part of Combined Force Nad'Ali, were killed in seperate incidents in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, 15 June 2010. Corporal Rogoiruwai was killed in action during a fire-fight with insurgent forces on 15 June 2010 whilst carrying out a patrol to improve security and increase the freedom of movement for local people in Northern Nad 'Ali, Helmand Province. As part of a Battlegroup operation to improve security in an area in the Nad 'Ali District of Helmand Province known for a high level of insurgent activity on 15 June 2010, Kingsman Tagitaginimoce was killed in action during an exchange of fire with insurgents whilst trying to better the lives of ordinary Afghans.

 

[ Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai, ]

Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai, known to all as'Rocco', was born in Nausori, in Fiji, on 23 January 1978. He joined the Army in July 2000, initially serving with the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment before its amalgamation on 1 July 2006. Throughout his time in the Army he served with distinction, on numerous operations including Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a highly experienced and dedicated Junior Non Commissioned Officer - one who excelled when in command. He had a tough yet compassionate style and was destined to do well in an environment that he loved. Just before deploying to Afghanistan, he attended and achieved a strong pass on the Platoon Sergeant's Battle Course and he was on course to promote to Sergeant in the near future. Corporal Rogoiruwai relished being in the Army. He possessed loyalty 'in spades' and he had an absolute dedication to the Regiment, to the Battalion, to his Company and to the men he served with. He was quietly confident - a man who did not speak unless he had something important to say. He had a ready smile, a wonderful sense of humour and a grin that reached from one side of his face to other. He was well known and respected across the Battalion as a soldier and as a friend.

He was a strong family man, proud of his heritage and fiercely protective of his wife, Olivia and his young son, Maciu. He loved them dearly. He was also an accomplished and talented sportsman, representing British Army Cyprus at his beloved rugby and the Battalion on numerous occasions at Bobsleigh. Corporal Rogoiruwai deployed to Afghanistan as a Section Commander with 1 Platoon, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in March 2010. The soldiers of Anzio Company have undoubtedly improved the lives of hundreds of local Afghans during their 3 months in Nad 'Ali by conducting frequent joint security and reassurance patrols with their Afghan National Army colleagues. Tragically killed doing the job that he loved, and excelled at, he will leave a huge hole which will be very difficult to fill. He will be sorely missed by all members of the Battalion as a comrade and as a much loved friend. The family of Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai have made the following statement: "Dan was such a loving husband who dedicated his life to his work and especially his family. He will be sorely missed by his friends, workmates and especially by his wife and three-year-old son, Matthew. "You will always be remembered in our hearts, Daddy. Rest in peace Dan Rogoiruwai." 

Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence OBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "I am greatly saddened by the death of Corporal 'Rocco' Rogoiruwai. He was an outstanding soldier and a very talented Junior Non Commissioned Officer - tough and stoic, but with an infectious smile and a mischievous sense of humour ."His performance in Afghanistan was outstanding. He led from the front, set the best of examples for others to follow and he put everyone before himself. He loved the Army, his Regiment and his fellow soldiers. But, most of all he loved his wife and his young son. "Rocco was one of life's leaders - a natural commander - who gave confidence to those around him. He was decent, honest and loyal - a real character. "A man who saw black and white, who knew right from wrong and who possessed selfless commitment. He was a soldier who could always be trusted. He is a friend who will be sorely missed by me and all members of the Battalion. He was a ' Lion' of a man - a Lion of England' and he will not be forgotten. "We mourn the loss of Corporal Rocco and we offer our deepest condolences to Olivia and to all of Rocco's family - our thoughts are with them."  Major Jon Fry, Officer Commanding Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Corporal 'Rocco' Rogoiruwai was a Section Commander in Anzio Company, 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. He was one of the great characters of the Company, professionally and socially; in short the life and soul. He was tragically killed in action on 15 June 2010 doing what he did best, leading his men. "Corporal Rocco originally joined Chindit Company, the King's Own Royal Border Regiment, where he served in Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Iraq. After the formation of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment he became a member of Anzio Company in the 1st Battalion and served again in Iraq during Op TELIC 11. "During Pre Deployment Training for Afghanistan as part of Op HERRICK 12 he went from strength to strength and demonstrated his ability as a commander. During our tour he commanded his men in a number of dangerous and challenging situations; he never faltered and always led from the front. "He was a fiercely brave and proud man who stood by his mates whatever the circumstance. Having known him for a number of years, I will remember him for his courageous, proud, loyal and fun personality, not to mention his immense strength, faith and love of rugby. "He was always a great man to have around, be it in the field or on a night out. The Company will not be the same without him. "Whilst out here in Afghanistan it is hard enough for us to come to terms with our loss however, our thoughts must be with his wife and son at this tragic time. "We cannot even begin to understand what they are going through, we are thinking of them both. They should however, be extremely proud of this man who was a loving father, husband and a fine Anzio soldier. He is sorely missed."  Warrant Officer Class 2 Rodge 'Mooch' Moore, Company Sergeant Major, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "I have been lucky enough to know Rocco since the first day he joined the battalion in 2000. I was his Section Commander and we instantly formed a close relationship. He had a fantastic sense of humour and supported Sunderland merely because I supported Middlesbrough, just to wind me up. That was the sort of man he was. "Corporal Rogoiruwai was an outstanding rugby player who was fiercely competitive. Off the field he was a man with a big, soft heart. When he first met my wife and daughter in Cyprus, who at the time was only six months old, he decided to take them out for a walk feeding them ice cream and kept calling my daughter 'Little Mooch'. "To this day he always asked about how Little Mooch was doing and reminded me of the day he bought her ice cream; Aimee is now eight years old. "As a soldier he was an extremely fit and enthusiastic Section Commander. He led from the front and his soldiers and subordinates always looked up to him. He was one of the characters of the Company who was both respected and loved. His loyalty was unquestionable and he was proud to be an Anzio soldier. Anzio Company has lost one of its finest. "My thoughts are foremost with his wife and son, family and friends and particularly the Fijian community within the Battalion who have always been and remain a tightly-knit group. "He will be sorely missed by both myself, my family and Anzio Company. Corporal Rocco was a good man, a good friend and a good soldier. God Bless Rocco 'Laa'. Rest in peace. Never forgotten."  Corporal Peter Cakaunitabua, Section Commander, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Corporal 'Rocco' Rogoiruwai was a very hard working soldier who loved his job, his family and friends. He was a morale finder to the lads that he worked with and pushed people to the best of their ability, which enabled them to be successful in life. "He was a very fit soldier and had a determination to do the job to the very best of his ability. He was a disciplined soldier that was proud of his Regiment. Loyal to his family and friends. His wisdom, knowledge and understanding made him a good leader in his work and a great dad and loyal husband. We will miss him." Kingsman Filimone Matanibukalevu, Helles Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "I joined the Army with Rocco in 2000 and went through training together in Catterick. He was a true friend. Nothing was ever too much trouble. He was a great man who was an inspiration to those around him - a true Fijiian. I still cannot get over his love of Sunderland FC! "He has the most beautiful son, who I know will be proud of his father when he grows up. My thoughts are with his wife and family."


[ Kingsman Ponipate Tagitaginimoce ]

Kingsman Ponipate Tagitaginimoce was born in Nausori, in Fiji, on 24 November 1980. He joined the Army in March 2005, initially serving with the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment before its amalgamation on 1 July 2006. Throughout his time in the Army, Kingsman Tagitaginimoce served with distinction, including several operational deployments to Iraq. He was an exceptional soldier, one who thrived in any environment and who was professional to his very core. Experienced, with real dedication to duty and with strong moral values, he was the epitome of a Kingsman - ready to do his duty, to set the best of examples, to put others before himself and with a smile never far from his lips. Kingsman Tagitaginimoce had only been in the Reconnaissance Platoon for a short period of time, but he had already quickly established himself as an integral, and highly popular, member of the Platoon. His professional skills and tactical knowledge were second to none and he enjoyed the challenges that life in the Battalion's most respected, and physically, demanding role brought. A quiet and thoughtful soldier, Kingsman Tagitaginimoce was an immensely loyal and honourable individual. He was a man whose family and friends meant everything to him. He was a highly accomplished and very talented rugby player; his love and passion for the game well known by all. An outstanding soldier, a gifted sportsman who was at his happiest when with his family. Kingsman Tagitaginimoce deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010 with the Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. In the 3 months since arriving in Helmand, the Platoon has undertaken numerous joint security operations with the Afghan National Security Forces in support of the local nationals of Nad 'Ali. Tragically killed doing the job that he loved, Kingsman Tagitaginimoce will be sorely missed by all within the Battalion - there are few like him.

