The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

Corporal Gordon Alexander Pritchard

Cpl Gordon Pritchard

Whilst on a routine patrol in Umm Qasr, the vehicle that Corporal Pritchard was commanding was struck by a roadside bomb; he died instantly. Three other soldiers were injured, one seriously, in the same incident and received medical treatment at Shaibah medical facility. Gordon Pritchard was born on 1 October 1974, the son of a soldier in The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. He grew up with the Regiment, following his father on postings, and joined the Army himself at the age of seventeen, entering the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in September 1992.  His first posting was to A Squadron, based in Warminster, as a gunner on Chieftain tanks. After gaining his Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) qualifications, he was posted to 6th Battalion The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1995. During this time Gordon married and became a father for the first time. He completed an operational tour of Kosovo in 2000 and then instructed at the Army Training Regiment Winchester. Gordon returned to Regimental Duty in January 2004; he completed his Crew Commander's course, and became a Challenger 2 tank commander. He took part in live-fire and simulated training in Canada, where he soon shone as a natural in the commander's seat of a tank. In July 2005 he began preparing for deployment to Iraq as part of 7th Armoured Brigade (The Desert Rats). During the training he proved his worth as a Troop second-in-command, earning the respect and admiration of his subordinates and superiors. With his many instructor qualifications he was instrumental in preparing his Squadron for operations. He deployed to Umm Qasr in October with C Squadron, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, as part of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's) Battle group. Gordon was known for his joviality and genuine 'joie de vivre'. He was a real pleasure to be around and was at ease talking to Trooper or General alike. Gordon was married to Julie-Anne with three children; Stacey, Harrison and Summer. Lieutenant Colonel Ben Edwards, his Commanding Officer, said: "Corporal Gordon Pritchard was one of my finest Junior Non-Commissioned Officers. He had in abundance the qualities of intelligence, professionalism, compassion and humour that are required to make it to the very highest levels. He was a soldier with very great potential and had been identified in the last year as one for whom the Regiment had high hopes. "On returning from an Army Training Regiment, where he had been an excellent role model to young soldiers joining the Army, he was chosen to attend his Challenger 2 Tank Commander's course. Throughout the course his energy and enthusiasm kept him ahead of his peers as they mastered the complexities of commanding such a vehicle in demanding situations. He emerged as one of the best students to have completed the course in recent memory. "Corporal Pritchard demonstrated leadership qualities above and beyond those expected of a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer. As a result he was appointed as second-in-command of a Troop for our tour of Iraq, a post usually held by a Sergeant. He was highly proficient at all aspects of his job, remaining calm under pressure and adapting well to the intricacies of an operational environment. Always quick with a smile, with an especially dry sense of humour, he led his men by example. "Gordon has made a real and lasting contribution to the future of Iraq in the time that he spent there during his tour. His dedication and easy interaction was noted by all those who he worked with, including the Iraqi port authorities of Umm Qasr, where he helped improve the infrastructure of Iraq's only deep sea port, a strategic link in the first steps towards financial independence. "Our thoughts are with his wife and family. The Regiment has lost a fine soldier and a good friend. We count ourselves as fortunate to have served with such a man."

Comrades from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards bear the coffin of Corporal Gordon Pritchard... 8th Feb 2006

Corporal Pritchard's parents have issued the following statement: "Gordon was the epitome of a modern professional soldier. He was a well-trained, well-motivated soldier serving in a Regiment that he was extremely proud of, as did his father and elder brother. He was a loving son and a very proud family man and he will be deeply missed by us all.

Lt Richard Palmer

Lt Rchard Palmer

Lt Rchard Palmer

Lieutenant Richard Palmer of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards following an attack in Southern Iraq on Saturday, 15 April 2006. Whilst on a joint patrol with the Iraqi Army in the vicinity of Ad Dayr, the vehicle that Lieutenant Palmer was commanding was contacted by a roadside bomb. Despite the best efforts of his comrades and medical teams, he died of his wounds. Richard was single and came from Ware in Hertfordshire.

