The Royal Welsh

[ Lance Corporal Christopher Harkett ]

2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh Recruits from the whole of Wales.  The Regiment has a history of more than three hundred years, and is proud of its Welsh identity.

MOD Website

Lance Corporal Christopher Harkett of 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 14 March 2009. Lance Corporal Christopher Harkett, aged 22, from Pontardawe in Swansea, died as a result of an explosion near Musa Qaleh in Afghanistan on the morning of Saturday 14 March 2009. He was part of a foot patrol from C Company the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh who are working to help extend and enforce the writ of the Government of Afghanistan.

LCpl Harkett was trained at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate and subsequently at Catterick before joining the Battalion in March 2004 in Paderborn, Germany. He started in B (Rorke's Drift) Company and soon afterwards deployed with them to Iraq where he did exceptionally well. He trained as a Team Medic so that he could look after his mates if they were injured, trained as a Warrior Gunner so that he could defend himself and his colleagues, and later qualified as a signaller so that he could ensure that critical information was passed to the Headquarters as soon as possible. Being an intelligent man LCpl Harkett was always quick to learn, but he was also very dedicated and keen to help. He showed great promise and earlier than normal, was selected for a promotion cadre in September 2005. He was promoted to Lance Corporal the following January.  LCpl Harkett then transferred to the elite Reconnaissance Platoon as he was an experienced and very able soldier, and deployed with them on a very demanding and dangerous tour in Iraq in 2007 where again he did very well. He was one of the first to volunteer to deploy with his mates to Afghanistan as a sniper. He had already had a full and successful career and had a very bright future ahead of him, just like his father and grandfather before him. LCpl Harkett was very much a son of the Regiment and has been known by many as a boy and now as a man. His grandfather joined the 2nd Battalion the South Wales Borderers in 1946 and earned a commendation on operations in Malaya; his father joined the Royal Regiment of Wales in 1984 and had an excellent career over 26 years reaching Warrant Officer Class 1. LCpl Harkett was born only two years after his father joined the Regiment in 1986 and has grown up with many of today's soldiers or their children. He was always at the centre of the fun and was always liked by those who met him. He was a keen and active boy gaining all sorts of awards for outdoor pursuits and playing football in a local league. It was natural for him to join his father's Regiment as soon as he could which is what he did as a boy soldier in December 2002. Danielle Harkett, LCpl Harkett's wife said: "To my darling husband, friend and companion. I cannot begin to describe the pain and hurt I feel knowing I will not be with you again. I only have the memories of our short life together, but I'm grateful that I had the privilege and honour to be your wife. "You will be in my heart for the rest of my life and I will never forget the time we had together. You are the most special person in my life Chris, and your death does not bring the end to that. I have adored you from the moment we met, and I will never love any man the way I love you. "I will never forget you Chris, I love you forever and always. From your loving wife, Danielle x x x x x x." Gerwyn, Alicia and Kyle Harkett, LCpl Harkett's parents and his brother said: "Chris was our beloved Son. Although he has been taken from us at a young age, he lived life to the full. Our hearts are empty at this moment but we find some peace in that he died bravely protecting people of a land that was far from his home. "He leaves behind a beautiful and loving wife and a younger brother who adored him. He will remain in our hearts and the memories of him will be with us forever. Goodnight our darling son, you will remain forever young. "With all our love, your father Gerwyn, mother Alicia, and loving brother Kyle. Gwell Angau na Chywilydd." Cpl Graham Day and family, LCpl 's 'in laws' said: "No words could ever truly symbolise the sentiments of loss and regret felt following your untimely demise. As a soldier I would follow you into any field of battle; as a person I would enter any situation to be by your side; as a father I trusted you impeccably with the heart, welfare and protection of my daughter; these are the highest honours I could possibly bestow. "You warrant the greatest respect, your integrity and commitment to others was always beyond reproach. It is a shock that such a good natured, kind hearted, generous, respectful young man has been taken from us so abruptly. "You are the embodiment of a young gentleman of yester-year with many seemingly forgotten values; you were an example to all who knew you. We miss and love you Chris, you died doing your duty and the job you lived for, and we can only aspire to respect your memory by being at least half the person you were. "Chris, it is impossible to put in words how much we will all miss you. You had a massive effect on us as a family and each of us as individuals. It was our privilege and honour to accept you into our family, the love in you for Danielle was apparent and we would not have wished for her anyone other than yourself.  "You will live for evermore in the heart of anyone that ever met you, but more so with us. As clichéd as it may appear, when you married Danielle we never lost a daughter but really did gain a son, brother and friend. You are irreplaceable for each of us, we will miss your physical presence but cherish the memories you leave us with. "With the utmost love and respect, from Graham, Brenda, Rachel, Michael and Maria." Joey Callaghan, the best man at LCpl Harkett's wedding to Danielle said: "Chris was the kindest, funniest, most loving person I have ever met; he was always there for me when I needed him and when I was down he always bought me up. I have not only lost my best friend I have lost my brother; it feels like a part of me has gone as well. "Even though you have gone you will always be with me and never be forgotten; love you mate, Joey Callaghan xx." Lieutenant Colonel James Swift OBE, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "Chris was without doubt one of the characters of the Battalion. He was a constant source of good humour and amusement. He was always cheerful, worked tirelessly without complaint, and could always be relied upon to see a job through. He was very well liked in his platoon and throughout the Battalion. Many of us have had the pleasure and honour of knowing him all his life and we will all miss him terribly. All our thoughts and prayers are with his new wife and his family at this tragic time."  Warrant Officer (Second Class) Mark Hughes, Company Sergeant Major and family friend said: "I have known Christopher for almost 19 years. As I was serving with his father Gerwyn, over the years I've watched him grow up to become a fine young man and soldier. "Even as a young boy he was always polite and considerate to others and always had a smile on his face that let everyone know he was enjoying life. It was always pleasure to stop and chat with him. I watched him as a teenager doing karate, which was something he was very good at; I could see then that he would excel in anything he wanted to do. "As a soldier he was achieving all his aims in life with ease, becoming a Lance Corporal was great for Chris as he was able to show everyone his great potential to go far. I was lucky enough to have him under my command last year in the Recce/Sniper platoon. "Always with a smile on his face, he brought bags of morale to the platoon and was the life and soul of the party. He was a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer that led by example, and was first to step up to the mark when C Coy needed more manpower for their deployment. A well liked and loved member of the Battalion, Christopher will be truly missed my all - young, old, past and present.  "My thoughts go out to all Christopher’s family at this very sad time."  Major Sid Welham, Officer Commanding C Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "Lance Corporal Chris 'H' Harkett personified the spirit and character of The Royal Welsh. 'H' was ever smiling and always motivated whatever the situation. At the heart of his Platoon, he was essential to their high morale. Having grown up as a 'son' of the Battalion he was known and liked by all, dealing out constant banter to all ranks. "His resolve of character was clear as a life long Swansea City Football Club fan, never tired of baiting those Cardiff City fans in the Company. His infectious humour and enthusiasm ensured that he provided the best form of leadership to some of the Company's youngest soldiers. "A highly motivated soldier he had been quick to volunteer to serve on the Battalion's first deployment to Afghanistan. 'H' took immense pride in his consummate skill as one of the Company's snipers, always reassuring his Platoon that he would cover their '6' (backs). It was just such a situation that led to his passing, when he selflessly moved into a fire position to cover his mates' advance. "A dedicated family man he constantly spoke with absolute affection of his wife Danielle. Extremely close to his parents, he was outwardly proud of following in his father's footsteps (a former Warrant Officer in the Battalion) and was well on the way to emulating that career. "He is a huge loss to C Company and the Regiment as a whole. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. "'H' Harkett, a huge character, professional soldier, Welsh to the core – a true Welsh Warrior." Captain Alex Rabbitt, 9 Platoon Commander, C Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "I have known 'H' since my arrival at the Battalion and have had the honour of being his Platoon commander in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a trustworthy, professional and reliable soldier with a real passion for sniping. "His final act summed him up as he showed bravery and selfless commitment by pushing across open ground in clear view of the enemy to give covering fire for his friends. His sense of humour meant that he was a friend to all who knew him. "He was always the life and soul of the Platoon and a constant source of morale. My heart goes out to his friends, family and wife Danielle. He will be sorely missed."

