Coldstream Guards

1st Battalion Coldstream Guards


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The Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards is the oldest Corps by continuous existence in the British Army, also the third representative by lineal descent of the first Regular British Army.

Her Majesty's Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, also known officially as the Coldstream Guards (COLDM GDS), is a regiment of the British Army, part of the Guards Division or Household Division.


 [ Guardsman Christopher King ]

Guardsman Christopher King, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was killed in Afghanistan on 22 July 2009. Guardsman King died whilst serving on operations in the Nad e Ali District in Helmand Province. He was serving as a rifleman with Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.  He was part of a Section of Coldstream Guardsmen who had been attached to the Welsh Guards since the end of last year, and who have been working with 2 Company throughout. Guardsman King was working as part of a team responsible for the protection of vehicle patrols, which involves checking vulnerable points are clear of danger.

On the morning of his death he was on such a patrol on Operation PANCHAI PALANG and was on foot clearing a vulnerable point when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated. He died immediately from the injuries caused by the blast.

Guardsman Christopher King was born on 1 June 1989 in Birkenhead, near Liverpool. He joined the Army and, on passing out of the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, in August 2008, he joined Number 3 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. He quickly completed a sharp-shooter's course, and took part in tactical exercises with the Battalion. At the end of the year he took part in state ceremonial duties in London. In early 2009 he volunteered to serve with 1st Battalion Welsh Guards for a six-month operational tour to Afghanistan. Although his time with the Welsh Guards was short, he had settled in well and quickly become a popular member of his platoon. He had hoped to complete a sniper course on his return to the UK, one of the most demanding challenges he could volunteer for. He had great potential, and will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Guardsman King lived in West Buckland, Somerset. He was unmarried. Guardsman King's family paid the following tribute: "Chris was a tremendous son, he was proud to be a Guardsman and died serving his country doing a job he loved. We are very proud of the fact that Chris was prepared to do his duty, helping to secure a lasting peace and provide stability to the people of Afghanistan. "We are devastated by the loss of Chris, who was a loving son." Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Antelme DSO, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said: "Guardsman King will be remembered by all his friends within the Battalion as a consummate professional, undeterred by danger or hardship, who brought great spirit and humour to every task asked of him. "The words of his brothers-in-arms from the Welsh Guards and beyond are a lasting tribute to this exceptional soldier, fearless character and ever-cheerful friend. Our thoughts are with his Regiment, the Coldstream Guards, his many friends  and of course, most importantly, his family who will be feeling his loss so keenly." Lieutenant Colonel Doug Chalmers MBE PWRR, his battle group commander, said: "Guardsman Chris King was every inch a Coldstream Guardsman. Although very proud of his own Regiment he had fitted easily in to No 2 Company, 1stt Battalion Welsh Guards, earning respect at every turn as a professional young soldier with a resilient sense of humour. "He was energetic yet reliable and lived life to the full. We are poorer for his loss and our thoughts are with his family who will miss him the most. We will not forget him." Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, his Commanding Officer, said: "From the moment he joined the Army, Guardsman Christopher King constantly showed a desire to challenge himself and improve his professional ability with the aim of becoming the best soldier he could. "On arrival with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards in August 2008 it was clear that he could not only hold his own amongst a group of experienced soldiers but that he could also lead the way with his dedication and ever present  appetite to learn. "The first real clear evidence of this ability and willingness to subject himself to a challenge came just two weeks into his time with the Battalion when he volunteered to do the sharp shooters course with the aim of becoming a company sniper. "A job requiring considerable shooting ability and intelligence, it forms a vital role in the performance of a company on operations. It is testament to his natural ability that Guardsman King passed this course easily, something which not only made him a highly valuable asset throughout his Company's numerous exercises, but also identified him as a future non-commissioned