 

The Wife of Kingsman Ponipate Tagitaginimoce, made the following statement: "A loving husband and a wonderful father who will be deeply missed. Love always, Laisani." Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence OBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Kingsman 'Tagi' Tagitaginimoce was an outstanding soldier and a great friend to many within the Battalion. He died during an attempt to aid one of his comrades. This comes as no surprise as he was an exceptional soldier whose first thought was always for those around him, never himself. "He epitomised the qualities of a Fijian Kingsman - strong yet gentle, compassionate, principled and honourable, and with a real sense of right and wrong. "Tagi's performance as a member of the Reconnaissance Platoon in Afghanistan was exemplary - he worked tirelessly for the good of his platoon, the first to volunteer for tasks and always the first to help others. "Tagi was softly spoken, unassuming and utterly reliable. His sheer presence calmed those around him and made light any dark period - his good cheer was infectious. "Tagi's death leaves a huge hole in the Battlegroup - the cost is high and painful to all who knew him. He will be long remembered for his love of life, his unwavering loyalty and his comradeship in its purest form. "But, most importantly he will be remembered for his dedication and devotion to his loved ones - his wife, children and immediate family meant everything to him. "The whole Battlegroup mourns the loss of Tagi and offers its deepest condolences to Laisani and to all of his family in this dark time - our prayers are with them. "No one epitomised the spirit of the Battalion more than Tagi - he was a 'Lion' of a man, he was a 'Lion of England'. We will never forget him."  Major Darren Newman, Officer Commanding Somme Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Kingsman 'Tagi' Tagitaginimoce was a quiet, gentle man with a dry sense of humour. He was a professional and dedicated soldier who was well liked and respected across the Battalion. Tagi had many friends which was testament to his warm, approachable manner. "He would always go out of his way to help others, particularly those soldiers who were new to the Company. "Tagi was extremely impressive during Op TELIC 11 in Iraq where his high level of field skills and leadership stood out and ultimately led to his selection to join the Reconnaissance Platoon. This small platoon is a tight-knit, highly professional unit who take great pride in being the best soldiers in the Battalion. He died amongst friends. "A keen rugby player, he represented Corunna Company and the Battalion on numerous occasions and displayed the same courage and determination on the sports field as his did on operations. "He was a devoted husband to Laisani and exceptionally proud of his three children Taniela, Ponipate and Saiasi. Tagi is irreplaceable. He will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his young family." Captain Mark Saunders, Reconnaissance Platoon Commander, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Kingsman Tagitaginimoce was a consummate professional, diligent, hard working and quietly confident, with a keen sense of humour. He was the epitome of a Recce soldier - someone younger soldiers could aspire to be. He touched the lives of everyone he met and truly reflected the values of the British Army - Loyalty, Courage, Selfless Commitment, Discipline and Integrity. "I will remember most fondly his ability to make light of even the darkest situations and his unfaltering ability to motivate, inspire and calm those in his company whenever the situation required it. His death leaves a hole in the Recce Platoon that will be difficult to fill."  Colour Sergeant Richard Shipton, Second-in-Command Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Kingsman 'Tagi' Tagitaginimoce has been with the platoon since the start of our pre-deployment training, starting with the Light Role Recce course run by the Recce Division in Warminster. "The course is one of the most demanding within the Infantry and he came back with a strong pass. Since then he has been a strong and well respected member of the Platoon by all ranks. "Tagi was an incredibly professional and competent soldier with a gentle nature. Although quiet he had a strong sense of humour and mixed well within the Platoon - he will be sorely missed by all. "During the tour his performance has been fantastic. He was always ready for any task or timeline and always a volunteer. He never once complained at any task given, even when those around were not so forthcoming. "Since Tagi came to the Platoon he has been a pleasure to work with, and his hard work and humour will be missed. Rest in Peace mate." Kingsman Vilikesa Tuvutoka, Reconnaissance Platoon, Somme Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Tagi was a true friend - the best one anyone could wish for. He loved to help people and was like an older brother to Fijians joining the Battalion, always willing to help and support. "He loved his job and he loved rugby. But, most importantly he loved his family - his beautiful wife and children. No one can replace him and he will never be forgotten by me or any of the Fijians. Tagi was a hero."  Kingsman Jonathon Jenkins, Somme Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, said: "Tagi was a really good friend and colleague. When I first got to the Battalion he looked after me and was like a brother. No matter what people said he was always there for me. The things I will miss the most about him are his dry sense of humour and his rugby skills - he was an amazing player. He always took time to talk to you no matter what. "He was a brilliant dad and husband and his family will be very proud of him. I only got to know Tagi in Catterick but he will be sadly missed. No matter what time it was, day or night, he would always be there for you. I will miss him loads, he was the best friend anyone could have or ask for. He will always be remembered in my soul and always be there in my thoughts."


[ Lance Corporal Jordan Dean Bancroft ]

Lance Corporal Jordan Dean Bancroft of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, part of Combined Force Nad-e Ali, was killed in Afghanistan on 21 August 2010. Lance Corporal Bancroft deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010 as a Section Second in Command with 1 Platoon, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. The soldiers of Anzio Company have undoubtedly improved the lives of hundreds of local Afghans during their five months in Nad-e Ali by conducting frequent joint security and reassurance patrols with their Afghan National Army colleagues. On Saturday 21 August 2010, as part of the ongoing 'Hold' and 'Build' phase of Operation TOR SHEZADA in Sayedebad, central Helmand, Lance Corporal Bancroft's Platoon was providing essential outer security in order for a shura to take place between ISAF troops and local village elders. Sadly, during an exchange of fire with insurgents, Lance Corporal Bancroft was shot and killed in action. 

[ Lance Corporal Bancroft ]

Lance Corporal Bancroft, aged 25, was born in Burnley on 13 March 1985. He joined the Army in September 2001, initially carrying out his Phase 1 training at the Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn, before finishing at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. On completion of his training he was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Queen's Lancashire Regiment before its amalgamation on 01 July 2006. Throughout his time in the Army he served with distinction – this is his third operational tour having deployed twice to IRAQ on Op TELIC 2 and 11. He was a highly professional and capable Junior Non-Commissioned Officer - one who relished life in the Army. He possessed loyalty 'in spades' and he had an absolute dedication to the Regiment, to the Battalion, to his Company and to the men he served with. However, more importantly he will be long remembered for his love for his family and girlfriend – they held a special place in his life and were his first love. Tragically killed doing the job that he loved and excelled at, he will leave a huge hole. He was the epitome of a Duke of Lancaster's soldier – diligent, selfless, caring and with a profound sense of duty. He will be sorely missed by all members of the Battalion as a comrade and as a much loved friend – there are few like him. 

The family of Lance Corporal Bancroft has made the following statement: "We will always remember Jordan loving a challenge, in particular outdoor pursuits. He was a keen snow skier and often skied for the  Regiment. He loved all water-sports and took any opportunity to ride a jet ski or drive a speed boat. We will miss Jordan so much and it will leave a huge hole in all our lives. "You will always be in our hearts, Jordan - Mum, Dad, your brothers Paul and Leighton, your sister Toni and your girlfriend Lauren."

 

Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence OBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Lance Corporal Bancroft died doing the job he loved, whilst playing his part in improving security for the people of Afghanistan. "He was one of the biggest characters within the Regiment - an exceptional soldier and a very talented Junior Non-Commissioned Officer. "Lance Corporal Bancroft was a true soldier, excelling during his time in Afghanistan - loyal, brave, compassionate and honest. He had a natural ability to lead from the front, his men instinctively looked to him for advice and direction. "Ever cheerful, his humour was infectious – he possessed an unparalleled ability to work with a smile on his face. His potential was endless and he was due to attend a promotion course on his return from deployment, a course I know he would have 'aced'. "The Army, his Regiment, the Battalion and most importantly his mates meant the world to Lance Corporal Bancroft - he would do anything for them. But, he held his family and girlfriend above all else – they were his life. "We mourn the loss of Lance Corporal Bancroft and we offer our deepest condolences to all of his family and his girlfriend, Lauren, in this dark time – our thoughts are with them. The Battalion has lost one of its finest – a true 'Lion of England' and he will never be forgotten." Major Jon Fry, Officer Commanding Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft was a Section Commander in 1 Platoon, Anzio Company, who was tragically killed in action by a gun shot wound whilst on patrol in the southern Nad-e Ali District. "He was an utterly professional and highly capable man with an infectious sense of humour, who enjoyed life to the full – an all round good bloke. He was a key (and extremely popular) member of the Company who always looked out for his mates, as a result he was highly regarded by all, regardless of rank. "He had an aura which produced a calming influence on all those around him. I could not have asked for more from one of my Junior Non-Commissioned Officers. "During the build up to and whilst serving in Afghanistan Lance Corporal Bancroft proved to be one of the strongest Junior Non-Commissioned Officer's in the Company. In pre-deployment training he worked tirelessly to nurture the younger soldiers under his command and fully absorbed himself in any training opportunity available. "On Operation HERRICK 12 he found himself operating in difficult and dangerous circumstances in an extremely challenging area of operations, but this is what he did best. He took it all in his stride with a courageous and selfless manner, whilst at the same time remained calm and balanced, with a great sense of humour – what more could a commander ask for. "He was highly capable either operating on the ground or indeed coordinating operations from the Platoon Operation's Room. He was being lined up for his Section Commander's Battle Course on return from Afghanistan and his future career prospects looked extremely promising. "I know that he was looking at other career options following the tour and he would have succeeded in anything that he turned his hand to. "Lance Corporal Bancroft was an unforgettable character, full of life and confident in his ability; his loss has left a gaping hole in the Company. But, whilst we reflect in Afghanistan, our thoughts must be with Lauren and his family and friends at this tragic time. "Everyone should be proud of him and everything that he has achieved in his life. He will never be forgotten and will always be remembered by the men of Anzio Company – he will be sorely missed."  Lieutenant Tom Millns, 1 Platoon Commander, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft was a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer in 1 Platoon, Anzio Company. He was a polite, professional and dedicated soldier who would have done anything for the men under his command. "Whilst on operations in Afghanistan he was a sure hand within the Platoon, and could be relied upon to produce the goods in any and all situations. He was a commander of real promise and his presence will be missed during the rest of our time on tour. "The void he leaves behind will be difficult to fill. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and girlfriend at this tragic time and I hope they can draw some comfort from the knowledge that he died doing a job he had a real passion and flair for." Warrant Officer Class 2 Rodge 'Mooch' Moore, Company Sergeant Major, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft was a young and enthusiastic Junior Non-Commissioned Officer who loved his job. "The main thing that struck me about him was what a polite young man he was, he was a true gentlemen. "A keen soldier, he strived to achieve the highest professional standards for himself and the men in his Section. "He had a likeable character and was adored by all in Anzio Company, he will be sadly missed. My heart and deepest condolences goes out to his family and his girlfriend." "Good night, Rest in Peace, Lance Corporal Bancroft." Sergeant Lee Calvy, 1 Platoon Sergeant, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft was a true professional, a very good Non-Commissioned Officer and friend. I have known Jordan for many years since we were soldiers in the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, he led from the front, he was a professional and courageous soldier and an outstanding commander. "To have had him as one of my Non-Commissioned Officers and a friend has been an honour and a privilege. His leadership and duty of care to the soldiers in 1 Platoon was nothing less than outstanding. "Over the last few years our friendship has grown especially the last five months in Afghanistan; the Platoon and I will miss him deeply. "My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all his family and his girlfriend Lauren who he loved and adored so much.  "We will miss you Jordan, Rest in Peace mate." Lance Corporal Alex Winterburn, 1 Platoon, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Jordan was an extremely professional Junior Non-Commissioned Officer. I have known him for over seven years, and in all that time one of the main things you notice about him, is that he always had time to help others out with anything; he always put others before himself. "He took pride in his job and was always determined to complete any task set, whatever that might be, to the highest of standards, occasionally this would be long after others had given up. "He always applied the values and standards of the army in everything he did. Jordan possessed a wide range of Infantry skills; there were very few fields that he was not proficient in. "On this tour he did an excellent job, often stepping up to assume positions of command above that of the rank he held. He was a good friend and colleague and I will always remember him. Rest in Peace Jordan." Corporal Shaun Walsh, Kingsman Jordan Preston, Kingsman Gary Kenny, Kingsman Daniel Harrison, Kingsman Luke Moore, Kingsman Ashley Harvey, 1 Platoon, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said: "Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft - 'A True Hero'. "We have been good mates with Jordan 'J' for many years. His death is a massive loss to the Platoon, his Company, the Battalion and to  his family, friends and his girlfriend Lauren. "He loved to talk about his brothers, his family and his plans for the future with Lauren. "J was always there when others were in need, he could bring a smile to anyone's face. "He was a natural born leader who always led from the front. On countless occasions he has helped us through difficult times especially over the last five months in Afghanistan. "J was a very adventurous person and was up for any challenge, he was the heart and soul of 1 Platoon, Anzio Company. We have all had the privilege to work and be around him, our hearts go out to his loved ones, and he will be sadly missed. "Rest in Peace. You'll never be forgotten mate."


[ Captain Andy Griffiths ]

Captain Andrew Griffiths, from the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (2 LANCS) Theatre Reserve Battalion, died on Sunday 5 September 2010 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Captain Andy Griffiths was wounded in action by an explosion whilst leading his soldiers on an operation in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Tuesday 24 August 2010.

His platoon had cleared and occupied a compound that was to be used as a future patrol base during a security operation, but as he moved through the compound to allow entry for an approaching patrol he was caught in an explosion which seriously injured him. He was given exceptional first aid, which undoubtedly kept him alive, before being evacuated by his soldiers and returned to the UK for further treatment. On Sunday 5 September 2010, with his family present, he died of his wounds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