Sergeant Geraint Evans, Mortar Platoon Sergeant, C Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "Lance Corporal Harkett, Chris to his friends and family, was quite clearly an outstanding soldier who was always full of life and up for a joke. He first came on the scene at the age of 10 when his father used to ask members of the Platoon to baby-sit for him in Germany. "Even at that young age, he had a soldier's sense of humour. We knew he'd follow in his father's footsteps, following his work experience with me. When he finally came to the Battalion he went straight to a Rifle Company where he discovered his love of sniping; a field in which he excelled, finally joining the Battalion's Sniper Platoon. "He had a passion for Swansea City Football Club, truly following in his father's wake and we always enjoyed our banter about Swansea City and my love of Cardiff City. "It is with great sadness and heartache felt by all who knew Chris that I write this, but my memories will always be of him laughing and joking with all his comrades and friends who served with him." Lieutenant Nick Insall, 7 Platoon Commander, C Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "Lance Corporal Harkett was a key player in the Company. He was always upbeat and could be relied upon to lift the spirits of the guys. I never saw him upset or under the weather. His morale was infectious and it spread to everyone he met. "As a sniper he was on the ball during our first contact, he remained steadfast in an exposed location on a roof as he engaged enemy forces that were attempting to flank us from a building less than 200 meters away. He was a thoroughly robust soldier and an inspiring leader to the friends he now leaves behind. My thoughts are with his family and especially his wife Danielle."  Corporal Stuart Thomas, Sniper Platoon Section Commander, C Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "'H, H, H Harkett The Legend': Harkett was a very good mate and a loving husband, who would always go out of his way to help a friend. He really was an inspiration to us all. I will miss him terribly; I don’t think I will ever forget him. "He was a one-off mate who lived life on the edge and I know he died doing what he loved most [sniping]. Here's to you 'H', (try and keep out of trouble up there mate!)."  Private Gareth Kenniford, fellow soldier in C Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "'H' Harkett, well where do I begin? What a soldier and what a friend! I've known 'H' for all my time in the Army and he was always the life and soul of the party. It's like he was here with us, to keep us going when times were hard. Always helping and making sure you weren’t feeling down, on operations and in camp. "He will be missed massively by me and all of the 2 Royal Welsh soldiers. My thoughts go out to his wife Danielle and his great family that I had the privilege to meet. Love Always Buddy - Kenny." Lance Corporal Dan Mazey, Section Commander and fellow Sniper, C Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "Chris 'H' Harkett was an awesome bloke, always bringing laughter to the whole Company. No matter what the situation, he would always have a smile on his face or be pulling a cheeky little jibe. "Everyone thought that his sole job was to bring morale to whoever he was around, wherever he was, whether it was running naked through the Corporals' Mess, or just entertaining the boys with his impression of a robot on the dance floor. "Working closely with him in Sniper Platoon and also part of a rifle section, I can honestly say that 'H' was an extremely good soldier and an even better friend. We will all miss you so much mate, hope you are now in a place where you’re safe. God be with you mucka, love you!"  Lance Corporal Jeremy Appiah, Section Commander, 7 Platoon, C Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "'H' Harkett to me was the life and soul of any gathering, at work or socially. A 'one hundred percent' selfless friend, he was always willing to go without so that others didn't need to. "Always hyperactive, he told me once that Danielle wouldn't allow him Smarties or orange juice! That I believe. He was by far the funniest man I've met in the Army and always wanted to be in the thick of the action. "It has been an honour to have known him and he'll be in my thoughts forever. The break dancing, 'Day and Night', was massive morale to me and the platoon. We had many an argument over the Swansea City - Cardiff City divide! He was a 'Swan' through and through. "He didn't take life too seriously and he was the only man I never saw wound up or stressed; he found good in every situation. All in all, what a bloke! The Battalion, Army and the World is worse off without you 'H, H, H Harkett'. Rest in peace mate, see you soon. You are simply a legend."  Private Martin Ashford, fellow sniper, C Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "Well where do I start? 'H,H,H Harkett' was a great soldier and an excellent sniper. He would make a laugh and a joke of any situation and he would always put others before himself. "I enjoyed working with him, no matter if I was wet and cold and feeling down, he would always put a smile on my face. He was the morale in Sniper Platoon and in the rest of the Battalion.

