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[ Trooper Ashley David Smith ]

Trooper Ashley David Smith from The Royal Dragoon Guards, Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, was killed in Afghanistan on Friday, 18 June 2010. Trooper Smith, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), was providing security to his colleagues during a task to improve the field of view around a Check Point when he was struck by an explosion. Trooper Ashley David Smith was 21 years old. Born and raised in York, he enlisted into the Army on 17 March 2008 and attended Phase 1 training at the Army Training Regiment (Winchester) before moving to the Armour Centre in Dorset to train as a Challenger 2 Gunner. He passed out from Phase 2 training in November 2008 and moved straight to Catterick to join The Royal Dragoon Guards. He was posted to D (The Green Horse) Squadron, equipped with Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks. He participated in low level exercises around Catterick and then deployed to Canada as part of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards Battle Group on Exercise Medicine Man 2, where he was employed as the Troop Leader's Gunner. On return from Canada, Trooper Smith's Squadron was selected to become the Viking Group for Operation HERRICK 12.  Trooper Smith completed all the Mission Specific Training for Op HERRICK 12 with D Squadron, including qualifying as a Viking Driver and Commander. He deployed to Camp Bastion in early June 2010, where the Viking Group are based. As an independent Brigade sub-unit, one of the roles of the Viking Group is to support Operations across Central Helmand. On 15 June 2010, 4th Troop D Squadron was tasked to provide mobility support to Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South) in the vicinity of Patrol Base 1. This is an area with a high threat from insurgent activity. On Friday 18 June 2010, 4th Troop was tasked to provide protection on foot for a patrol that was conducting a clearance operation in order to increase security to the local population in the vicinity of Check Point KINGSHILL. At 1307 hours on 18 June 2010 an explosion occurred and Trooper Smith was killed in action.

 Trooper Ashley David Smith's parents Sandra and Dave Smith and family said: "Trooper Ashley Smith was the youngest of a very close family and doted on his parents. He worked hard and was passionate about what he was doing and proud of all he had achieved. "He cared deeply about his family and the many friends he had in the Army and in his home city of York. Everyone that knew Ashley loved him and he was the best son any mother and father could have wished for and a loving brother to his brothers and sisters. "Ashley will be sorely missed and we are immensely proud of our son." Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, Commanding Officer The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "Trooper Ashley Smith was a highly impressive young man; he was full of energy, very popular and tremendously good company. He was a Yorkshireman who decided to join his local Regiment after a short spell as a civilian working in York. "He arrived in Catterick, North Yorkshire at about the same time that I took command of the Regiment. He loved the camaraderie that  the Regiment offered and he loved soldiering. "But he had other passions, chief of which were his family and basketball. In his teens he played basketball for the York Vikings and a  promising career beckoned, but in the end he opted for service in his local Cavalry Regiment. "His other great passion was his family and friends. He often said that his family was the most important part of his life. "Trooper Ashley Smith died on patrol in southern Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand Province doing the job he loved, alongside his mates. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, brothers, sisters and girlfriend whom he loved dearly. He will be missed by us all and his sacrifice will never be forgotten." Major Denis James, Officer Commanding Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "Trooper Smith, Ash or Smithy as he was originally nicknamed, was a friend to anyone who got to know him. He was a quiet, unassuming individual with a winning smile and that is how he will be remembered, laughing and smiling with his friends in 4th Troop. He was a resolute, principled and above all a kind man. "Although his admin could go amusingly awry, he threw himself into the demanding training that was undertaken in preparation for his deployment to Afghanistan. He was utterly dependable, completely professional and a joy to know. He was the perfect mate with whom to share a pint, yet utterly dependable in a crisis. Ash was very proud of his Yorkshire roots and the fact he was serving in Yorkshire's Cavalry Regiment. "The most fitting epitaph for Trooper Smith is that he died a brave death. He volunteered to join a team clearing a location known to be sown with Improvised Explosive Devices. We feel for his family at this difficult time; however, we in the Viking Group will mourn him when we return home. "Until then, his sacrifice will inspire us. It has stiffened our resolve to defeat the insurgency and to help the people of Helmand. We will remember him." Lieutenant Nicholas Chew, 4th Troop Leader, Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron said: "Ashley was the first soldier I ever got to know. We arrived at the Regiment on almost the same day and subsequently always ended up together. It started when, as a new Officer in the Regiment, I went on a trip to a memorial service to Cruelly in Normandy and Trooper Smith accompanied me. He and I got to know each other in the very emotional setting of the D-Day landings. "It was here that I got my first understanding of his good natured heart. As we stood to attention at the various services, he always had a tear in his eye as they read out the names of our Regimental heroes from 60 years ago. "Again we found ourselves together and were part of the same Tank crew in Canada. We then endured the tough pre-deployment training for Afghanistan. "Therefore, I have always held a particular bias for Trooper Smith and his death has hit me hard. Ash was one of those people whom you knew was kind of heart and always well-meaning. He was a sensitive guy that would never wish ill on anyone. However, the most delightful thing about Trooper Smith was how he found interest and enchantment in the smallest pleasures in life. "Things that most of us would brush past without a second glance, he could immerse himself in for an age. "He always wanted to do the extraordinary things because he had an outlook on life that said it is ‘not worth being unhappy over'. He wanted to do all the interesting jobs from play basketball professionally to being a fireman to becoming a military dog handler. "It is only now that I understand the true meaning of the word courage; Ash never complained and just kept smiling." Sergeant Richie Wales, 4th Troop Sergeant, Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron said: "I knew Ash from when he joined the Troop in Canada last year. Like all the Troopers he was one of my mates. I remember Ash well as I was always pleasantly surprised that nothing ever got him down. He was one of the most positive characters I've ever met and, as a new Troop Sergeant that type of soldier is worth his weight in gold. He was one of the good guys. "Ash was exactly the type of soldier I wanted in my Troop on Operations. Proactive and always with a smile on his face, he represented the best of the Regiment. His death has shocked us all but we will pull together as a Troop to get through this awful time. The best therapy is remembering the positives, of which there are so many. "Ash was overwhelmingly a family man and our thoughts go out to his parents, brothers and sisters, and his girlfriend Sarah. He was a real D Squadron man; brave, cheerful and determined not to let down his mates when times got tough. We won't forget you Ash; go well, wherever you are." Trooper Graham Tingley, 4th Troop, Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron said: "Ash Smith was a very popular person. He was a good friend to many people and would do anything for anyone. You would never see anything other than a smile on his face even when times got hard, he would still be able to make you laugh. "Ash was a supremely talented sportsman but he especially enjoyed playing basketball. He always loved to show you new tricks with a  basketball and then enjoy watching us try and generally fail at them. He could give and take banter and was always quick with a comeback. He will be missed by us all but never forgotten." Trooper Michael Noonan, 4th Troop, Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron said: "Ash was a good mate to all who came into contact with him. His natural talent as a sportsman and his great sense of humour made sure he had plenty of friends within the Squadron. He loved to laugh, even when the going got tough, but he was dedicated to the Troop and wanted to be in Afghanistan with the boys. "Ash was madly in love with his girlfriend Sarah and my thoughts go out to her and Ash's family. He was a true hero, gone now, but remembered forever."