Captain Andrew Griffiths was born on 3 October 1984 in Richmond, North Yorkshire. He was brought up in a military family and studied European and International Studies at Loughborough University before starting the Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in September 2007. Whilst at Sandhurst Capt Griffiths only ever considered joining The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, known as the 'Lions of England' - his father's regiment. On completion of the Platoon Commander's Battle Course he took over command of 5 Platoon, Blenheim Company, in the 2nd Battalion based in Episkopi, Cyprus, prior to starting pre-deployment training with his battalion as the Theatre Reserve Battalion. The Theatre Reserve Battalion provides acclimatised troops over a 12-month period as the UK's high readiness operational reserve. Capt Griffiths approached Command with characteristic humility and absolute dedication, deploying with his Platoon to Afghanistan on his first tour with great pride, through a demanding and successful deployment to Babaji during Operation Panther's Claw and latterly to Nad 'Ali. He forged himself the strongest possible reputation; he distinguished himself with his personal courage and his duty of care for his men. On return from Helmand he moved into Dettingen (Fire Support) Company and immediately crafted his Javelin Platoon and his Fire Support Group into a well-trained, well-drilled team. The only standards Capt Griffiths set were high standards, he was the finest at everything he did. As part of the 2nd Battalion's deployment to Nad 'Ali and Nahr-e Saraj in July, he assumed command of his Fire Support Group in support of Arnhem Company. Capt Griffiths was extremely personable and was loved and highly respected by his men. His attitude and his unwavering personal standards set him apart from the crowd making him a most effective Army Officer with a bright future ahead of him. Capt Griffiths was born to command Infantry Troops in battle, and he was a natural at this. He led from the front and his men loved him for his courage as a result. A massive character with a huge personality, Capt Griffiths will leave a gaping hole in the Officers' Mess and will be sadly mourned by his brother officers. A force to be reckoned with on the rugby pitch as well as in the bar, he approached all aspects of his life with an infectious enthusiasm. He lived his short life to the maximum, thoroughly enjoying the social life of a young officer who was always great fun to be around. He was always at the centre of everything, always laughing and often up to some sort of mischief but his cool exterior and innocent persona often kept him out of the Adjutant's office. He will be sorely missed by his family, his girlfriend, Nicky, and all those who were lucky enough to know him.  Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer 2 LANCS, said: "Captain Andy Griffiths – or 'Griff' as my officers knew him – was an officer with courage, charm, values, humility and above all else a sense of fun. He played as hard as he fought in battle. An inspirational leader of Lions of England, a Regimental son, a friend, a sportsman and a son and brother; a talisman to all who knew him. He was a man who loved his regiment and respected his men and all reciprocated. He will never be forgotten because none of our close Regimental Family will ever be able to forget him. "I sat with Andy and his men in a Range Hut back in Cyprus in May as we trained together for another deployment to Afghanistan as part of our Theatre Reserve Battalion role. I had selected him early for promotion to Acting Captain and was taking him away from his men in Blenheim Company whom he had already led and fought alongside during Operation Panther's Claw last summer. "I needed him to become a Fire Support Group Commander for Arnhem Company; an impressive early step up for someone so junior. His men – to his deep embarrassment – all asked, in front of him, if he could stay on as their officer for the demanding tour that we now find ourselves embarked upon in Nad 'Ali and Nahr-e Seraj. His humility was his trademark when in uniform and the respect from his Lions – particularly his young Kingsmen – was genuinely the most impressive I have seen in a young officer in my twenty four years in the Infantry. "In twelve months of deployments to Central Helmand I have never seen so many soldiers requesting that their tributes be included as words that will follow my own. For myself it has been difficult to write my own words without fighting back a tear, I know that is also the case with my soldiers. Andy was the son of great friends – Mike and Sue – and a brother to Abigail, David and Laura. "A brother officer and a member of our very strong Family Regiment since he was a boy. Many of my senior soldiers and their wives remember him in his younger days, but all of my officers, soldiers and our families in Cyprus will remember him as the man he became. He became a Lion of a man; courageous, proud of his Regiment, fearsome in battle and a friend to his peers. "In our regiment we have the unique honour of being 'Lions of England'. In our Regiment Lions are led by Lions. Captain Andy Griffiths was one of our finest Lions. A leader of Lions, a Lion of a man." Major Paul Tingey Officer Commanding Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said: "Soldiering was second nature to Captain Griffiths. He was a warrior and a leader. He made sure that he knew every one of his men; not just their names but what made them 'tick'. He was unwavering in his commitment and cared deeply for those under his command. Understanding how to get the best from his men was important to him. He led from the front, never asking men to do something that he was not prepared to do himself. "He was a popular officer with all who served with him, but it was his natural affinity with those he commanded that set him apart from the pack. The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment has lost one of its most inspirational young commanders. An exceptional officer who will be greatly missed by everyone whose life he touched. "Andy was an exceptional officer but moreover he was an extraordinary person. He was bright, confident and had an infectious energy that lifted those around him. He was a friend and confidant to countless people, and the World is a lesser place without him in it. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy's family at this difficult time." Captain Ade Clayton Adjutant, 2 LANCS, said: "I hosted Andy when he visited the Regiment as a Potential Officer and I have been lucky enough to watch him subsequently join the Regiment and develop from an inexperienced young Officer into a confident and accomplished Support Platoon Commander. "It was impossible not to admire Andy, such was his professionalism but more importantly his great presence. A totemic figure with a special talent, he will continue to inspire those that worked with him and he will never be forgotten by those of us that were privileged enough to call him a friend." Captain Nath Liladhar, Company Second in Command, Blenheim Company, 2 LANCS, said: "I have known Captain Andy Griffiths (or Griff as he was universally known) ever since he first considered joining the Battalion, attending a Potential Officer's visit to our former home in Catterick. Shortly after, he commissioned, joining our ranks in the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment and we have served side by side together both in Cyprus and Afghanistan. More importantly, in the all too short time I have known him we have struck up an extremely close friendship; he was like a brother to me. "Griff was one of the most professionally capable officers I have ever had the pleasure to serve with and he was always looking to better himself. I remember when he first joined the Regiment, always asking questions, always seeking to improve and always in the best interest of his Kingsmen. "This stemmed down to his competitive side, he was without a doubt the most competitive person I have ever known and everything we did turned out to be a competition, to the extent that he would try (and fail) time and time again to beat me in a race from the Company Office to the Mess whilst he rode a push bike and I drove a car! "Of course, there was more to him than this and I will never forget the fond memories of working together, training together, relaxing together and of course the many nights out whether that be in Cyprus, the UK or in the our Officers' Mess – as all who knew him will testify, the man knew how to party! "Griff was a fiercely loyal friend, selfless and unthinking when it came to defending his friends or their interests, he had a profound sense of right and wrong and I will never forget this. He was there for you when you needed him and would always give sound advice. Life was never dull around Griff – he made the most of it, always dreaming up new things for us to do at the weekends. "We had recently been told that we were both to be given jobs together in the Battalion's Fire Support Company and were looking forward to continuing working together, it saddens me to think of the plans that we had made that will no longer happen. "The world will be a lesser place without Andy Griffiths. He has left a gaping hole in the Regiment with so many friends around him, friends and soldiers from whom he had unconditional respect. He commanded respect because he gave respect, always looking down and never up and for this reason his Kingsmen would have and indeed have followed him anywhere. An intelligent, fit, incredibly robust and very loyal man, Griff would have gone far, whatever he had turned his hand to – a shooting star who has faded before his time. Griff, I'll miss you mate. Rest in Peace." Captain Bowden-Williams, Company Second in Command, Arnhem Coy, 2 LANCS, said: "Andy or 'Griff' was a force of nature; a big, strong, loud, blonde, machine of a man known by all as 'Griff' or 'the Griff'. A natural warrior, Griff loved to soldier, he was always happiest when with his Soldiers in the field. He loved his Kingsmen and always led them from the front; never letting anyone beat him without the fiercest competition. "Griff may have been the complete 'alpha' male but he had a softer side and truly cared for his friends and those close to him. Always there to offer a shoulder or an ear if needed. None will be more aware of this than his Girlfriend Nic. He often spoke of Nic and would then try to deny just how much he liked her. The truth was he loved her and only admitted it to those closest to him. He planned to spend the New Year in Thailand with Nic after Christmas with his family. "Griff was equally at home on the rugby pitch and in the bar as he was at work, looking to smash people on the pitch and power drink afterwards. He loved to push himself and any excuse to drive a jet ski or speed boat far too powerful for him to handle and he would take it often at the expense of the latest sunglasses he had just bought. "When Griff was taken from us, a family lost a loving son, the Army lost a shining star, the Regiment lost a Lion, the Kingsmen lost a natural leader and I lost a brother and true friend." Captain Ben Sheen Blenheim Company Fire Support Group, 2 LANCS, said: "How do you begin to describe someone like Griff? In truth, I hoped I'd never have to, not in this context. "When any comrade in arms falls, the circumstances of his life and his passing resonates through all who knew them, deeply and widely and in the case of someone who was as broadly liked and respected as Andy, the inevitable void that is left can seem hard to fill. He was, in pretty much every respect a natural. "From his innate grasp of what being a commander of men and an officer entailed, to his rapport and obvious affection for the lads, something that you cannot fake and an indicator of true leadership if ever l saw one. He trusted his instincts followed his training, but usually his gut feeling was on the money. "He was genuinely fearless and would never ask anyone to do something he was not prepared to do first himself. He led from the front and if you want to talk about a character which inspires confidence, well, that was Andy to a tee. Whether on the rugby pitch, over the hills of Cyprus or on the battlefield he wore his ability like a pennant and was followed willingly. "Griff was larger than life not only physically but in terms of character and personality. His presence in the bar will be as sorely missed as indeed every other aspect of his military persona. "I don't think I will ever forget our triumphant return from Blenheim's first tour of Afghanistan (and I don't think our Officers' Mess will either and the revelry, some would say carnage, that ensued). We were young, exuberant, full to the brim with life and ready to take on any challenge, and Andy was at the forefront. The world is sadly a quieter more muted place for his passing, I have no doubt that he would have gone on to do great things, in any walk of life, but especially the military. "As a professional, as a brother officer through good times and bad times, and as a true mate – Andy you will be missed." Lieutenant Pete Heywood, Platoon Commander, Blenheim Company, 2 LANCS, said: "It was a privilege to have lived and fought alongside you. Our Mess won't be the same without your encouragement." Second Lieutenant Matt Thorogood, Platoon Commander, Arnhem Company, 2 LANCS, said: "I only knew 'Griff' for a short while; however he has made a lasting impression upon me and quickly became one of my closest friends in the Battalion. "I remember my arrival back in January, as a somewhat nervous, naïve Platoon Commander and it was Griff who immediately welcomed me, taking me straight to the bar in our Regimental Mess in Episkopi. This became somewhat of a trait with me and Griff; whether it be after a hard scrap on the rugby field, or simply because it was a Friday afternoon. "Rugby was our connection; we planned to head to Twickenham together over leave, something I still intend on doing in his memory. He was a strong leader on the rugby pitch himself, his performances unfortunately firmly keeping me on the bench for most of our games together. "Griff yearned to get back on the ground in Afghanistan, and could not hide his eagerness when we were given our departure dates. I'd spent what seemed like an age listening to his stories and advice from his previous tour, and felt lucky to be deploying alongside him. His Platoon could not have asked for a more competent leader. I know they will take all he has taught them, and do Griff proud during the remainder of our tour. "Words cannot describe my feeling of loss. My thoughts are with his family, his girlfriend Nic, and all his mates who were lucky enough to have known him. Griff; I will never forget you." Second Lieutenant Jamie Glover, Platoon Commander, Blenheim Company, 2 LANCS, said: "Although l only knew you a matter of months, you were a true friend. As an officer in the Regiment I looked up to you, you were everything an officer should be. You enjoyed working hard and playing hard. I will miss you greatly." Corporal Deron Stapleton and Kingsman Matt Lucas, 2 LANCS, said: "You were a brave Lion and leader of all. You will be hugely missed. Gone but not forgotten. May your soul rest in peace. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this sad time." Corporal Matthew Vernon, 2 LANCS, said: "You were a true leader of men and a gentleman. Bar none. You will be missed." Corporal Ryan Walton, 2 LANCS, said: "Captain Griffiths, you will be missed by all that were ever with you. You were a brilliant soldier that will never ever be forgotten. God bless you and your family." Lance Corporal Lewis Royle, 2 LANCS, said: "He was an officer and gentleman and there will be a big gap in the Lions of England but his teachings will always keep us going." Lance Corporal 'Ras' Rasovo, 2 LANCS, said: "You were a great man of war. It's been great serving with you. May the Lord shower his blessings over you and your family. Peace be with you." Lance Corporal 'Tam' Tamaiqelo, 2 LANCS, said: "You were a true leader of men on the ground. One of the best Blenheim Lions. You got on well with all the lads and someone that we always looked up to on the rugby field. May God bless you and your family." Lance Corporal Wayne Floyd, Kingsman Anthony Sotheron & Kingsman Ryan Laird, 2 LANCS, said: "He was taught never to back down and gave his all into everything." Lance Corporal 'Alfie' Alford, 2 LANCS, said: "You were a good bloke, an animal on a night out and you always looked out for us, the lads of 5 Platoon. You have left a hole that cannot be filled. " Lance Corporal Steven Wilson, 2 LANCS, said: "A good soldier, a good boss and a good friend. You were an outstanding example to how each one of us should conduct our job. You will never be forgotten." Kingsman Daniel Ogden, 2 LANCS, said: "A strong and powerful man in his head and in his heart – a true Lion." Kingsman Dean Helliwell, 2 LANCS, said: "You were a good man and a great rugby player but above all a great leader. You will be missed highly by all the lads." Kingsman Aaron Whittaker, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment,'Lions of England' said: "You were a good man and a brilliant commander who will be missed a lot. God be with you Sir." Kingsman 'Paz' Parry & Kingsman 'Mick' O'Brien, 2 LANCS, said: "Your passing is a big loss and the gap will never be filled. Sir, gutted you're gone." Kingsman Bryan Creighton, 2 LANCS, said: "He was an inspiration and a true leader amongst all ranks, he will truly be missed." Kingsman Phil Scurr, 2 LANCS, said: "You will be hugely missed by all who have served alongside you. Our thoughts and prayers go to your family at this difficult time. A great commander and leader of men, you can never be replaced."