"My heart goes out to Danielle who he often talked about, his brother Kyle and his parents. Well my friend, you will be sorely missed and memories of you will never be lost. There will never be another like you. Love you mate."

[ Private Richard Hunt ]

Private Richard Hunt from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh died at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Selly Oak on Saturday 15 August 2009 from wounds sustained in Helmand province two days previously. Private Hunt was wounded as result of an explosion while on a vehicle patrol near Musa Qaleh in Helmand province on the morning of 13 August 2009. Private Richard Hunt, aged 21, was part of a vehicle patrol from A Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, who are working to extend and enforce the writ of the Government of Afghanistan. Private Richard Hunt, 'Hunty', was originally born in Haverford West, but then moved to Abergavenny, which he considered to be his home town and lived there until joining the Army in October 2007. He attended King Henry VIII Comprehensive School and Usk College before starting his training at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick, where he was awarded the Physical Training Prize. He was immensely proud to be both an infanteer, and a member of the Royal Welsh. After completing his training, 'Hunty' was posted to 2 Platoon in A Company, 2 Royal Welsh in April 2008 where he immediately became part of the team. His enthusiasm for soldiering was clear from the outset and he was quickly identified by his platoon staff as a bright, enthusiastic soldier capable of achieving a great deal. After acquitting himself well during a rigorous, but rewarding, period of Public Order training with A Company, Hunty specialised as a Warrior Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle driver, and it was in this role that he exercised extensively in preparation for his challenging deployment on Op HERRICK. Whilst a confident and skilled Warrior driver, Hunty was also fast developing into an excellent sniper and he showed clear leadership potential. When A Company's deployment to Helmand Province was announced, Hunty was amongst the most enthusiastic of the Company's soldiers. He prepared himself as well as possible, and commendably took all he could from the training opportunities offered, actively seeking knowledge and drawing the wisdom from more experienced members of the Company.