officer. "Not satisfied with these challenges, on hearing that volunteers were required to augment the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards for Operation HERRICK 10, Guardsman King immediately volunteered. "When asked about whether he had thought through the implications of his decision Guardsman King was quite clear; he joined the Army to challenge himself and to be a soldier - Afghanistan would give him that opportunity. "Guardsman King will be remembered by all the soldiers of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards as a bright, cheerful and  inquisitive young man who dedicated his military life to being the best soldier he could be, putting himself second and seeking out challenges to ensure he got the most from life. "My deepest condolences go to his family, his friends and his fellow soldiers from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards now serving  in Afghanistan." Major Henry Bettinson, his Company Commander, said: "Guardsman King showed tremendous spirit by volunteering to serve with the Welsh Guards in Afghanistan. Some might view an Englishman joining a sister battalion, fiercely proud of its Welsh heritage, as a daunting prospect. But Guardsman King was fearless. "How quickly he settled into the Company says less about how we welcomed him, but more about how he went out of his way to meet us, his new colleagues. "He arrived in the battalion last year and quickly established himself during our pre deployment training as someone who was more than capable of holding his own. "He was a robust, energetic, uncomplaining and reliable young man who had a sense of fun. His dry sense of humour often surfaced in conversation. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time. He will not be forgotten as we continue to remember him." Colour Sergeant Shane Pullen, his Company Sergeant Major, said: "The Welsh Guards are lucky to have worked with such a fine Guardsman. He was a man who was a pleasure to command. He was a key individual within the close team in which he worked. "His character was one that would always keep the morale high during the difficult times. He will be sorely missed by us all." Lieutenant Charles Fraser-Sampson, his Platoon Commander, said: "Often seen laughing and joking, Guardsman King was never downbeat and he would use a dry and dark sense of humour to alleviate the danger that is so often faced by Guardsmen on operations. "His calm and mature nature gained him instant friendship amongst his Welsh 'Band of Brothers'. He had planned on becoming a coveted sniper, which appealed to his stalking skills, honed as a gamekeeper before he joined the Army. "The Coldstream Guards can feel rightly proud of the skills, fitness and attitude that Guardsman King displayed whilst serving with a different Foot Guards Battle Group. "His family will no doubt be absolutely devastated by his death, but hopefully in time may take solace from the way in which he served his country. He will not be forgotten by those who fought alongside him." One of his Section Commanders, Lance Corporal Sam Marsh, said: "Guardsman King fitted right in to the Platoon despite the fact he was from another regiment. He was a great person to be in command of because he just cracked on with any task you gave him without complaint. "He had a unique sense of humour and a brilliant outlook on life. He was an Honorary Welshman." Another Section Commander, Lance Corporal Scott Powell said: "Guardsman Christopher King fitted into Number Two Company very well. He was a fit and keen young lad who had a lot of enthusiasm and ambitions in life. He was a good laugh and always brought a smile to my face. "When I first met Chris he came across as a quiet lad but a week later he soon came out of his shell and became a popular bloke in the Welsh Guards. He will be sorely missed by me and everyone else that knew him. My heart goes out to all his family and friends." Guardsman Ben Hellyn COLDM GDS said: "Chris King was a very close friend of mine inside and outside work. He was the best friend that anyone could wish for. He was a great laugh and had a great sense of humour. "We came across to the Welsh Guards not knowing what to expect but I knew as long as the two of us stuck together,  with his sense of humour he would make us, the attached Coldstream Guards, feel welcomed and we'd settle in pretty easily. "Outside work, he had a passion for his game-keeping and loved his hardcore rave music. I will sorely miss him and love him forever." Guardsman Samuel Williams said: "He was a gleaming bloke. It won't be the same without him. He loved going clubbing. I'm going to miss him and we love you mucka." Guardsman Steve Goss said: "Chris King was an awesome guy. I didn't really know him as much as his Coldstream Guards mates, but for the time I did know him when he came to our regiment he was a good lad when he got to know us. "He was the one who would take the Mickey out of people. There was so much stuff he wanted to do and become. He liked his bikes and fishing. He was an all-round good bloke. "He will be sadly missed and loved by his mates and family and the boys who knew him in the Welsh Guards. King, I miss you pal and the jokes about loud Welshmen." Gunner Aaron Carmichael, 40 Regt RA, said: "I didn't know Chris for long, however in the last three days we had returned to Camp Bastion and I had spent a lot of time with him there. He was staying in the same room as me so we often talked at night about home, friends and work. "Guardsman King was full of life with a lot of great banter and laughs in him and he was always showing why the lads liked him and enjoyed his company. When on patrol, he was always working and he always showed absolute professionalism in everything he did."  