[ Kingsman Darren Deady ]

Kingsman Darren Deady from the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham on 10 September 2010 as a result of injuries sustained in  Afghanistan. Kingsman Deady, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), died from the injuries sustained from a gunshot wound in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province on the morning of 23 August 2010. Kingsman Darren Deady was born in Bolton on 18 January 1988 into a large Lancastrian family. He joined the Army in October 2008 shortly after leaving school determined to join his local Infantry Regiment, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. On completion of the tough and arduous Combat Infantryman’s Course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, he moved to Cyprus where he joined Arnhem Company of the 2nd Battalion in spring 2009 just in time for the commencement of Pre-Deployment Training for the Battalion’s Theatre Reserve role. The Theatre Reserve Battalion provides acclimatised troops over a 12 month period as the UK's high readiness operational reserve. On completion of a busy and challenging period of preparation he deployed with his Company to southern Helmand going straight to Nad-e Ali as part of Operation MOSHTARAK in February 2010. He had an excellent tour and shone amongst his peers for his beaming sense of humour which remained in tact in the face of adversity, something for which he became famous and which had the most positive and enduring effect on all those that knew him. After returning to Cyprus the Battalion was deployed again and in July Arnhem Company returned to the Nahr-e Saraj region of Central Helmand. On 23 August 2010, Kingsman Darren Deady was wounded in action fighting to defend a compound as part of Operation KAPCHA AMIQ 1, an operation to protect soldiers and civilians who were improving the infrastructure for the people of Nahr-e Saraj. Arnhem Company were protecting a vital location when they came under prolonged, intense Small Arms and Rocket Propelled Grenade fire. Kingsman Deady was fatally wounded fighting alongside his fellow soldiers. He was given exceptional First Aid at the point of wounding by his friends, which kept him alive, before being evacuated to the hospital in Camp Bastion and subsequently to the UK for further treatment.  On 10 September 2010, with his family present; he died of wounds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Darren was a small man with an irrepressible sense of humour. He had a great talent for finding humour and making light of the darkest situations. A young soldier with huge character, very popular and well respected, he was well known across the Battalion. His dedication and commitment to those around him earned him the unquestionable loyalty of those who worked with him. His tragic loss has been extremely hard to bear for all those that had the privilege to meet him, he will never be forgotten.

 

Kingsman Darren Deady's family said: "We would like to thank you all for your support through these difficult times they have been hard for everyone. I now hope you will join us in celebration of Darren's life. "We lost a wonderful Son, Brother, Uncle, Grandson and friend; he is going to be missed by all. At this moment we are experiencing the hardest times of our life. "Darren was proud to do a job that he loved and most of all believed in, his little brother once turned round to him and asked him: why do you fight? and Darren simply replied; "To make a difference". "The Army and Hospital staff have been amazing and really have looked after us and supported us, nothing was ever too much trouble for them and we are eternally grateful to all involved. "The other families we have met through this journey have been a tower of strength and we wish them all the best. There is only one thing left to say now: "Please Don't Forget Him". "RIP Darren Deady you will be missed." Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said:  "Kingsman Darren Deady was a tiny man with the heart of a Lion. His irrepressible and infectious sense of humour made this small man a huge character within Arnhem Company, where his courage and selflessness will always be remembered. "He was always the first to volunteer for everything, to carry the heaviest load or to be first in the patrol to clear a path for his mates.  He loved his job and his Regiment, he loved serving with his fellow Lions in Arnhem Company. "He had already shown skill as well as courage having previously served in Afghanistan during Operation MOSHTARAK in Nad-e Ali during 11 Light Brigade's tour. This was his second deployment in the face of the enemy and he fought again with the courage and heart of a Lion. "No one in my Battalion was as good or as accurate with an Underslung Grenade Launcher, he fired it time and again on two separate tours to protect the team he was ferociously loyal to. "A team player, a man with a huge heart and a man with bags of humour in the face of adversity. "England has lost one of her finest Lions, his family: a brother and son, his mates: one of their most respected friends. We will never forget Darren Deady; a Regimental brother to his fellow Kingsmen, a man with the heart of a Lion, forever popular and forever respected. Major Paul Tingey, Officer Commanding Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Kingsman Darren Deady was one of the first Kingsmen I got to know when I assumed command of Arnhem Company. He was a real character. He was a young man who was confident enough to speak to his boss about anything on his mind, and often did. "I always felt that he was being himself, no false pretences and never putting on a show to impress. Impress, however, he did. He was a superb soldier; trusted, respected and an example to others. He was a small man with a huge personality. "1 Platoon soldiers have lost one of their best mates. He is great loss to Arnhem Company and to The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family who have lost a loving son and a devoted brother." Captain Bowden–Williams, Second in Command, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Kingsman Deady was an old fashioned Kingsman: wiry, tough, humorous, never afraid to voice his opinion. Above all this he was loyal to his friends not only in camp or when socialising, where he will always be remembered, but also on the battlefield where he ultimately gave his life for them."  Lieutenant Mark Hayward, 3 Platoon Commander, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I remember turning up to the small Patrol Base in Nad-e Ali on the last tour to take command of my first multiple. I got all the lads together to introduce myself and I remember looking at all of the lads sat in front of me and out of all the faces looking back one stood out in particular. Sat there looking back was Kingsman Deady with his trademark cheeky grin. This was a grin I am happy to say was one I would see many times in the future. "His optimistic outlook and ability to provide morale to those around no matter the situation is something I will always admire. "It says a lot about his character as the whole time I have been in the Regiment I have only heard people speak of him with the highest of regards. It has been an honour to have served alongside him. Rest In Peace Deady."  Second Lieutenant Andy Miller, 1 Platoon Commander, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Commanding Kingsmen is always a privilege, but to be Kingsman Deady's Platoon Commander was an honour. "Kingsman Darren Deady was by far the best Kingsman in my Platoon. He was polite, focussed, funny, entertaining and truthful. "He was an extremely professional soldier and as a result he was often the first to volunteer for the most difficult of tasks within the Platoon. "He would either be leading the way, clearing a safe route free from hidden bombs for his comrades, or he would be carrying some of the heaviest equipment that the Platoon had, even if he did say: "There's only so much these chicken legs can carry." "He was ferocious in battle and deadly accurate with his Underslung Grenade Launcher." "We would often talk of what we were looking forward to on our post tour leave. He could not wait to return to Bolton to see his family, go out with his friends and spend his money on a ridiculously fast motorbike as well as a lads' holiday to Amsterdam. "Away from soldiering, back in Cyprus Kingsman Deady lived for the weekends. "My Monday mornings would always be brightened by tales of Kingsman Deady's latest escapades, usually involving him with no top on and going missing for a large part of the night, often returning with a new tattoo that he would proudly show me. "Kingsman Deady will be sorely missed by me and the entire team. He was the life and soul of the Platoon and it is a tragedy that his 'one of a kind' laugh will never be heard again. "My thoughts are with his family. Kingsman Darren Deady will never be forgotten by me or his brothers in 1 Platoon."  Sergeant Lea Wilkinson, 1 Platoon Sergeant, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady was one of the most popular and much loved members of the Platoon. The energy and morale which he produced was infectious making being in Afghanistan that much more bearable.  "Darren was a cheeky lad who often managed to make me laugh even when he was in trouble. The Platoon will be a very different place without him."