Hazel and Phillip Hunt, Private Hunt's parents said: "Richard showed us all his strength of character in many ways, proving to be thoughtful, vain and yet selfless to the end. He proved to us to be a loving son, brother and uncle at all times. "He chose his battles with great thought. His bravado, ironically, masked his natural shyness. In our hearts he will be eternally missed and never replaced. "We'd like to thank all those for their very kind thoughts and prayers from strangers, friends and family at this difficult time. "His may have been the two hundredth death, whilst we have lost our son and brother, our thoughts are also with other injured and bereaved service personnel and their families, at what we know to be one of the most difficult times a family can face. "He will be missed." Commanding Officer 2 R Welsh, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wheeler, said: "The tragic loss of Private Richard Hunt will be hard felt by the Battalion and all those that knew him. Although quiet by nature, he clearly had a passion for soldiering, a true 'Welsh Warrior'. He was enthusiastic and dedicated in all that he pursued and coupled with his natural ability, particularly his robust physical strength, a bright future lay ahead. "Richard was a sincere and selfless soldier, always eager to help his friends and never to let down the team. He worked tirelessly without fuss and was relied upon by many of those around him. He was an excellent soldier and a friend to so many, he will be sadly missed. "At this tragic time our thoughts and prayers are uppermost with his close family and friends." Commanding Officer 2 RRF, Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Calder, said: "Private Richard Hunt had only just arrived in the Battlegroup when he was tragically fatally injured by an IED. He was clearly a proud Welshman and a capable Infantryman with bags of potential. Everyone in Musa Qal'eh sends their heartfelt condolences to his family at this very difficult time." His Company Commander, Major Huw Jones said: "Richard was a fine soldier; fit, professional and extremely brave. He had huge potential and was at the peak of his game, having just completed an arduous and demanding Sniper course. It was typical of him to volunteer to drive a Warrior when the need arose. Despite the danger he threw himself at the task with the boundless enthusiasm and selfless commitment which was his hallmark - he set an example for us all. We have lost a man of great courage and skill, and it has wounded us deeply. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family." His Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Tom Richards said: "Hunty was a popular and influential member of a very close knit platoon; his desperately sad loss will leave a void that for his peers and friends - one and the same - cannot be filled. "Though not the most outgoing of the Platoon's private soldiers, Hunty was dependable, loyal and wise beyond his years. He was one of those lucky few people whose natural talent and intelligence was improved upon by diligence, and an impressive work ethic. He took pride in everything he did, and because of that did everything well; whether mountain biking, climbing or infanteering, he was invariably the 'achiever' that many of us are quietly, but acutely, jealous of. "He died too early in his tour of Afghanistan to enjoy the adventure he craved, and far too early in life to fulfil the potential he clearly possessed by the sack-load. Hunty will never be forgotten by his mates in 2 Platoon, though our pain cannot contend with what his parents and family are experiencing at this terrible time. Our thoughts, and prayers, are with them." Lieutenant Justin Jones, 1 Platoon Commander said: "At the time of this tragic event, Hunty had spent five days attached to my platoon. Although he missed his beloved 2 Platoon, he conducted his duties with a cheerful demeanour that lifted the spirits of those around him. We had travelled together for some four days in arduous conditions, and in that time he displayed a resilience and professionalism that was not just inspiring, but humbling. He joked with me about the arduous nature of our journey, and I was grateful for a cheerful soul to listen to my own complaints. Above all, it was clear Hunty was enjoying himself immensely. He will never be forgotten, and our thoughts are with his family during this tragic time." His Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant Scott Townley said: "Private Hunt was a great soldier and a complete professional. He was really keen to get to Afghanistan and get stuck in. His loss is a tragedy and the Platoon will not be the same without him. He was a true Welsh Warrior. Our thoughts are with his family." Corporal Lee Rees, Section Commander said: "Hunty was a very keen soldier who revelled in his role as a 'sniper'. He always took pride in what he did. Sometimes quiet, he would come out of his shell when he had a few Jack Daniels and would soon have us all laughing. He was a great guy and a true 'Welsh Warrior'. My thoughts go out to his family and friends. 'Gone but never forgotten'." Private Nathan Hollinshead, a close friend said: "Hunt was an amazing soldier and an amazing friend. He was always having a laugh and a joke. When he passed the sniper course he said he wanted to be the first one to fire the sniper rifle out here and live out his dream. I will carry on his dream for him. I will never forget you my friend. All my thoughts go to family and friends. 'We will remember them'." Private Daniel Frowen, a close friend said: "Richard Hunt and myself turned up to Tidworth on the same day, had a room opposite each other and over the past year and a half got on amazingly well - I will miss him so much. My heart goes out to all his family and loved ones and I speak not just for myself but the entire company when I say he will be remembered as a great soldier and a better friend to us all. I know you will keep us safe mate just remember to look down on us all - I promise to do my best. Love you Rich ... Frowen." Private Steffan Williams, a close Friend said: "My thoughts and prayers go out to Rich's family at this time. Rich was in my platoon and I got to know him from the first day he came. He was a great guy and always had a laugh and joke with the rest of the boys and would often join us for a drink with his favourite Jack Daniels whiskey. Rich is going to be greatly missed by everyone in the platoon and I feel privileged to have known him. Rich loved doing what he did and never disappointed, he will always be remembered as a superb, enthusiastic soldier and above all an awesome friend. Rich will always be remembered by everyone, a true Welsh Warrior forever." Private Daniel Obradovic, a close Friend said: "First of all I would like to thank Rich's family for giving me, the platoon and the entire company the pleasure of having met such an unforgettable man. Rich was cracking bloke who was always up for a bit of banter he would quickly become the life in the group and often the party he would love a bit of J.D. I have never seen someone so keen and determined to become a sniper - you could tell just by the way he spoke of snipers how focused he was on becoming one. In my eyes and everyone else's you are 'The Sniper'. Rich will never be forgotten by his family in the Army, A Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh. We have had the honour of calling Rich Hunt one of our own. Hunty mate, you are a Welsh Warrior. You and your family will forever be in our hearts." Private Adam O'Donovan, a close friend said: "Coming out to Afghanistan I really got to know Rich well, we both had a good laugh together and shared the same sense of humour. He would always come out with one liners to get everyone laughing, and to lift everyone's morale. I can remember when we were all talking about safety catches on the weapon, and he came out with "I don't need a safety catch, this is my safety catch" whilst holding out his finger, it was the cheesiest line anyone could come out with and everyone burst out laughing, but we all knew he would say stuff like that just to get a laugh. I hope Rich's family can take pride in him for being such a great soldier, and such a well liked bloke. His death has shocked everyone as we were all hoping and praying for him to pull through, but I know that Rich will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts."