His friends from Number 3 Company back in the UK, paid the following tributes: Sergeant Richard Gundill, Pl Sgt No 9 Pl, 3 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards said: "Guardsman Chris King joined the Platoon in August 2008 in Windsor and as soon as he joined he made an impact with his humour and having the crack with the boys and recounting his funny stories of his weekends. "He was a keen soldier in the field and was selected to do the sharpshooter course - he even raised a few eyebrows in the Sniper Platoon. He was a good shot and his field craft was 'on the ball' - possibly because he had been a game-keeper before joining up. "On TESEX [Tactical Effects Simulation Exercise] he was deployed as a member of the Fire Support Group - he was in his element. "The rest of your old Platoon feels your loss very deeply but are resolved to carry on doing the same good work you had started. God bless you and our thoughts are with your family at this sad time." Guardsman Don Wall said: "Chris King will never be forgotten. One of my five best friends - we went through training together, we got off the train in Windsor and joined the Battalion together, we stood outside Buckingham Palace and St James's Palace together and we complained on exercise together. "Love goes out to his family who have lost a brilliant brother and son. I'll always have you in my heart Chris. RIP." Guardsman Chris Fletcher said: "I knew Chris from the second day of training - the second day was due to him being late! That sums him up really - chilled out. He never rushed and never stressed. He took life on the chin and cracked on. "We went through training together, on the town together and on to Battalion together. He was in my Platoon in 3 Coy and my close circle of friends. "Chris King was constant morale no matter how bad it got - it was an honour to know him and be his friend. Chris was a great bloke who I will always miss and never forget." Guardsman Sean Sykes said: "My most distinct memory of Chris was his dry and often cynical sense of humour. Chris had a way of seeing the lighter side of all the Army threw at him and carried out his duties with a steadfastness that not only singled him out as a superb Guardsman and solider, but also as a dependable and loyal friend. My thoughts are with his family at this time. He will be sorely missed. RIP Chris." Guardsman Daniel Tomelty said: "Chris will always be a great friend of mine. Anyone who knew him would instantly want to spend more time with him because he had a great sense of humour and a spark about him to make anyone feel better about themselves. "I first met him at Catterick and he passed out a few weeks before me - but then I met up with him when I got to Battalion. That was good because I was nervous about going there - but knowing Chris was there made it a lot easier for me. I will miss him." Guardsman Richard Pinkney said: "Chris King was a good friend and a good soldier; I knew him from the first day of training and since then he never ceased to amaze me. "He always brought morale to the lads when they were down and was always up for a little bit of banter. He was a true character and will live on in our lives and will never be forgotten by those who were around him. RIP Chris." Guardsman Andrew Nichols said: "Chris King was a great friend and a great soldier. When morale was low he always managed to get the lads laughing and smiling again. Everyone in 3 Company loved him, and will miss him - he will never be forgotten. RIP Chris." Guardsman Damien Mclean said: "Gdsm Chris King was a good mate and a pure good soldier - he had such charisma. My condolences go out to his family and friends - we have lost a good friend and an asset to the Battalion - he will be sorely missed." Guardsman Nick Witham said: "Chris was one of the funniest, charismatic members of the Company - and he was brilliant banter and morale for the lads. His original wit and ability to make jest of bad situations will be sorely missed by everybody. He will never be forgotten." Guardsman Ricky Hudson said: "A good bloke and a great friend you knew how to have a laugh with the lads no matter what was going on around. The Welsh Guards were very lucky to have had you - rest easy RIP Chris King." Guardsman Grant Feast said: "Chris was a great friend and would always be the one to make the lads laugh - no matter what the situation. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten."