Corporal Stephen Byrne, Section Commander, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I first met Kingsman Deady when I moved to Arnhem Company two years ago. I liked him from day one and what a brilliant character. He was a fantastic soldier that put his best into everything."  Corporal Sean Bateson, Section Commander, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "A true Kingsman, a true Lancastrian, always full of life and always with a smile on his face. Truly missed but never forgotten." Corporal Iliav Waqa, Section Commander, 2 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "It was a privilege to have known him and he always gave one hundred and ten percent; everything was always done to the highest standards."  Corporal Gareth Collins, Section Commander, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "One of the best Kingsmen I've ever worked with within the Platoon, always there whenever anyone needed him, my thoughts go out to his family."  Lance Corporal Gary Smith, Section Second in Command, 2 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "You're one of the best lads I've ever known and it was a privilege to fight alongside you."  Kingsman Ben Harper, Signaller, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady was one of the boys who looked after everyone. I will always remember him calling me fatty and me giving him stick back but he always got the beers in first. I'll remember him as a mate, brother and the best Kingsman around."  Kingsman Christopher Norris, Fire Support Group Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Darren was one of the best lads I've ever met in the Army. A guy who always lived for the weekend. You will never be forgotten."  Kingsman Dean Smith, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady was one of the best lads I've ever met. I enjoyed his company and working with him. He was always having a laugh and always had a smile on his face. I will always remember him."  Kingsman James Kirner, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I can't believe he's gone, he was the morale of the Platoon. We're going to miss you so much."  Kingsman Liam Phillpot, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Even when he was down he managed to cheer you up. Even though he is gone he will never be forgotten."  Kingsman Liam McKenna, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "He always kept morale high even in the worst of situations, he will be so missed." Kingsman Antony Lewis, Fire Support Group Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "In the short time that I have known him he was a great lad to be around, always happy and positive a pleasure to work with, my thoughts are with his family." Kingsman John Dowson, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I didn't know Deady for long but what a sound lad, always up for a laugh. My deepest thoughts are with his family and those who were lucky enough to know him."  Kingsman Alan Burrow, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady was a top lad and a true soldier always happy and always with a smile on his face, even when he was down. He always had something to laugh about and was the life and soul of the party. "He loved to go out and have a beer and chase the girls and it seemed to work as he often pulled. It won't be the same without him wandering around without his top on. Rest in Peace mate, you will never be forgotten." Kingsman Robert Purkiss, Company Medic, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "One of the best men in Arnhem Company, some of the stories will stay with me forever and the fact that he was always cribbing with a smile on his face."  Kingsman Scott Duffy, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Darren Deady was one of my best friends in the Battalion. He was always one to make you laugh when times were hard and making the most of a bad situation. He will be dearly missed by the lads in 1 platoon. "We have lost one of our best soldiers, a true Kingsman."  Kingsman Kyle Garth, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady was full of character, the most popular lad in the Platoon and one of my best friends. "He would always be making people laugh when times were hard and morale was low. He would always pick on my accent; he used to say that I sounded like a farmer and I used to take the mick out of his Bolton accent. "We would go to the gym together then when the weekend arrived; we would all go out as a big team and enjoy ourselves. Rest in Peace Deady mate you're going to be missed."  Kingsman Christopher Stagg, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady, I can't believe you're gone mate. You will be sorely missed. You were a great colleague and an even better friend. Rest In Peace mate." Kingsman Jacob Murray, 1 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "From one Boltoner to another, you were a good mate to all the lads in Arnhem Company. "When one of us was down you always knew how to put a smile back on our faces. "Thoughts are with your family and friends back home. I am going to miss you mate, gone but never forgotten. Rest In Peace." Kingsman Kemron Modeste, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady mate, it feels like only yesterday we last spoke about how we were going to spend leave and how you were saying you were going to come visit me back home in Grenada. "Mate, I know if you could you would have been there, you will be sorely missed by all in Arnhem Company. Can't wait till we see each other again. From your brother from another mother. See you later mate." Kingsman Christopher Craig, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "No words can describe what sort of a friend you were to the men of Arnhem Company, nor can they do justice to what sort of a soldier you were. "Your family, Regiment and Country have lost one of its finest and bravest. I am proud to have served alongside you and rest assured, we will never forget." Kingsman Mark Traynor, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "You were without a doubt the morale of this Company; you would even be laughing when days were bad. We will never forget you mate." Kingsman Tom Smith, 3 Platoon, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Deady, can't believe I am speaking to you in this way but you were a top friend to everyone. Mate, I can't tell you how much I am going to miss you. All the lads feel for your family and friends at home. You were a true Kingsman mate. "Rest In Peace Deady you will never be forgotten."


[ Sergeant Peter Anthony Rayner ]

Sergeant Peter Anthony Rayner of 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England', Theatre Reserve Battalion, was killed in Afghanistan on Friday 8 October 2010. Sergeant Rayner was killed in action when he was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device whilst leading his men on patrol in the Nahr-e-Saraj District of Helmand Province. Sergeant Peter Anthony Rayner was born into a military family on the 11 November 1975 in Andover. He considered his hometown to be Bradford but joined the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment in 1994; the same Battalion in which his father had served for most of his Army career. He joined an Armoured Infantry Battalion based in Catterick, and it is in this role that Sergeant Rayner excelled. Passing a Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle driving cadre soon after his arrival he then deployed as a Warrior driver to Bosnia in 1997, to Macedonia in 1998 and again to Bosnia in 2000. By this time he had been promoted to Lance Corporal and was honing his skills as an armoured infantry soldier by becoming a Regimental Instructor Gunnery, Driving and Maintenance Instructor, and Fleet Manager. As his Regiment moved to Cyprus he stayed in Catterick with the 1st Battalion, The King's Regiment and deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 2, where he was employed as a Warrior Commander. Always one to seek out a new challenge, Sergeant Rayner moved to the Anti-Tank Platoon where he completed the Milan Detachment Commander's Course. He deployed again to Iraq on Operation TELIC 9 with the newly formed 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, this time as a Warrior Sergeant with Arnhem Company. In 2009, following an exemplary performance on the Javelin Section Commander's Course, he deployed with Arnhem Company to Afghanistan as part of the Theatre Reserve Battalion on Operation HERRICK 11. He was based out of Patrol Base Shammel Storrei, one of the most heavily attacked bases in Southern Helmand, where he performed admirably. He received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on his return to Cyprus. In 2010 he once again deployed to Afghanistan with Arnhem Company as the Javelin Platoon Sergeant. His bravery and courage had  attracted much praise and he had cemented a reputation as one of the best Javelin Commanders in the Army. He will be remembered for his pre-eminence as a Javelin Commander, for his forthright manner and for his huge personality. Sergeant Rayner will be sorely missed by all members of his Company and by all members of the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's  Regiment 'Lions of England'. He leaves a young family and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Wendy and his son Derek at this time.