[ Private James Prosser ]

Private James Prosser from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 27 September 2009. Private Prosser died as a result of an explosion that happened during a vehicle patrol in Musa Qaleh district, northern Helmand province. Private James Prosser was born in Cwmbran, on 14 April, 1988 and educated at Llantarnam Comprehensive School before he joined the Army in July 2008. After completing his infantry training at ITC Catterick, Private Prosser joined 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh in February 2009. He was posted to A Company and immediately found a home in 2 Platoon. He was a natural Infanteer and relished his job. Private Prosser was initially employed as a member of a dismounted section before being selected for training as a Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle Driver – a role that he both enjoyed and excelled at – prior to his deployment to Afghanistan in July 2009.  Prosser's confidence and affable manner marked him out as one of the more popular of his peers. Private Prosser was a keen sportsman, and had been a member of Cwmbran Celtics Football Club and Fairwater Falcons Hockey Club. He also enjoyed the cinema and socialising with friends, of which he was never short. A Company's build-up training for its deployment to Afghanistan was both rigorous and demanding; especially for such a junior soldier, but Pte Prosser took each fresh test in his stride, always acquitting himself well. He had a real enthusiasm for soldiering, and had a bright future ahead of him. Private Prosser was killed on 27 September 2009 as a result of an explosion whilst driving his Warrior vehicle in the Musa Qal'eh District of Helmand Province. 

[ Pte James Prosser ]

Hundreds of mourners who could not fit into the packed church for the funeral today lined the streets to pay their respects to the brave young soldier. Local dignitaries joined Pte Prosser's friends and family in St Gabriel's Church, in his home town of Cwmbran, Gwent. The parents of Private Richard Hunt (above), also of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, who was the 200th British troop to die in Afghanistan just over a month before Pte Prosser, also attended. Pte Prosser's Union Jack-draped coffin was carried into the church along with white and red floral tributes spelling the words "Welsh warrior" and depicting the Fleur de Lys. Following the first hymn, 14 of Pte Prosser's closest friends gathered in front of the altar and each read a line of a poem they had written in tribute to him.  The poem told how "Prosser" had changed their lives and included the lines: "Some people will say 'another fallen soldier', we don't agree, you're a great Welsh warrior." Padre Jonathon Daniel read out excerpts from a school essay Pte Prosser's younger brother Josh had written just days before his death in which he spoke of his pride in his sibling. In the essay, Josh wrote: "It took one year for my brother to become a soldier fighting for us and his country. "I'm very proud of him and what he has become in just one year."

The padre added his own thoughts, saying: "Pte James Prosser was a Welsh warrior with whom you could trust your life." 