[ Trooper James Anthony Leverett ]

Trooper James Anthony Leverett of D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, The Royal Dragoon Guards, was killed in Afghanistan on Monday 5 July 2010. Trooper Leverett was killed in an explosion when his Viking armoured vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. The incident occurred while Trooper Leverett and his troop were providing security for the building of Route Trident in support of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battle Group. The route is crucial as it links the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, with the economic hub of Gereshk. Once completed, it will allow local Afghans to travel and trade more freely and securely, boosting development and prosperity. Trooper James Anthony Leverett, 'Lev' or 'Levy' to his mates, was 20 years old. He was born in Great Yarmouth and grew up in Sheffield and Rotherham. Having worked as a plasterer's labourer after leaving school, he joined the Army at 18 in May 2008, attending the Army Training Regiment, Winchester. On completion of his time at Winchester, he attended the Armour Centre in Dorset where he qualified as a Challenger 2 tank driver. He joined D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Royal Dragoon Guards, in January 2009. Tpr Leverett deployed on Exercise Medicine Man 2 in 2009 with D (The Green Horse) Squadron. On return from a successful exercise in Canada, he was selected as a member of the Viking Group for Op HERRICK 12. He completed Mission Specific Training for HERRICK 12, qualifying as a Viking crewman with 1st Troop. He deployed to Afghanistan in early June 2010. Tpr Leverett leaves behind his parents, Neville and Sharon, his three brothers, Neville, Lewis and Jack, and his girlfriend, Tiffany, who is due to give birth to their first child in September.

[ James ]

The family and friends of Trooper Leverett have made the following statement: "James was strong-minded and determined. Whatever he set his mind to, he kept on trying until he achieved his goal. He was very likeable and had many friends in and out of the Army. "He was a loving son to mum Sharon, father Neville and step-dad Tony, and loyal brother to Neville, Lewis, Jack and stepbrother Shane, and being the oldest brother was someone that they looked up to. He was also the adoring boyfriend of Tiffany and proudly looking forward to the birth of his son. "We will miss him so much and he will always be loved and remembered."

Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, Commanding Officer, The Royal Dragoon Guards, said: "Trooper James Leverett (known as Levy) was a Royal Dragoon Guard of significant potential. He had only been with the regiment for 18 months but in this short time he had more than made his mark. He was a model soldier. "Whenever I spent time with D Squadron, Trooper Leverett was always pushed to the front as his Squadron Leader recognised that Levy had all the qualities associated with a modern-day Armoured Corps trooper. "He was young, bright, robust, fit, brave, intelligent and tremendously popular. He was not afraid to speak his mind, but he always did so  in a balanced and measured fashion. However, it was the twinkle in his eye and his quick wit that I will really remember; the fact is that he had more than enough professional attributes to get away with it. He loved the regiment and his fellow soldiers, and he also loved his family very dearly. "Trooper James Leverett died on operations in southern Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand province. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, girlfriend and unborn child. He will never be forgotten by his many friends. We will remember him. Quis Separabit." Major Denis James, Officer Commanding D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Trooper James 'Levy' Leverett was one of life's characters. He was great company, had a wicked sense of humour, and was totally suited to life in the regiment. He had been steadfast throughout our intensive training and during operations on the tour, and was an extremely tough and resilient soldier. He was a man of the highest quality and was to be recommended for promotion to Lance Corporal. "He was a giant of an individual, and excelled at rugby in his youth. However, his focus in life was his girlfriend, Tiffany, and he spoke about her often. He was excited at the prospect of the birth of their first child and had planned his R&R [Rest & Recuperation] around it. He was also close to his mother, Sharon, and loved both of his parents dearly.  "Levy died a soldier, fighting the enemy. He was an incredibly brave man, and his spirit and deeds will inspire this squadron for the remainder of the tour, and the regiment forever. We will mourn him when we return home; our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Trooper James Leverett will always be remembered as his photograph shows him; a strong man, smiling and joking, amongst his friends in 1st Troop. Quis Separabit." Captain Iain Monk, 1st Troop Leader, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Trooper James Leverett embodied everything that it meant to be a part of 1st Troop. He was kind and caring and had an immense sense of humour that, without fail, would always raise the troop's morale during tough times. His peers looked up to him and he was respected by those above him. He would always check on me, making sure I had thought of everything, and he would always let me know how the lads were doing; he was always looking after people. "I will miss his infectious smile and the way he would turn down the cigarettes I offered him because they were 'officers' fags', and he would say 'not for me like', the stubborn man that he was. "He would talk to me about his unborn baby and how he was looking forward to watching his child grow up. He was a friend to all and we will miss him greatly. A massive hole has been left in the troop which will never be filled. Quis Separabit." Sergeant Scotty Dyer, 1st Troop Sergeant, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "I first met Trooper James Leverett when he arrived at the regiment in January 2009. Initially he was a quiet individual but that was not to last! Very quickly he established himself as a key character within our troop. He was every bit a 1st Troop soldier; professional, generous and always willing to help others. He also had an uncanny knack of being able to crack a joke and make people smile, particularly when times were hard. "I have met many people in my time in the Army, but seldom people with the ability to make fun of you, and for it always to be funny, but that was Lev all over. "We all have happy memories, from him mocking his Commander's Barnsley accent to the time we went to Catterick Races and he managed to be the only person to back a winner, something he reminded us about for the rest of the day. Our thoughts are with his family and his girlfriend Tiffany who is expecting their first child. "There is now a void within the Troop which will be hard to fill. We have lost a friend, a comrade and an amazing solider. Quis Separabit." Lance Corporal Liam Hudyma and Trooper Sacha Hill, 1st Troop, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Lev 'The Slammer' Leverett was the most straight down the line man we knew, but he would always make us smile. He was more than just a bit of a comedian; he was quick-witted and was a 'one phrase wonder', having you in stitches for hours. He was cheeky with all ranks, and could, at a stroke, raise morale; like asking the Squadron Leader to grease his Viking 'because I'm busy and you've being doing nowt'. "He was always at the centre of the banter and good craic. At the same time, he was a man with an ear for problems. He was so easy to talk to that, when we were down, we would go to Levy for morale, and he would have us cheered up in seconds. "He loved to wrestle and slam folk into the floor, no matter how big they were, and he enjoyed playing football with the lads, even with his tree-trunk legs. But it was on FIFA Football that he saw himself as a real sporting legend. "His family was his life, and his most treasured possession was his photo album from home. He was from a big but close family and loved to talk to his troop about becoming a dad. He loved his girlfriend Tiffany. He was a key figure in 1st Troop of D (The Green Horse) Squadron, and he was proud to be a Royal Dragoon Guard. Quis Separabit." Trooper Kieran Collinson, 1st Troop, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said:

"No matter how much you annoyed Levy he was always good to you. He had a love for using his thunderous thighs to body slam people to the ground. He had an infectious smile which always cheered me up. He was good at taking the mickey out of people and no matter how far he went it was always funny. "He was a kind and caring person who looked after his own and would always help those in trouble. Friends come and go but Levy was more than just a friend. He is leaving Tiffany, who is pregnant with a baby. We will make sure that his child knows he was a hero. "Wherever he was, he always had his friends around him and you knew something was about to happen, like the night before his death managing to buy a melon on 'tick' from the Afghan National Army, and then proceeded to chase me around the tank park trying to smash it over my head. I like to think that he is looking down now laughing at the fact that he never even paid for it! Levy you will be deeply missed. Quis Separabit."


[ Sergeant David Thomas Monkhouse ]

Sergeant David Thomas Monkhouse, from The Royal Dragoon Guards, was killed in Afghanistan, yesterday, Saturday 17 July 2010. Sergeant Monkhouse, serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North), was killed in an explosion in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province. Sergeant David Thomas Monkhouse, known as Bob to everyone in the Regiment, was 35 years old. He was born in 1974 in Carlisle and raised in his home town of Aspatria. He attended Beacon Hill Secondary School and on leaving school at 16 he joined the Junior Leaders' Regiment in Bovington. On 31 July 1992, he joined The 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards as a Chieftan Gunner, shortly before it was amalgamated into The Royal Dragoon Guards. Throughout his colourful career he served on four tours in Northern Ireland and in Iraq in 2007. He qualified as a Regimental Combat Medical Technician Class 1. He has been the stalwart of the Regimental Medical Centre, providing enthusiasm and initiative in keeping the Regiment medically fit. On Saturday 17 July 2010, the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) was conducting a patrol to reduce the intimidation of the local population. At 0445hrs Sergeant Monkhouse was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and killed in action. He leaves behind his mother, Bobby, his sister Deborah, his partner Fiona and the love of his life, his daughter, Daisy-Twinkle. The family of Sergeant Monkhouse said: "For David, the Army was his life, second only to his daughter. He was the ultimate father and friend to Twinkle, more proud of her than anything else. His devotions were equally divided between his beloved Twinkle and his beloved Regiment, the Royal Dragoon Guards. "He was an exceptional soldier and loving and devoted parent. He would not have changed his life for anything. David was also a loving son and brother and leaves behind his Mum, sister and extended family as well as his daughter."

 

Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, Commanding Officer The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "I have known Sergeant 'Bob' Monkhouse for 18 years. When he first joined the Regiment he was a right character; he was routinely in front of the Regimental Sergeant Major for all the wrong reasons, but about 10 years ago he decided to really make a go of the Army and aspire for the higher ranks. He was a Royal Dragoon Guard who had a passion for combat medicine. He became the Regimental Medical Sergeant and he was respected by us all. He was one of the few people in the Regiment that everyone knew. "He had completed tours in Iraq and Northern Ireland, and he made no secret of his desire to deploy to Afghanistan. He volunteered to become the principal medic within the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, a hand-picked bunch of men drawn from across 4th Mechanized Brigade. "Selection was fierce but Bob was more than up to the challenge and he deployed to Helmand Province in March 2010. I saw him only a month ago; he was clearly having the time of his life, and we chatted and laughed as old friends do. "But whilst Bob's passion for soldiering and medicine was significant, it did not come close to his love for his daughter Twinkle. He talked of her incessantly. She was his everything. She will be distraught and devastated by her father's death but she can be hugely proud of her father, for he was a great man. "Sergeant Bob Monkhouse died on a patrol that was providing security to enable new roads and security bases to be constructed to the north-east of Gereshk. Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother, sister, girlfriend and beloved daughter. We will miss him hugely but his sacrifice will never be forgotten. Quis Separabit." Major Marcus Mudd, Officer Commanding The 4th Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Force said: "Sergeant Monkhouse was a man mountain; our medic, a father figure and to all of us he was a true friend. A larger than life character, his ready smile and hearty laugh belied an exceptionally robust and efficient core. He loved his job and his role within the Brigade Reconnaissance Force; he was a consummate professional. "Cool and effective under fire, Sergeant Monkhouse continually placed himself where the fighting was at its fiercest in order that he could best treat the Squadron's casualties. His presence on operations gave the men of the squadron enormous confidence and he set a fine example for the younger soldiers of the BRF, always putting the needs and welfare of others before his own safety. "Sergeant Monkhouse died on the frontline of an operation which was designed to bring peace and security to the people of Nahr-e-Saraj. His loss will be keenly felt within the Squadron that he was so much a part of and yet the grief of his comrades cannot compare to that of his family and it is with them, in particular his daughter Daisy, that all our thoughts and prayers are at this time. He was an exceptional soldier and he will not be forgotten." Major Elspeth De Montes, Regimental Medical Officer, The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "Sergeant David Monkhouse, known to all as Bob, found out I was going to be Regimental Medical Officer, The Royal Dragoon Guards before I did - a good Medical Sergeant knows everything and is a step ahead of his 'Boss'. Bob was a real character, legendary within the Regiment and proprietor of a unique ability to source kit through his many connections. "Sergeant Monkhouse welcomed me into the Regiment with an RDG rank slide, a history lesson about his Regiment and a sign for my door in Regimental colours. He was immensely proud of two things; The Royal Dragoon Guards and his daughter. "Bob was thrilled when he was chosen to be a medic on the front line in Afghanistan as he relished the opportunity to show his skills both as a soldier and medic. He was courageous, assured and willing to risk himself to look after others. Bob was much more than my Medical Sergeant or a colleague, he was my friend. The Royal Dragoon Guards have lost one of their own today and the Regiment will be forever altered. Bob was unique and will not be forgotten." Major Graeme Green, former Officer Commanding The Prince of Wales's Squadron, The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "Sergeant "Bob" Monkhouse was a doting father, loving son and uncompromising soldier. The love for his daughter Twinkle, was only matched but never surpassed by his passion for soldiering and his utter professionalism as a Combat Medical Technician, for which he was at the very pinnacle of his career. "His volunteering for and subsequent selection by the Brigade Reconnaissance Force to be their medic provided Bob with all the professional challenges he wished for. He relished the austerity and danger his role provided. The expectation and responsibility he felt to  his colleagues was only matched by his desire to make his daughter and family proud. "Even as a fresh faced trooper volunteering to serve in Northern Ireland, he never lost any of his youthful enthusiasm. Fatherhood only spurred him on and it is testament to his stoic resolve, that he managed the pressures of soldiering and the complexities of being a single parent. "Fare thee well" old friend as you enter Valhalla with sword in hand." Captain Dominic Davey, Operations Officer, The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "Sergeant Monkhouse was a character. From the moment I met him, I saw his infectious enthusiasm for soldiering reflect in everything he did. He would pop into the play-pen for a chat; you could never have a chat with Bob, there was always a sales pitch. I can't fault him; stubborn as he was, he was always trying to make someone or something better. "Whether he was teaching soldiers to be Team Medics or using my arm as a pin cushion, he was consummately professional. When I asked him, "Why so keen?" there was only one answer, "Twink." His loyalty to his daughter was unflinching. His determination to succeed and make his daughter proud of him was inspiring. There is a huge Bob shaped hole in the Regiment that we will not even attempt to fill. We will remember him fondly. Fare thee well." Warrant Officer Class 1 William Kelly, Regimental Sergeant Major, The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "I have known Sergeant 'Bob' Monkhouse since he joined the Regiment. He loved the Army, The Royal Dragoon Guards and being part of the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess. He was never short of a story when you had the pleasure of his company; his large character and presence will be sorely missed by all that knew him. "He was ideally suited to his role in the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, helping others with his superior medical skills on the front line where he wanted to be. "Deepest sympathy from the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess and myself go to his daughter Twinkle and his family. He will not be forgotten. Quis Separabit." Warrant Officer Class 2 Anthony McCormack, Squadron Sergeant Major, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Royal Dragoon Guards said: "Dave 'Bob' Monkhouse was a giant of a man, and had a story for every occasion. He was very proud to be a Royal Dragoon Guard, and particularly so to be a member of the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess. "He was a noble man, and it is fitting that his job was to treat injured soldiers and civilians on the battlefield. Everyone who knew him understands that he had at last found his niche in life, working in the Brigade Reconnaissance Force. He was very proud of what he'd achieved with them, and so were we all. It is true to say that he made a very real difference in Helmand, to the people and to the soldiers he worked alongside on a daily basis. "However, the focus of his life was his daughter 'Twink'. He gave up everything he had for her and to be with her, he loved her deeply. "He died a brave man, and that is how he will be remembered by everyone in the Regiment, now and forever. Quis Seperabit." Staff Sergeant Steve McKinley RDG, Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant, 4th Mechanised Brigade Reconnaissance Force said: "Bob always had a story to tell, most of which would involve drinking and his blackberry. Bob fancied himself as a bit of a wide boy, a player, but to his close friends he was just Bob, a soldier like many of us that refused to grow up. "He was outgoing and full of life and took deep pride in everything he achieved. Bob was very much the regimental man; he loved his Regiment and was very proud to be a Royal Dragoon Guard with tattoos over his body, and his home being like a regimental museum proved it. "Bob joined the Brigade Reconnaissance Force as a medic, to which he played his role well. He was a first class medic and the years of experience under his belt made him an invaluable asset. I just knew that if I had ever become wounded that I was in safe hands with Bob in the team and I know the troop felt the same. "Making it into the BRF was, for Bob, the single and best thing he had ever managed to achieve. Only a few weeks ago, on R&R, Bob said that making it into the BRF was the best thing he had ever done. Regimental life just wouldn't be enough for him now, such was his ambition. "My heart goes out to Bob's family and daughter who he leaves behind. Bob was a loving father. He always put his daughter first and made sure she wanted for nothing; only the best would do for his princess."