[ Lance Corporal James Hill ]

Lance Corporal James Hill of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards in Afghanistan on 8 October 2009. Lance Corporal Hill was killed as a result of an explosion that happened near to Camp Bastion in Helmand Province. Lance Corporal Hill, aged 23 from Redhill in Surrey, was an outstanding Junior Non Commissioned Officer with excellent prospects. He started training in  Autumn 2005 and passed out into the Battalion in Spring 2006. He conducted State Ceremonial in London District throughout the summer of 2006 from Windsor before moving to the Mortar Platoon in time for Exercise African Thorn in South Africa during early 2007. Lance Corporal Hill then immersed himself into pre-deployment training for OP HERRICK 7. He was quickly identified as an excellent mortarman and he soon became a No 1 in a Section, the senior post for a mortar number. It was in this post that he deployed on OP HERRICK 7 and he spent the tour in FOB  KEENAN with No 3 Company Group. This was a busy tour and his mortar section was fully involved in numerous engagements in support of the Company as they fought the enemy in that part  of the Upper Gereshk Valley . After this highly successful tour he was sent on a Junior Non Commissioned Officer’s cadre and passed with a very high standard.  In January 2009 he was sent on his Mortar Standards Course for which he received a Highly Competent pass proving his considerable abilities. During the summer he qualified as a Joint Fires Coordinator proving his understanding of the wider Joint Fires battle that is often fought in Helmand Province . He was again very involved with the pre-deployment training prior to deploying as a Mortar Fire Controller ‘B’ for No 1 Company Group. Lance Corporal Hill was a personable, motivated and intelligent warrior. He nurtured those under his Command whilst constantly striving to be better by learning from his superiors. He was enthusiastic and energetic about his job and was excited by the prospect of serving in Afghanistan as a Mortar Fire Controller. He was every ounce a model Coldstreamer. Lance Corporal Hill was engaged to Anastasia Newman. He was an only child and very close to his family.

 