His family said: "James is a wonderful son and brother, I am so proud of the man he grew to be. He is dearly loved and cherished by his family and his many friends." Statement from James's friends: "We don't know where to start expressing how much you meant, and how much we will miss you. You always were one of the boys and you always will be. "The amount of respect we have for you is indescribable, a true friend and a real hero forever. We all shared so many good memories with you and we can't believe you are not going to be with us anymore. Take care and sleep tight mate. Love as always from the boys." Lieutenant Colonel Didi Wheeler, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh said: "The loss of Private James Prosser to an IED comes as another devastating blow to the Battalion, but more particularly to 2 Platoon, A Company. Although James only joined the Battalion in February this year, he had come to the fore within the company. "He had a boundless sense of humour and was a true character in every sense despite his relative young age. This brave Welsh Warrior will be sorely missed by so many of us. "He enjoyed soldiering and had found his home in A Company amongst so many mates upon whom he had made such an impact in so short a period. At this tragic time our thoughts and prayers turn to his immediate family and close friends." Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Calder, Commanding Officer Battlegroup Northwest said: "The Battlegroup are devastated to have lost Private James Prosser. Not only was he a gifted soldier and capable Warrior driver, he was also a popular and outgoing member of his company.  "He is a huge loss to his fellow Welshmen in Musa Qaleh. Our thoughts are very much with his family at this most tragic time."  Major Huw Jones, Company Commander said: "Private Prosser was fun. His effervescent personality meant that one of his quips was never far from the surface. When they came it was as a bubbling stream of one-liners carrying everyone along with them – I was the victim of his wit more than once. "He was an astute and selfless soldier who always put his fellows ahead of himself. A brave professional, his passing has left a huge hole. I, like the rest of the company will miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family." Lieutenant Tom Richards, 2 Platoon Commander, said: " ‘Pross' was one of the jokers in a Platoon in which all members got along extremely well – the long and creative list of nicknames he quickly accumulated bears testament. "He and his mates had bonded well before the Company's deployment to Afghanistan, but the cohesion that developed once on tour was second to none – Pross was among the Platoon's most prominent characters, and one of those blokes who could always ‘get a laugh', no matter what the situation. His popularity and likeable demeanour make his loss particularly severe. "It is rare that a big character's charisma is matched by professionalism, but Pross was one of those fortunate people who could naturally balance the two; he was quite rightly regarded by all as a model, though very junior infantry soldier. "Pross died when he was twenty-one; far too young to have either enjoyed properly what life had to offer him, or fulfil the potential he clearly possessed. The grief felt by his mates in 2 Platoon is great, and the void left in our lives can never be filled, but it is his parents and siblings that we now hold in our thoughts and prayers. Our pain cannot contend with what they must be experiencing at this awful time." Sergeant Scott Townley, Platoon Sergeant, said: "The Army is made up of characters and Private Prosser was one of those individuals that made the Platoon tick over with his funny, cocky nature. Private Prosser joined the Platoon with great enthusiasm and a desire to be Warrior driver, a role he fulfilled with hard work and in a professional manner. "He was flexible and could, at any time, take up a job at short notice making him a great asset to me and the Platoon Commander. Prosser always brought a smile to my face and to the rest of the Platoon. He will be sorely missed by everyone, especially me. Rest in peace my Brother, God bless." Corporal Neil Collins, Vehicle Commander, said: "Prosser was an excellent soldier. He was the best Warrior driver in the platoon and always gave up his spare time to help the other drivers with their maintenance, no matter what he was doing. "The main thing I will remember about Prosser is his smart comments, which would always bring a smile to your face no matter what the situation. He will be sorely missed by the Platoon and it is a lesser place without him." Corporal Lee Rees, Section Commander, said: "Prosser I can't believe you're gone mate, you brought a smile to everyone's face the moment you opened your mouth. You were a grafter to the end. Gone, but your stories and memories will live on, rest in peace mate, Lee." Lance Corporal James Scowcroft, Section 2I/C, said: "Prosser was an awesome soldier he was always dependable, doing whatever he was told to do. Whilst under contact he showed his strength in getting ammo to allow the GPMG to continue suppressing the enemy. "He was always cracking jokes with us and was good at taking the mickey out of people to keep morale up. He is going to be missed greatly by us all. We all know you are up there resting in peace mate." Private Morgan Evans, close friend, said: "Prosser, a good soldier and an even better friend. We went through training together and arrived in battalion at the same time. He was always laughing and joking with the boys. "He always talked about going out on the weekend and getting drunk in Escapade; he loved going out with his mates. He will be missed by me and all the other lads in the Platoon. My heart goes out to his family and friends; he was well and truly loved by everyone. Nos da, mate good night and God bless you're going to be missed very much." Private Wayne Ellis, close friend, said:  "Pross wasn't just a mate from the Army, he was one of my very true friends and probably the most intelligent. He would always be correcting me on my grammar and my speech, almost to the point of breaking me. "I've known Prosser for over a year now and I can honestly say my life will not be the same without him. R.I.P. mate see you again, but not yet buddy." Private Matthew Hudson, close friend, said: "Private Prosser was one of the most intelligent and funny men I've met and would always be up for a laugh. He was also one of the best friends I've ever worked with. He would joke when times were hard, keep the morale of all the boys up, all while also being a very ‘switched on' soldier. "He will be sorely missed and was loved by all those in the platoon and the rest of the company. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time. R.I.P mate." Private Tallen Williams, close friend, said: "Words can't express how much I'm going to miss you. You were always there to lift the boys' spirits no mater what the situation. Back home in Cwmbran its not going to be the same without you mate. You will always be like a brother to me. Love you loads. Rest in peace mate." Private Benjamin Jaye, close friend, said: "Prosser was a brilliant friend always there to help anyone out who needed it. Whether it be duct-taping someone's door shut or putting polish on the door handles, he was always up for a laugh. He would always be smiling and doing his best to lift morale whenever possible. He will be sorely missed, not only as a mate, but also as a fellow soldier."