[ Corporal Matthew James Stenton from the Royal Dragoon Guards and Lance Corporal Stephen Daniel Monkhouse ]

Corporal Matthew James Stenton from the Royal Dragoon Guards and Lance Corporal Stephen Daniel Monkhouse from 1st Battalion Scots Guards were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, 21 July 2010. Corporal Matthew James Stenton (left) and Lance Corporal Stephen Daniel Monkhouse (right) The two soldiers were killed on Wednesday evening when members of The Royal Dragoon Guards and 1st Battalion Scots Guards were providing security to the building of Route Trident in the Basharan, north of Lashkar Gah. Corporal Stenton, of Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, was commanding a Viking Armoured vehicle that was part of a cordon to facilitate the exploitation of a number of IEDs and Lance Corporal Monkhouse, of Combined Force Lashkar Gah, was the gunner of a Coyote vehicle when insurgents shot and wounded a member of ISAF. Corporal Stenton manoeuvred his vehicle in order to lay down fire and extract the casualty, and Lance Corporal Monkhouse provided fire support in order to allow the evacuation to take place. Tragically, as the casualty was being extracted, Corporal Stenton and Lance Corporal Monkhouse were both killed by small arms fire.

[ Corporal Matthew James Stenton ]

Corporal Matthew James Stenton was 23 years old. He was born and raised in Wakefield, where he went to Wakefield Cathedral High School. On leaving school he joined the Army and attended the Army Training Regiment (Harrogate). On completion of Phase 2 training in May 2004, he joined The Royal Dragoon Guards (RDG). On arrival at the Regiment, he successfully completed Mission Specific Training before deploying with the Regimental Battlegroup on Operation TELIC 5. This was followed by a move to Reconnaissance Troop and deployment on Operation TELIC 11. He later passed his Challenger 2 MBT Crew Commanders' course, and then deployed with the Viking Group on Operation HERRICK 12 as a Viking Commander in Viking Group, D (The Green Horse) squadron. Matty leaves behind his father and stepmother, Michael and Gillian, and his sister, Charlotte.  Corporal Stenton's family paid the following tribute to him: "A loving son, brother and grandson who will be dearly missed. Matthew always took life in his stride and never lost sight of the important things in life his family and friends. "Matthew died how he lived his life, surrounded by his friends. We are so proud of Matthew and it comes as no surprise to us to hear that he died whilst trying to help one of his fellow comrades.  "You will always be in our hearts and minds, love you always Dad, Gillian and Charlotte."

Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, Commanding Officer RDG, said: "I have only known Corporal Matt Stenton for two years but such was the impression he made on me I feel as if I've known him for much longer. "He cared passionately for the soldiers under his command, and he would insist rightly that their needs were paramount, no matter what the circumstances. "Matt loved soldiering. He loved the camaraderie associated with a tight-knit group of well trained and highly focused individuals. Only 23 years old and already he had completed two operational tours, both in Iraq, and he was desperate to deploy to Afghanistan. "However, he was required to complete his Challenger 2 Crew Commanders' course before boarding the plane for Helmand, and this pained him deeply as he would not join D (The Green Horse) Squadron until they had been in Theatre for about six weeks. "Matt only arrived in central Helmand earlier this month. True to character he deployed with his troop the minute his in-theatre training was complete. He was now where he wanted to be – with his men, sharing in their endeavours, both good times and bad. "It was typical of Corporal Matt Stenton that on the afternoon of Wednesday 21st July 2010 he was yet again looking out for those more junior than himself. He died in command of an armoured vehicle whilst successfully extracting a casualty and laying down fire on an insurgent position. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will miss him hugely but his sacrifice will never be forgotten. "Quis Separabit."  Major Denis James, Officer Commanding D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Cpl Matthew Stenton was an uncomplicated man and the kindest of friends; he was also a hard, tenacious soldier who always fought for what he believed in. "He could entrance his audience with his tails of daring do from the weekend beforehand. His smile could light up any situation; he would willingly challenge senior officers on living conditions of junior soldiers. "Last year when times were hard on exercise in Canada, he found and fixed a civilian car normally used for urban training, disappeared for an hour and returned with a boot full of cake for the soldiers. It is his generosity and spirit we will remember the most. He loved his family dearly and would often talk of them. Our thoughts are with them at this sad time. "It is no surprise to anyone who knew him that he died rescuing a wounded comrade whilst simultaneously engaging insurgents at close quarters; in life and in death he epitomised the spirit of The Royal Dragoon Guards and his sacrifice will inspire us forever. "Quis Separabit."  Captain Iain Monk, 1st Troop Leader, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Cpl Matthew Stenton was an inspirational soldier. He looked the part but, most importantly, acted the part. He lived to be out in the field and was enthusiastic about passing on his knowledge to those junior to him. He set an excellent example. He had a zest for life and always walked around with a twinkle in his eye. He would always have an idea or plan to make everyone's lives more enjoyable. "When in Canada he snuck in a field kitchen to get six large boxes of cakes. When he returned to the Squadron with his find, everyone's faces lit up. He will be missed as a role model, a soldier, but most importantly a friend. "Quis Separabit."  Lieutenant James Hollas, 3rd Troop Leader, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "I had Cpl Stenton under my command for just three weeks, but even this was more than enough time to see the true measure of the man. He was the sort of commander that a Troop Leader wants; headstrong, but never reckless, steadfast in his convictions, and always forthcoming with sound advice, whether asked for or not. "He was a terrific soldier, and an exemplary character for the younger commanders to model themselves on. He will be sorely missed by his brothers in 3rd Troop. "Quis Separabit."  Sergeant Scott Dyer, 1st Troop Sergeant, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Cpl Matthew Stenton is what I can only describe as an amazing soldier. His drive and focus was an inspiration to us all. Always the first to volunteer, he led from the front and never let anything break his enthusiasm, even when times were hard. "Having recently passed his Challenger 2 Commanders' Course, we had not seen him for a while, but as soon as we he did he was  straight over with a smile and an open ‘I've missed you all'. "I have fond memories of Matty from the time when he met a senior officer and did nothing but complain about the heating in his  accommodation, to Canada where all of us were tired and he appeared with a box full of cake, taking the mood that night to an all time high! These are just two examples of how much he loved the lads and would do anything to help them. "We have lost a comrade, a friend and an amazing soldier who died a brave death defending an injured comrade. His love for the Regiment was inspirational and his memory will always live on with us. Cpl Matty Stenton was a true hero. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. "Quis Separabit."  Sergeant Stuart Wright, Reconnaissance Troop, RDG, said: "Matt Stenton was one of my closest friends. I first came to know him when he came to Recce Troop as a very keen young soldier and always had a willingness to know more and learn more.  "During his time in Recce troop he was the Troop Leader's driver and like myself always keen to be off the vehicle and on his feet, which showed he was very adaptable in any job or tasking we were given and never did I get any complaints about either. "One thing we did manage was to keep our crew on hard routine for the whole of a Poland exercise with temperatures as low as minus 15C. He never complained, even when we were both in a huddle trying to keep warm whilst laughing about how nasty treacle pudding tasted cold! Not that he stopped laughing and so neither could I! "Whilst serving with Matt through the years, we were very close friends and never had any bad times. He always had high aspirations and he had achieved a lot in the time he served. He had just finished his Tank Commanders' Course and I know how proud he was, but seeing him just two weeks ago all he wanted was to be out on the ground with his friends on the front line. I am sure Matt would have acted without thinking about his own safety because he had the ‘get up and get it done' attitude. "Matt was a true friend and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him and my thoughts now go out to his family and the remaining lads still serving in Afghanistan."  