His loving parents, Brian and Claire, said: "James was the finest son we could have possibly asked for, we are immensely proud of who he is and all that he has done. James was immensely caring and always there for us and everyone who needed him, spending time with family and friends was what meant the most to him." His fiancée, Anastasia said: "James was the most wonderful, caring and loving man you could ever meet and touched the lives of every person he met. James is and always will be the love of my life and I feel so grateful to have had the time I had with him. He will live on forever in my heart and memories until we are together again." Lieutenant Colonel Toby W Gray, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards said of him: "Lance Corporal Hill was, from the very start of his career, a soldier with the most outstanding qualities. His drive to be the best was constant and he was a man with commendable ambitions within the Army. His qualities really came to the fore prior to OP HERRICK 7 when he was selected, as a relatively junior Guardsman, to be a No 1 in a mortar section. He thrived on the challenge of the job as well as the added responsibility that it demanded of him. He rose to the task with typical gusto and determination. "During OP HERRICK 7 he was based in FOB KEENAN at a time when the conditions were austere, the offensive action frequent and the call for mortars continuous. His actions throughout the tour were in line with what we all began to expect from him; Second to None. "As his Commanding Officer I was very proud to promote him in late 2008 to the rank of LCpl after he produced a commendable result on his Junior Non Commissioned Officer Cadre. The added burden of Command clearly inspired him and he went straight onto his Mortar Standards Course on which he once again did extremely well. Lance Corporal Hill was relishing this tour with his new found skill of being a Mortar Fire Controller. "He was a ray of light for the future of the Mortar Platoon with his skills, current experience and thirst for knowledge and it is a tragedy that he has been taken from us so early in his life. "Lance Corporal Hill was, quite simply, superb at everything he did. He was personable, intelligent, fit and ambitious. His humour, coupled with his energy, singled him out as a popular and respected Junior Non Commissioned Officer. "Our loss is huge but that of his family, fiancé and friends is even greater. My deepest condolences go out to them at this very sad time." Major Toby PO Till, Number 1 Company Commander 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I had only known Lance Corporal Hill the short time that he was attached to No 1 Company but it was clear from first meeting him that he was every ounce a professional and relishing the opportunity to prove himself in his new appointment as a Mortar Fire Controller. He had bags of enthusiasm and an infectious energy and clearly loved his job but more importantly was enormously popular in the Mortar Platoon and the Company Group. "He was simply one of those ‘good blokes’ in life and he will be sorely missed by everyone in the Company. Our thoughts are with his family and fiancée Anastasia." Captain Nicholas Powell, Mortar Platoon Commander 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Lance Corporal Hill was a man of outstanding ability and character. Intelligent and physically robust, Lance Corporal Hill was an exemplary operator in the field whose technical skill as a Mortar Fire Controller were unrivalled by a man of his age and experience. He inspired the Guardsmen under his command and earned the greatest respect from his Commanders. "Lance Corporal Hill’s loyalty to both the Platoon and to the mission was exhaustive; his mindset was selfless. He was an asset that cannot be replaced. My deepest condolences go to Lance Corporal Hill’s family, friends and fiancée. The Platoon will miss him dearly." Sergeant Tony Bolton, Mortar Platoon Sergeant 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Jimmy Hill was a true soldier, a warrior, a brother and a friend to us all. His loss will leave a hole in our platoon and hearts that will never be filled, I will miss him. Jimmy’s passion for the platoon was second to none. He strove to be the best he could be always, his character and nature was an example and inspiration to all. "Jimmy will be in our thoughts and actions every single day while we are here, and mine forever." Lance Sergeant Simon Walker, Mortar Platoon Alpha MFC 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Jimmy was an exceptional soldier and an even better friend, not only to me but to the whole of the Mortar Platoon. The fact that Jimmy is no longer with us has left behind a space that can never be filled again. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten. My heart goes out to his friends and family at home, in particular his parents and fiancée Anastasia." Lance Corporal Matthew Cutting, best friend of James, said "Jimmy was one of the battalion’s best soldiers and one of my closest friends. He was a very professional soldier. Despite being highly committed to the job he could always find time for his friends. I will never forget all the great times I had with him, from the insane times sky diving in France to having a beer with him and all the mortar boys. "He was a big inspiration to us all and will be missed badly and will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Rest in Peace Jimmy." Guardsman Luke Fitzpatrick, close friend, said: "Jimmy was a great and close friend not only to me but to everyone he knew as well as being a phenomenal leader and inspirational to us all. Jimmy was an excellent morale raiser, and could always find a way of making me and the rest of the boys smile no matter how bad times got. "The other great quality Jimmy had was how he could get us out in the evening socialising with each other down the pub even if it was on a school night or if we had an arduous task the following day. It’s for this reason we all owe him thanks, because it’s the reason why all the mortar boys are all so close to each other. "The world won’t be the same without you Jimmy and never will be. So to that end our thoughts go to your family and friends back home. You will always  be remembered by us all and you will never be forgotten." Guardsman Myles Coleman said: "Jimmy was one of the finest soldiers the British army will see. He was morale to the lads and a very good friend to everyone. I only knew Jimmy for a year but as soon as I met him we became great friends instantly and after work, if there was nothing to do he would always find a way for the platoon to get together even if it was from a couple down at the pub or having a laugh in the foyer. "He was a great mortarman, a great leader but mostly he was an extremely good friend. He will never be forgotten and forever missed. MORTARS OR YOU’RE NOT!!!"


[ Sergeant John Amer 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards  ]

Sergeant John Amer 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards killed in Afghanistan on Monday 30 November 2009, Acting Sergeant John Paxton Amer, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. Acting Sergeant Amer died from wounds sustained as a result of an explosion that happened in the Babaji area, in central Helmand Province. Sergeant John Amer was an excellent soldier. His profession was ingrained in him and from the start of his career, he showed nothing short of enormous promise. A Sunderland man, he enlisted on 17 October 1996 and after training joined Number 2 Company based at that time in Munster, Germany as part of an Armoured Infantry Battlegroup. After cutting his teeth in the Armoured world he moved with the Battalion back to Windsor in 1998 to experience his first of many State Ceremonial occasions and Public Duties. At the end of the year he deployed with his Company to the Falkland Islands to conduct a four-month tour. The tempo of life was fast and he learnt quickly. At such an early stage of his career he quickly marked out his plot as a future Non-Commissioned Officer. A tour of Northern Ireland preceded promotion and he deployed to South Armagh on the Millennium Tour over the winter of 1999/2000. This was a busy tour for the Battalion and Sgt Amer conducted himself in an exemplary fashion. Shortly after returning to Windsor he passed the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre and set his career on the rails of success. Whilst more Public Duties followed, the Battalion was soon preparing for operations once again, this time for a two-year residential tour to Londonderry in Number 1 Company. This tour saw Sergeant Amer in his element and after a very short period as a Lance Corporal he attended the challenging Section Commanders' Battle Course in Brecon, a course he passed with ease.