[ Fusilier Jonathan Burgess ]

Fusilier Jonathan Burgess, Killed in Afghanistan on 7th April 2010, of Fusilier Jonathan Antony Burgess.  Fusilier Burgess, of 3 Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, died as a result of gun shot wounds, following a small arms engagement in the Nad e Ali area of Helmand Province. At the time, his Multiple was on patrol to disrupt insurgents who were focussed on stopping A Company and their Afghan partners from protecting local communities within the area. Fusilier Jonathan Burgess was born in Swansea, South Wales, on 9 July 1989. He was brought up in Townhill where he attended the local Primary School and Bishop Gore Comprehensive. After school he studied catering and worked in a restaurant. On completion of the Combat Infantryman Course at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, he joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh in May 2008. He was initially posted to Episkopi Garrison, Cyprus. Since joining the Battalion he conducted a demanding overseas exercise to Kenya and also the pre-deployment training package, prior to deploying on Operation HERRICK 11. During his 4 months in Afghanistan Fusilier Burgess had been a key member of 3 Platoon and had conducted both aviation assault and ground holding operations. Fusilier Burgess was engaged to be married to Kelly Forrest. He leaves behind father Royston, mother Susan, sisters Tracy and Suzanne, and brothers David, Christopher and Ashley.


The family of Fusilier Jonathan Burgess, and his fiancée Kelly Forrest, paid the following tribute: "Jonathan was a loving and caring man who enjoyed life to full. He had an infectious smile that would brighten up anyone's day. We were all very lucky to have had such a wonderful person in our lives. he was a much loved son, brother, friend and fiancé and would have been an amazing father to his baby girl. He will be greatly missed by us all. He will always be our hero." Lieutenant Colonel Nick Lock, Commanding Officer 1 ROYAL WELSH Battle Group, said: "Fusilier Jon Burgess was the epitome of a Welsh infantry soldier; fiercely proud of being a Royal Welshman and of the job that he was doing in Afghanistan. A real character in both his Platoon and Company he could always be relied upon to lift the spirits of his mates. He had already shown himself to be a natural leader, stepping up to command when required; he was marked out for early promotion." "He had come into his own in Afghanistan, growing in confidence throughout our time here rising to the many challenges that operations threw at him. He was a tough and dependable field soldier who would always be there for his mates. Jon had been working with his Multiple in the Showal area since the start of Operation MOSHTARAK. They have all made a real difference to the lives of the people in the area, keeping the insurgents at bay and ensuring that the people can live their lives in peace. Jon was killed in a fire fight with insurgents, fighting alongside his comrades as he always did with a cool head and immense courage." "All members of the Battle Group are truly shocked by the news of Jon's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and especially his fiancée Kelly, who is expecting their daughter. They can be justly proud of their Welsh Warrior, greatly missed, but never forgotten." Major Shôn Hackney, Officer Commanding Alpha Company, said: "Fusilier Jon Burgess was one of those soldiers who once you met him you would never forget him. He was the epitome of a cocky, confident and capable young soldier. Always the centre of attention, Fusilier Burgess had an answer for everything and everybody." "Fusilier Burgess had performed excellently throughout our tour in Afghanistan. As a fairly junior soldier he came of age during Operation HERRICK 11. His true abilities came to the fore and it was obvious that he had a bright future in the Battalion. As such he was selected to attend a Junior Non Commissioned Officer's Cadre on return to the UK. He had proved himself on numerous occasions during our various missions. Courageous, strong, fit and cunning, Fusilier Burgess was everything a commander could want of an infantry soldier. He was without doubt an asset to his platoon and the company as a whole." "I consider it a privilege to have known and worked with Fusilier Burgess. My condolences and those of all of the Company Group go out to his family. Whilst we grieve here in Afghanistan, we can only guess at the pain and anguish felt by his family and friends. In particular our thoughts are with his fiancée and their unborn daughter. What I can say with confidence is that Fusilier Burgess was a credit to his family, to the Regiment and to his country. He died fighting alongside his mates. Together, they had made a difference in one small part of Afghanistan. He had helped create the conditions which will allow children to once again play freely and to go to school; conditions where local people can go about their daily lives without the spectre of brutal insurgent control. In his short life Fusilier Burgess has given everything, he has made a difference and we will always remember him." Lieutenant James Dott, Officer Commanding 3 Platoon, said: "I know it's a clichéd thing to say but like most Infantry soldiers Fusilier Jonathan Burgess was a 'loveable rogue'. If there was one word which summed him up it would be 'morale'. He was always at the centre of platoon banter and during periods of downtime I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Fusilier Burgess's tales of weekend mischief from his hometown of Townhill in Swansea. He was definitely one of the characters in my platoon and was liked and respected by all the boys. He was a highly valued member of my platoon and one of the senior Fusiliers, a responsibility to which he rose admirably. It was for this reason he had been selected to attend a JNCO cadre on returning from Operation HERRICK." "Throughout the tour Fusilier Burgess's performance has been first class, always rising to the challenge and fulfilling any task to the best of his ability. Without prompting he would undertake the role of a JNCO and he would never moan or gripe. I am so proud of the progress Fusilier Burgess has made since joining the Battalion and his potential was really beginning to shine, proving he had a lot to offer. I am truly devastated by the death of Fusilier Burgess and his loss will be felt across the Battalion. I will never forget him and it was an honour to serve and fight alongside him. My condolences go out to his fiancée Kelly and his family and friends." Sergeant Steven Cowap, Platoon Sergeant 3 Platoon, said: "Fusilier Burgess was a very good soldier and a highly respected member of the Platoon. When it came to work he was one that worked hard till the task was complete. He was a fit individual and matured every day whilst he conducted pre-deployment training, and more so whilst deployed on Operation HERRICK 11. Due to his efforts and hard work Fusilier Burgess was selected to attend a JNCO Cadre on our return. During this tour Fusilier Burgess was a GPMG Gunner and never shied away from a patrol, never moaned, he just got on with the task in hand and completed it to the best of his ability. If there was a prank or a joke to be had within the Platoon Fusilier Burgess was never far away from the centre of it. Fusilier Burgess will be missed by all from the Royal Welsh, but will never be forgotten. My condolences go to his family and fiancée who is expecting his child in May." His friends in his Multiple, Wizard 13A said: "Jon Burgess, a friend, a colleague and a brother in arms. Jon was a key personality in our multiple and also within A Company. He brought us all laughter and joy and was always keen to get stuck in to any challenge. On patrol he always had the GPMG and as much ammunition as he could carry. Even when told he should give it to someone else to carry, he always refused." "When all the lads were sat down talking about their plans, Jon's main topic was going home and being there for Kelly when she gives birth to their daughter, Abigail; and how he was focused on being the best father and family man he could be. A focus which was unusual for Jon as he was a field soldier and would often find himself in the Adjutant's office in camp for some misdemeanour or another. Out here in Afghanistan Jon Burgess has stood out within the multiple so much that he was put forward for the next JNCO Cadre." "We are all sat here devastated that we will never see Jon again. We cannot even imagine the pain his family and girlfriend Kelly are feeling. We are such a close multiple and today we have lost a brother. The Army has lost one of its finest Welsh Warriors and he was, truly, one of the finest." "Our deepest thoughts are with his fiancée Kelly, his family back in Swansea and his unborn daughter Abigail. Rest in peace mate, we will miss you brother, love from all the boys in W13A" His friend Fusilier Robert Slaney said: "Jon Burgess was a brilliant soldier and an excellent friend. He was full of laughter and a really funny guy. Burgess and I were the multiple GPMG gunners, so there was always a bit of competition between us. Not least with me being a 'North Walian alien' and him being a 'Southy'. We were brilliant basher buddies and he would always lift my morale when I was feeling low. He was a very kind and friendly person who would go out of his way to help you. We shared everything, including my flip flops!" "We would always talk about what we were going to do when we got home. He was a father to be and was really determined to get home and be there for his fiancée Kelly and for the birth of their daughter, Abigail. His other aim was to complete the next JNCO Cadre." "Jon will be sorely missed and losing a good friend has torn us apart as a multiple. I cannot imagine what his fiancée and family are going through right now, but I know my memories of Jon will be the greatest and my heart goes out to all his loved ones. Rest in peace South Walian alien, I'll miss you." His friend Fusilier Georgie Ullah said: "I will always remember being sat around the table in the Check Point. Burgess always had some comment to make and you'd literally be in tears of laughter. He had an infectious personality and he really grew on me in Afghanistan. I found that as I got to know him that he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was desperate to get home and prove to Kelly that he could be a good Dad and partner." "Burgess listened a lot to a song called Travelling Soldier. I think it meant something to him, given his circumstances. I am going to miss you big lad, your family will be proud of you I am sure."