 

Sgt Rayner's wife Wendy said: "Fantastic loving Husband and Father, Son, Son-in-law, Brother and Brother-in-law, Who loved his job and doing something which he believed in. He will be sincerely missed by all who knew him."  Sgt Rayner's Peter and Bernadette said: "Peter was a Bradford lad and an avid Bradford city supporter. A keen mountain biker he was always full of energy and was someone who enjoyed life to the full.  "As a soldier he loved his job and was totally committed to the Army, as well as his family and friends. As a son and brother, he was a fun loving and caring person of whom we are all very proud. We loved him so dearly and will miss him with all our hearts."

 

Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sergeant Pete Rayner told you exactly how things were. He was honest, loyal and always vocal. A true Lion of England and a man of high morals, guts and integrity. A man who cared not just for the morale of his soldiers, but in how that morale was created. A man with great spirit and forthrightness, who was as true as his aim was with a Javelin Missile. "Sergeant Rayner was a man who I respected as someone never afraid to ask his Commanding Officer a tough question or tell me how my soldiers were feeling. When I could squeeze a word in edgeways, I would joke with him that he was my 'Shop Steward', a man whom I trusted to tell me how my soldiers were and what their concerns may be. He never let me down; always telling me the truth, always  presenting a fresh opinion, always diplomatic and always underpinning our chats with his fine sense of humour. "He gained my trust and admiration very early on, particularly for his leadership in Afghanistan, where he had proven himself on two separate tours this year. Ferocious in defence of his men and deadly with a Javelin missile, he fired as many as any operator in the Army when facing the enemy in battle. I have lost a confidante, a magnificent Javelin Missile Detachment Commander and an honourable soldier. "The 2nd Battalion will be a quieter place without Sergeant Rayner. He was a son of the Regiment - his father had also served in our ranks - and a man with whom I shall miss joking with and sparring with intellectually. My heart bleeds for Wendy and Derek who are strong members of our Regimental family based in Cyprus and I know they will be supported by their many friends there. "Their pain is ours and their loss is shared by us all, be it here in Afghanistan or in Cyprus. We are thinking of them as we continue our final weeks of operations in Helmand Province. We will always remember Sergeant Pete Rayner. "England has lost one of her most respected Lions and a most sincere and trusted friend in the butts." Major Paul Tingey, Officer Commanding Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sgt Rayner was fatally wounded in an improvised explosive device strike whilst he was leading his men on operations. Sergeant 'Skippy' Rayner was unmistakeable with his closely shaven head and larger than life personality. "Recently promoted to Sergeant, he came to Arnhem Company as the Javelin Section Commander. He was an absolute master of his craft and there was no better Javelin operator. He had assumed command of his multiple during the tour and was proving himself to be a natural leader. "Sgt Rayner was known to everyone; he left a lasting impression on you after the first meeting. He loved to talk and would pass the time of day with the most junior soldier or senior officer. He spoke his mind and always had the best interests of his men at heart. He was someone that you could rely on to tell you exactly what he thought. I always welcomed his words of advice. "It was, however, in the quieter moments where I really got to know Skippy. Always over a brew, we would often talk about our families, our animals and about the plans he had for when he got home. After his family his next passion was mountain biking. He was looking forward to getting back on his bike when he got home. "I will remember Skippy as a devoted family man, a fanatical mountain biker and one of the best commanders that I have had the  privilege to work with. His loss will leave a hole in the lives of those that knew him. I will miss our chats and I will miss you Skippy. "My prayers are with his wife Wendy and his son Derek." Captain Bowden–Williams, Arnhem Company Second-in-Command, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sergeant Pete Rayner was a larger than life character, he had time for everybody from the youngest Kingsman to any Colonel or Brigadier that dare venture near him. Recently promoted to Sergeant he took command of his multiple with great pride. "Always vocal in Arnhem Company and often talking of his wife, son and many dogs back home. Always laughing and always smiling he enjoyed the friendships he had made, always looking for a laugh or a chance to wind certain people up, me included. "He was a rare breed amongst the 'Lions of England'; a Yorkshireman amongst many Lancastrians. He was a proud Bradford City fan and on our previous tour of Afghanistan he would often ask for the scores on the radio when he was living in an isolated location.  "Skippy Rayner was the most professional Javelin operator I've ever met. He took great pride in the part he played with his Javelin in the defence of Shammal Storrei on Op Herrick 11 and the support he offered to the Company on this tour. We will all miss that smile, laugh and awkward questions. Skippy, rest in peace my friend." Captain Andy Lockwood, Arnhem Company, Fire Support Group Commander, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sergeant Pete Rayner or 'Skippy' as he was known, was a dedicated and professional soldier. He will be sorely missed by all of us in the Fire Support Group. "It was a privilege to call Sergeant Rayner a colleague and friend. He will never be forgotten by anyone who served with him. His infectious good humour will be missed by us all. Skip loved being a soldier, he especially loved being a soldier in the Javelin Platoon, but his first love was his wife Wendy and son Derek. He constantly spoke of them and his love for his family was obvious for all. "Skip will be remembered as a dedicated family man, a great soldier and a friend to all. He is a massive character and the company will be a lesser place without him." Second Lieutenant Andy Miller, Platoon Commander, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sgt Rayner and I had spent a lot of time together on this tour. Known to all as “Skippy” or “Skip” he was a keen, experienced and calm commander. Always there for a young officer like myself. He would give advice as well as he gave us help, by firing his Javelin missiles to get my soldiers and I out of trouble again and again. "He would often talk of his family and life back in Cyprus, where he lived with his wife Wendy and his son Derek. He was a keen mountain biker and had won competitions in Cyprus; he had offered to take me out when we got back. Sergeant Rayner would often tell me about his son and how he had learned to use the Javelin missile, just like his Dad on the computer game 'Call of Duty'."  WO1 (RSM) Chris Rowlandson, Regimental Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Although only recently promoted, Sergeant Pete Rayner was already a well known and extremely popular member of the Sergeants' Mess. A huge character and a great leader, he died doing what Sergeants do best, leading their men with guile and good humour based on his years of hard earned and hard fought experience. His loss will be felt deeply not only across my Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess but also across the whole Battalion with which his family have been involved for many years; our thoughts are with his wife and son." WO2 (CSM) Sean Pyper, Arnhem Company Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I have worked with Skippy for both of Arnhem Company's tours and have known him from when we served together in the King's Own Royal Border Regiment. He gave everything for his lads in every way. He was a surgeon with a Javelin and proved to be an asset to the Company. "He always talked of his family and his passion for mountain biking and how he was going to recruit members of the Battalion to form a club. He was utterly reliable and always ready to help anyone who needed it. He was looking forward to getting to know the real life within the WOs' and Sgts' Mess and we would talk of sitting in the Mess on a Friday afternoon and enjoying a beer. "He was a character that immediately grew on you and he became a friend that I could rely on. It was an expensive loss to lose someone so dedicated to everything in life. He spoke of Wendy and Derek and how he loved them. I will always remember him with a coffee, cigarette and smile to greet you with. "I will always remember him and my thoughts go to his family at this dark period. Skippy, you will always be remembered and never forgotten and we'll have that beer together some day, but not in this life."  Colour Sergeant Mark Rakocevic, Blenheim Company Quarter Master Sergeant, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "My thoughts are with his family, he is a huge loss to them and us all. I have known Sgt Pete “Skippy” Rayner on and off for about 12 years throughout my army career, since the NCO cadre we did together. The thing that stood out the most about Skippy was his selflessness and the crack he had, no matter what the situation. "He had chosen a career in the Anti Tank Platoon from when I first knew him and it was a job he excelled at. He was proud of being a member of the Anti Tank/Javelin Platoon, a solid operator at what he did. He was a strong family man and always thought of them; a characteristic we should all take from him. "Skippy was promoted to Sergeant just before we deployed and was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct medal. He would have been a good addition to any Mess function, as he enjoyed a few drinks like the rest of us. Our thoughts go out to his wife Wendy and son Derek at this sad time. "God Bless Skippy."  