On completion of the tour in Londonderry Sergeant Amer was promoted to Lance Sergeant and his presence in the Sergeants' Mess has been huge ever since. He was posted to train recruits in Pirbright and after returning from there he passed the Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course before taking over his Platoon, once again in Number 1 Company. It was with this Platoon that he deployed to Afghanistan in early October 2009. Sergeant Amer was a huge personality and a natural soldier. He was loved by his men, respected by his seniors and cherished by all. Whether on parade at Buckingham Palace, teaching recruits in training, socialising in the Mess or, most recently, training his Platoon and leading his Multiple on complex counter-insurgency operations, Sgt Amer was the consummate professional. He was the epitome of a modern, caring, intelligent and hugely courageous Senior Non Commissioned Officer and he was forever a Coldstreamer. It was fitting that Sergeant Amer died saving the life of one of his men, for it was for them that he served. Sergeant Amer will be missed forever and remembered for the many happy times. The loss of his comrades is huge but nothing in comparison to his beloved wife Sue and his daughter Lisa, who are now coming to terms with their loss at this incredibly sensitive and difficult time.

Acting Sergeant Amer's widow, Mrs Sue Amer, paid the following tribute: "I am devastated by the loss of my loving husband John. I have lost my true love, my heart has been broken. The whole world should know that John was the best father that our daughter could have wished for. "This cruel world has taken a hero who touched the hearts of everyone he met, a very special man who brought joy and laughter. The Army was John's world, he was mine. He was my best friend, the pain of losing him is overwhelming." Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "There was only one thing bigger than Sgt Amer's nose and that was his enormous heart. He was loved by his men, cherished by his friends and respected by his seniors. "I have known him for 13 years and I have had the privilege of serving with him, as he progressed from Guardsman to Platoon Sergeant. He lived by the maxim ‘work hard, play hard'. "I last spoke and chatted with him last week. As ever, he was the at the centre of maintaining the morale of the guardsmen in his platoon; whether ensuring they were fully prepared and briefed for the next patrol, checking on their welfare or just bantering with them. "His grip and tenderness were keenly on display. He was like the benevolent uncle, respected and loved by them all. His soldiers were happy and proud to serve with a man with integrity, honour and one of the keenest senses of humour in the Battalion. "We have lost one of the very finest soldiers in the regiment. He died saving a comrade and doing the job he both loved and excelled at. To the last, he was thinking of others. "As a brother in arms, there was no-one better. He leaves a gap in our hearts never to be filled. The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the Coldstream Battlegroup are with his wife Sue and his daughter Lisa at this most difficult of times." Major Toby Till, Officer Commanding, Number 1 Company 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I have had the privilege of knowing Sergeant John Amer since I was his Platoon Commander at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick back in 1996, whilst he was under training as a Trainee Guardsman. "Once you have commanded someone during this pivotal time in their life there is a special bond between you that can never be broken, despite the years. "He stood out in training, not necessarily because he was one of the best, but because he was an immense character, a joker, and someone that the other trainees could rely on during the harder days of training to brighten their day. "I was lucky again to have worked closely with Sergeant Amer when he was a young Guardsman during a four month tour of the Falkland Islands in 1998; he was again always the centre of attention. "I was therefore delighted, that when I took command of Number One Company, Sgt Amer was one of my Platoon Sergeants. The seamless trust that is built over these years and especially over the last 15 months can never be replaced. "Sergeant Amer stood out in the Company and was quite unique, always the man to get the last word in and to deliver the last line, but always happy to laugh at his own expense. "Despite being a Platoon Sergeant and in a position of authority it would be fair to say that he did not have a bad bone in his body, caring of his Guardsmen and empathising with them during this demanding operational tour. "We have a hole in the Company that will never be replaced but more importantly he was a husband to Sue and a father to Lisa and our thoughts are with them at this tragic and difficult time and always in the future. "We have all lost a true friend, one of life's honest good blokes, who will never be forgotten."  