Richard Palmer was born into an Army family on 19th March 1979. His father served on attachment with The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and it was from this attachment, and the connections made during it, that Richard decided that he wanted to join the Regiment. After Haileybury School and Durham University, Richard attended The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. His time at Sandhurst was marked by his enormous popularity and his highly competent but relaxed style. He was soon recognised as an accomplished sportsman, representing the Combined Services at Rackets and Hockey. Richard was commissioned into The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards on 8 August 2004 and joined the Regiment in Fallingbostel that Summer, joining D Squadron as a Troop Leader. During his Troop Leader's course he once again excelled in a relaxed and assured manner. He seemed to have a natural flair for tank commanding, remaining calm under pressure whilst dealing with a myriad of complications. He returned to Regimental Duty in time to assume command of his Troop as it begun its full training year to prepare it for operations. On training in Canada he proved to be an able tactician and an accomplished leader of men. He quickly became a popular member of the Squadron and forged strong relationships with all ranks. On operations in Iraq, D Squadron has been attached to the Danish Battle-group. Richard continued to lead his men with a firm but fair hand and had earned himself a reputation as one of our most promising young officers. Well-liked and respected in equal measure he was able to inspire his men to operate in high risk environments, always leading from the front. He was at the front of the troop when he was killed, leading them on a joint patrol with the Iraqi Army. "His popularity within his Squadron cannot be underestimated." Lieutenant Colonel Ben Edwards, his Commanding Officer, said: "Lieutenant Richard Palmer was one of my very best Young Officers. He was an intelligent, charming, talented yet incredibly modest individual. Despite having only served with the Regiment for just under two years he was widely regarded by soldier and officer alike as a star of the future. "He had a dream start to an Army career; arriving just in time for a training season in Canada and then deploying on Operations. He demonstrated straight away that he was more than capable of commanding his Troop in testing situations on the Prairie, never betraying a lack of practical experience. He led his men through their pre-deployment training with his winning combination of leadership and friendship, creating deep loyalty within a tight knit team. On Operations he continued to display leadership qualities above and beyond those expected of a junior Lieutenant. His popularity within his Squadron cannot be underestimated. As part of the Danish Battle-group he was experiencing international soldiering that would stand him in good stead in what seemed destined to be a glittering military career. "Individuals such as Richard have made a tangible difference to the future of the people of Iraq. On a daily basis they put their lives at risk as they endeavour to improve the security situation within the country. He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him and we will ensure that his life has not been sacrificed in vain. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends; The Regiment has lost a great ambassador, a splendid soldier and a fine friend. We count ourselves as fortunate to have served with such a man."

Richard's father, Brigadier John Palmer, said the following about his son: "Richard was a much loved son, grandson, brother, uncle and boyfriend, with a huge number of very good friends. He was enormously proud to be a soldier and in particular to be a member of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. He was very well aware of the dangers that he and others faced in Iraq, but he believed that the work they were doing was gradually making life better for the Iraqi people.  "Richard was a very talented and popular young man who achieved a lot in his life. We are immensely proud of him – whilst nothing can make his loss any easier we are just thankful that the other members of his troop, of whom he thought so much, were not seriously injured.  "We are very grateful to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards for all the support we are receiving."

Only seven days after the first anniversary of her boyfriend’s death, Sally Spencer will run the Flora London Marathon in his memory.  Richard and Sally met at Durham University, and spent six very happy years together. On 22 April 2007 Sally will run the marathon for him, and the times they shared.

Sally is well on her way to raising her mammoth target of £15,000 for the Army Benevolent Fund. Friends and family have given their support; Richard’s Squadron’s £367 donation took her over the £10,000 mark; and the Regiment has since made a generous contribution of £1,250.

Sally says: “We had six years of wonderful smiles together. This was not enough, but I consider myself lucky for the time we were given. By running for the Army Benevolent Fund, a cause in which we believed so strongly, I will be able to start to honour the memory of Richard and the time we spent together – sustaining our values and beliefs, and hopefully making him proud.”