Sergeant Chris Bland, Intelligence Sergeant, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Skippy was one of those blokes that would drive you wild with his knowledge, he would constantly test the lads with questions not only on the Javelin but from any pamphlet. This was not intended to put them on the spot but to help them better themselves; he always endeavoured to better himself too, he had a thirst. "That said he also loved to get home, he was no different from any married man in this job. You have to grab every moment you can with your family, and Skippy certainly did that. "I remember the first introduction my wife had to Wendy at a Christmas Ball in Bourlon Barracks in Catterick. Skippy and I watched in horror as the night slipped away and our wives started to slip under the table, both very worse for wear. "Skippy was also very loving of his son Derek and would always talk about him. He could be overheard on the phone sometimes telling Derek how much he loved him and how he was to be a good boy and look after mum. Some would construe this as soppy but this was a sign of a truly loving father, and any man who is a father should take a leaf out of old Skip's book. "He also loved his mountain bike, Christ he could talk a glass eye to sleep about it; but it would take his mind off work. Some fish, some play PC games, some walk, Skippy loved to mountain bike. He used to go away most Saturdays with Corporal Dave Turner and spend time finding new routes that would test him. "Then he'd go again, always pushing himself to see what his limits were and without doubt he would usually be found pushing them at every opportunity. Although relentless at making sure the boys were looked after and sometimes a right pain about it, it was always for the best. I, along with all the lads in the Javelin platoon will miss him. "God Bless Skippy and Griff."  Sergeant Kev Threlfall, Platoon Sergeant, Fire Support Group, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "RIP mate, gone far too soon. Good night, god bless. NEC ASPERA TERRENT." Sergeant Lea Wilkinson, Platoon Sergeant, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Peter was one of my good friends from our King's Own Royal Border Regiment days. I first met Peter in 1994 when he first joined the battalion, where we both where in the same Platoon. Pete, even up to his passing, always commented about our past as young soldiers and has even branded me with the name “Body Armour” for reasons many now know; he loved to tell this story to anyone who would listen. "Peter was a professional soldier who loved to sit and exchange words about who had the most important job. Over a brew and a fag we had many debates. He was never one to back down, always wanted the last word and would always end our conversations with, “love you Wilky”, and with his distinctive laugh. "Peter was very much the family man and he loved his wife Wendy and his son Derek very much. After each phone call he would come and tell me how they both were, what they had been doing and in the same breath, try to sell me a mountain bike and convince me to come with him when we got back to Cyprus. "Peter was a huge personality within the Company with an infectious sense of humour, he was much loved by his Javelin Platoon. He was so proud to be in the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess and was looking forward to having a beer there with us when we got back. This was always. one of the main topics of our many daily chats. "I will sorely miss you Pete now you are not with us and the brew area is now a lonely place without you there. My heart goes out to your wife Wendy and your son Derek in these awful times. "Rest in peace Peter, we will never forget you."  Corporal Sean Bateson, Section Commander Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "'Skippy' was one of the keenest Anti-Tank soldiers I've ever met. He knew his job inside out. Skippy was the face of the brew area and enjoyed a good chat. My thoughts go to his family at this sad time." Corporal Clive Morton, Recce Section Commander, Fire Support Group, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Skippy, what a guy – the ultimate professional and an amazingly funny guy. God truly does take the best of them. My heart goes out to your wife and family, rest in peace pal." Corporal James Savory, Javelin Detachment Commander, Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Pete, I will never forget the first time I met you 10 years ago with C Company in the 1st Battalion The King's Regiment. You would always be seen with a coffee and a smoke. We ran our Warrior together at times in Iraq and 7 years later we would run our Javelin Detachment together in Afghanistan. "You were a true friend and the best Javelin Section Commander a detachment could wish for. I will never forget you mate. My thoughts are with your family at this very sad time. RIP Skippy."  Corporal David Sparks, Section Commander Arnhem Company Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sgt Rayner, or 'Skippy' as he was best known, was one of life's true characters. I've never known a man quite as enthusiastic or devoted to the job. Anti-Tanks was the be all and end all of the Infantry according to Skippy and no one could convince him otherwise! "Skippy was quite famous amongst the Fire Support Group for his rather erratic doom and gloom speeches which comprised of our “superior fire power” and always ended with, “you all know me” and we did. We all knew his speeches would go on for a good hour or so, but we all listened! Skippy was always fiercely protective of his men and made every effort to help and advise anyone who approached him. "As he always said to me, “my main priority is to get everyone back safe”, and by God he meant every word of it. Already the world is a much quieter place, as there is one thing Skippy wasn't, and that's quiet. Every decision he made was for the people around him, his men and friends. That's how he saw everyone and that's equally how we saw him. "Skippy was in constant contact with his wife and son, there wasn't a day that went by where he didn't mention them to me. But again that was Skippy, he was just immensely proud of his family and loved them dearly. "Skippy, it was absolute pleasure serving with you, we're all going to miss you mate. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."  Corporal Matthew Vernon, Mortar Fire Controller, Fire Support Group, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "A true friend, always missed. God Bless."  Corporal Ryan Walton, Multiple Second in Command, Fire Support Group, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "A fantastic fella, rest in peace, you will never be forgotten."  Lance Corporal Mikey Wilson, Husky Commander Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Skippy, you're a true mate who always put others before yourself. You did everything with a sense of humour and a smile on your face. You will be sorely missed by all who knew you. You will never be forgotten." Kingsman Raymond Alouch, Javelin Operator, Arnhem Company Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I first met Skippy the week Arnhem Coy came back from Operation HERRICK 11. He was keen to know who I was on our first meeting and I found him to be a very interesting person to be around, only to be chuffed after realising he was one of my commanders. "Skippy was a fun character but very professional at his duties, he was worthy of any task given to him. He is one of the reasons for high morale in Javelin Platoon, due to his vast knowledge of the equipment and how to operate it. As a friend he had advice on married life and I wished I had joined the Army after marriage. He was a great role model to me in my Army life. "He loved fitness and I admired him for that. With these few weeks left to push he was looking forward to seeing his family. I will not forget the journey we shared together and I will not forget that God giveth and he taketh away. Once a soldier you will forever be. Rest In Peace, Skippy."  Kingsman Liam Bell, Machine Gunner, Arnhem Company Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Skippy was a good man and a great friend. No matter where he was he always had a brew and a smile, as well as a cigarette in his mouth. I will always remember the passion he had for his beloved Javelin Platoon. My thoughts are with his wife Wendy and son Derek. Rest in Peace mate, we will never forget you."  Kingsman Rudolph Burke, Javelin Operator, Fire Support Group, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I have known Skippy for 7 years since he joined the Javelin Platoon. We had loads of ups and downs together – I can remember on exercise on Salisbury Plain when he was my Warrior Armoured Vehicle commander; we were told to observe our arcs and he decided to move to where the next vehicle was. "When asked why he moved he replied, "I was bored!" and that has always stuck in my mind. You will always be a true friend and commander to me. My heart goes out to your wife and son. RIP Sgt Peter “Skippy” Rayner. Gone but not forgotten."  Kingsman Michael Cleasby, Javelin Operator, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sgt Rayner or “Skippy” as he was known to the lads was a funny bloke, who always had something to say. He will be sadly missed by us all in Javelin Platoon. I have known Skippy since 2007 when I joined the Battalion in Iraq and I really got to know him soon afterwards when I was posted to Javelin Platoon. We did so many exercises together and being a Kingsman I always got the short end of the stick when it came to stag! You will be deeply missed and I will never forget you." Kingsman John Garrett, Machine Gunner, Arnhem Company Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Whether it was sorting out diffies and exchanges or teaching the Kingsmen to make a decent 'rolley', Sergeant Rayner would always be happy to help out the lads. He will be sadly missed by all the Fire Support Group, as well as everyone who knew him." Kingsman Paul Harding, Javelin Operator, Arnhem Company Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "I never thought for one minute that I'd be writing this for you mate. It was an honour to have served alongside you. You were a top bloke and will be hugely missed but never forgotten."  Kingsman Ben Harper, Officer Commanding Arnhem Company's Signaller, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "Sgt Rayner was the best lad around and he is going to be missed by all the lads and me. I remember the first time I met Skippy when he was a Corporal on our last tour of Afghanistan. He was a good person and my best friend around. I'll miss him and remember the food he cooked for me or the tea he used to make me when he woke me up for stag. "Skippy was like a father to me and we shared many great times together in our Patrol Base and out of it. I'm sorry for Wendy's loss and my thoughts are with her and Derek."  Kingsman Pete Lomas, Javelin Operator, Fire Support Group, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "A good friend, you will be sorely missed. Rest in peace."  Kingsman Watisoni Ralulu, Machine Gunner, Arnhem Company Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, 'Lions of England' said: "He was there all the time for me and Junior since we joined the Platoon. We even refer to him as 'Tata', which means Dad in Fijian. He wanted us to be in his team. We miss him and pray for his family. Rest In Peace, Skip."