Lieutenant Douglas Dalzell, Platoon Commander, Number 2 Platoon, said: "From the perspective of a Platoon Commander the role of a Platoon Sergeant is of immeasurable importance. In addition to taking the lead on Platoon administration and discipline, he is of paramount importance in terms of providing an abundant source of knowledge and experience. "Through a calm temperament and a mischievous sense of humour Sergeant Amer knew exactly how to steer me in the right direction without belittling my confidence or questioning my authority. "For this I owe him a debt of gratitude I could never re-pay. Aside from his beloved family, Sergeant Amer's reason for being was the Platoon. "Having an inspirational approach to leadership enabled him to always bring out the best in all those who worked with him, regardless of rank. What was most endearing about Sergeant Amer though and what the boys will remember him most for was his razor sharp wit. "Never with malice and often at his own expense, his sense of humour led to the Guardsman seeing him as an approachable figure who they could confide in about anything. " Warrant Officer Class 2 Stephen Taylor, Company Sergeant Major, Number 1 Company, said: "I am proud, humbled and honoured to have known Sergeant John Amer personally and professionally over many years of serving together in the Regiment. "John's modern day style of leadership and day to day man management always got the best from his Platoon and his infectious humour and presence in the Sergeants' Mess is something I will never forget. "I think back to when I knew Sergeant Amer was to join the Company as one of my Platoon Sergeants; boy that was a good day. His leadership and comradeship throughout this operational tour has been truly second to none, and I will never forget the support he has given to me throughout all the difficult times. "My heart goes out to his wife Sue and daughter Lisa and I would just like to say John's actions that day would have made you both so very proud. John, I will miss you my friend." Sergeant Mathew Nichol, Platoon Sergeant, Number 1 Company, said: "I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive to have known and worked alongside Sergeant John Amer for 13 years. No amount of words could ever do a man of his calibre justice. "From the first moment we met all those years ago on the way to Germany to join the Battalion, I knew I had a best friend for life. John really was one of a kind and left a lasting impression on anyone that knew him. "The word ‘legend' is used far too often but for my friend John it describes him perfectly. A completely selfless man who would do anything for his blokes and would never put himself before them, he was loved by all. "Sergeant John Amer, Sergeant Al Kama and I will remain the greatest of friends and although we mourn the loss of our brother, we are so thankful for the lifetime of memories we have together. "My heart goes out to Sue and Lisa and my thoughts and prayers are with you both. The world is now a darker place without one of its shining lights. I miss you so much my friend, forever in our hearts." Lance Corporal Kristoffer Boyer, Section Second in Command, Number 2 Platoon, said: "John was not only my Platoon Sergeant but also one of my best friends. He never took anything too seriously and approached everything with a sense of humour. "He got any task given to him and completed it to the highest standard. He took great pride in his job and it was a real pleasure to be part of his team and an even greater pleasure to be his friend. "He was loved and respected by all who knew him and I know I speak for all who met him when I say he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. He was a truly incredible man." Guardsmen Lance Jackson, 2 Platoon Rifleman, said: "Sergeant Amer was more like a friend than a Platoon Sergeant; a father figure, a leader and a very good one at that. He had a cheeky schoolboy sense of humour which always made me laugh. "He was the most selfless, kind-hearted person who always put his men first. We were lucky to have him and will miss him dearly." Guardsman Carl Marriner, 2 Platoon 60mm Mortarman, said: "Sergeant Amer was an inspiration to all that knew him. He was a man who could see the best in everyone and would know how to get the best out of you. "I will miss him as a friend and a leader. My thoughts go to all his family who, like us are devastated to have lost such an exceptional man. Everything we do will be for him as I know he is proud of us all."