Lyrics | Dixie Chicks - Travelin’ soldier lyrics

Two days past eighteen He was waitin' for the bus in his army greens Sat down in a booth a cafe there Gave his order to the girl with a bow in her hair He's a little shy so she gave him a smile And he said would you mind sittin' down for a while And talkin' to me I'm feelin' a little low She said I'm off in an hour and I know where we can go So they went down and they sat on the pier He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don't care I've got no one to send a letter to Would you mind if I sent one back here to you? I cried Never gonna hold the hand of another guy Too young for him they told her Waitin' for the love of the travelin' soldier Our love will never end Waitin' for the soldier to come back again Never more to be alone When the letter says a soldier's comin home So the letters came From an army camp In California then Vietnam And he told her of his heart It might be lovin' All of the things he was so scared of Said when it's gettin kinda rough over here I think about that day sittin' down at the pier And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile Don't worry but I won't be able to write for a while I cried Never gonna hold the hand of another guy Too young for him they told her Waitin' for the love of the travelin' soldier Our love will never end Waitin' for the soldier to come back again Never more to be alone When the letter says a soldier's coming home (Martie's fiddle break - Emily's dobro break) One Friday night at a football game The Lord's Prayer said and the anthem sang A man said folks would you bow your heads For the list of the local Vietnam dead Cryin' all alone under the stands Was the piccolo player in the marching band And one name read and no body really cared But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair I cried Never gonna hold the hand of another guy Too young for him they told her Waitin' for the love of the travelin' soldier Our love will never end Waitin' for the soldier to come back again Never more to be alone When the letter says a soldier's comin I cried Never gonna hold the hand of another guy Too young for him they told her Waitin' for the love of the travelin' soldier Our love will never end Waitin' for the soldier to come back again Never more to be alone When the letter says a soldier's comin home