Corporal Nathan Stead, Reconnaissance Troop, RDG, said: "I first met Matty when he came to Recce Troop when we rejoined after a long hard tour of Iraq. Matt was well suited to this job; he loved being on his feet, sitting in wet OPs, getting dirty and the hours of no sleep and hard routine. "He provided on many occasions accurate and timely information to influence the battlefield in our favour. He lived, slept and ate Recce! "Matt was without doubt the most outstanding soldier I have ever met. He was a true friend and a joy to be around. "It was when we both deployed to TELIC 11 on Task Force Spartan that I really got to know Matt the most; he was my second in command. Just knowing that Matt was behind me every step of the way was a comfort, we did everything together. Many people referred to us as a couple. "He would bring light to any darkened room; it was just his character to make everything a laugh. "In the end Matt had achieved his only dream in the Army, to be a tank commander, a damn good one at that. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his Queen and country; we will never forget, we will remember! I will miss you Matt, you will be dining in glory tonight!"  Lance Corporal Damian Bailey, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Matty epitomised the modern day soldier; a professional through and through. He would never shy away from anything. Fighting from the front was the way he lived and died. "You could rely on Matty to be the first to voice his opinion on behalf of the group; he was a lovable rogue and the sort of solider you just needed around to help you through the good and the bad days. "Matty would do anything for the lads, always lending an ear to the younger soldiers. Matty was a true and honest friend to us all, and on behalf of all the lads, Matty it has been a pleasure to have known you as a comrade and a friend. Rest in Peace mate."  Lance Corporal Levi Webb, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Cpl Stenton was a great bloke who was just a bundle of laughs to be around, and beneath all the playful banter, which he would continually throw at us, was that ever present cheeky grin.  "Matty was an outstanding soldier whom everyone respected, he was a thorough professional who would never settle for second best. He came out to theatre late, after the completion of his Challenger 2 Commanders' Course. "Even whilst on this tough and demanding course, he would routinely contact all the guys in the troop to ask if they needed extra kit sending out. Matty loved to have all the gear in his wardrobe; it was like a Quartermaster's store. "Matty was Mr Reliable; a smiley face at your room door every hour of the day just wanting to do something with the lads; a beer or a cup of tea, he was just happy in the company of his mates. "Things won't be the same without Matty, he was a true gent and an all round good geezer. On behalf of all the lads Matty, it has been a pleasure to have known you as a comrade and a friend. Rest in Peace, mate."  Lance Corporal Kirk Buck, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "Cpl Matt Stenton was a super soldier. He loved the Army and was the definition of keen. He loved being on the back area, running about like the infantry even though he was a Cavalry soldier. "He was always a joker and loved being with the lads and would always help the younger boys, as he did with me many times with my map reading. "Matt was someone you could look up to and rely on for help if you needed it. The Army has lost an excellent corporal and The Royal Dragoon Guards has lost a good friend. Matt, you will never be forgotten and our hearts go out to your family and close friends. "Quis Separabit."  Lance Corporal Beverley Probert, D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said: "In the time I have worked with Matty, it was obvious to see what kind of a guy he really was. He was determined, selfless, and keen as they come. Second would never be enough for him.  "Always amongst the laughter, he shone through, always willing to listen and to lend a helping hand. Not one to keep to himself, he led from the front and was someone to look up to. We in The Green Horse have lost a true hero. "Rest in peace pal, you were a pleasure to work with. You did us proud."  Captain Thomas Coker, C (The Black Dragoons) Squadron, RDG, said: "He was a totally selfless character and a natural soldier and leader. He touched everyone who met him and his loss will be felt by all."  Sergeant James Gibson, C (The Black Dragoons) Squadron, RDG, said: "Matt Stenton was a close friend; I've known him since he joined the Regiment. I've had the pleasure of his company many times and he was one of the easiest going guys I have ever met and was always willing to help out anyone who needed it. He will be missed very much and never forgotten."  Sergeant Steven Martin, C (The Black Dragoons) Squadron, RDG, said: "He was an excellent operator and an excellent soldier. We cannot believe that this has happened to such a close friend and our thoughts go out to his family at this time. He will never be forgotten, Rest in Peace."  Corporals Carl Roberts and Marty Newell, C (The Black Dragoons) Squadron, RDG, said: "He was a flyer and an incredible soldier. He would have done anything for anybody. He died the way he would have wanted to, saving someone else. Fare Thee Well."  Lance Corporal Arnold Exell, C (The Black Dragoons) Squadron, RDG, said: "He was a great friend and a great room-mate; he was someone you could really trust. He will be sorely missed and my thoughts are with his family."  Lance Corporal Paul Fish, C (The Black Dragoons) Squadron, RDG, said: "He was a good mate and drinking partner. My thoughts go out to his family and he will always be remembered."