[ Lance Corporal Darren Hicks ]

Lance Corporal Darren Hicks from 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 11 February 2010. Lance Corporal Darren Hicks died as a result of an explosion that happened in the Babaji district of central Helmand province. Lance Corporal Darren Hicks, aged 29 from Mousehole in Cornwall, was one of life's truly genuine people, immensely liked by his seniors and subordinates alike. He enlisted on 14 October 1999 and after training joined the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards stationed in Windsor in June 2000, in time to experience his first of many State Ceremonial occasions and Public Duties. The Battalion was soon preparing for operations, but this time for a 2 year residential tour to Londonderry. On completion of the tour in Londonderry, Lance Corporal Hicks attended a Lance Corporal Drill and Tactics Cadre at the Foot Guards, and the Parachute Regiment Centralised Course, whereupon successful completion he was duly promoted to Lance Corporal. Once posted back to Aldershot, the Battalion began to re-role as a Mechanised Battalion, where Lance Corporal Hicks proved to be invaluable, both as a qualified Saxon driver, and also in managing his Platoon fleet of Saxons. 2004 saw Lance Corporal Hicks deploy to Jamaica as a Section 2IC to conduct jungle training, where he excelled. 

In April 2005 Lance Corporal Hicks deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC 6 as a team commander and in October 2007 he deployed on operations again, this time to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 7. Lance Corporal Hicks successfully completed his Skill at Arms phase on the Section Commanders Battle Course prior to deploying back to Afghanistan in Oct 2009 on Operation HERRICK 11. Lance Corporal Hicks was an all round great guy. He was adored by his men and respected by his seniors. Whether on parade at Buckingham Palace, training with his Platoon or more recently leading his team on complex counter-insurgency operations, Lance Corporal Hicks was always professional. He was a fine Junior Non-Commissioned Officer always leading his men by example – a true Coldstreamer. Lance Corporal Hicks will be forever missed and fondly remembered by so many. Our loss is enormous but nothing in comparison to that of his beloved wife Katie, his daughter Daisy and his son Henry. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they come to terms with their loss at this incredibly sad and difficult time.

 

Mrs Katie Hicks, Lance Corporal Hicks' Widow said: "I am devastated by the loss of Darren. He was a loving husband and father, he was my life and my everything. Darren was a proud Guardsman and he was taken doing the job he loved. "I am immensely proud of what Darren has achieved in such a short lifetime. Darren was the finest husband and father you could possibly ask for, and he was immensely caring for us all. He loved to spend time with his family and friends, which meant so much to him." Chris Hicks, Lance Corporal Hicks' Brother said: "The whole family are utterly devastated by the loss of Darren, Darren was so kind, generous and honest; he loved life, he lived life to the full and he did everything with a smile on his face. Darren loved the Army, he enjoyed being a team player and always put others first in everything he did. He touched so many people's hearts and he will be greatly missed." Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards said: "The Coldstream Guards have lost one of the finest Lance Corporals currently serving. Lance Corporal Darren Hicks was at the top of the list to attend the promotion course that would propel him to the next rank of Lance Sergeant. "He led his men like a Lance Sergeant and they responded to his leadership as if he were a Lance Sergeant; they respected and loved him in equal measure. He was a character amongst his comrades and a well known figure throughout the Battalion. I always enjoyed the occasional chat with Lance Corporal Hicks; he was deferentially direct and a joy to soldier with. "He was a keen rugby player, a son of Cornwall, and the sun rarely set on his smile; ready always to lend a hand or offer a gentle word of support to those senior as well as junior to himself. The gap in our ranks left by his untimely death is enormous. He will be forever missed and most fondly remembered. "As well as being a great soldier and Coldstream Guardsman he was a devoted family man. The thoughts and prayers of the Coldstream Guards Battlegroup, Darren's comrades, are with his wife Katie, his daughter Daisy and his son Henry, his beloved family." Major Toby Till, Officer Commanding Number One Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards said: "When I joined the Company, one of the first Non Commissioned Officers that I met was Lance Corporal Darren Hicks, I had arrived from the MOD and Darren and the rest of the Company had returned from Kabul a few months earlier. In those initial moments I still recall that I was aware that I had just met someone special, someone who understood the heartbeat of the Company, not afraid to tell you how it was, and someone that I knew I could trust and empathise with in the years to come. "Darren Hicks was the senior Lance Corporal in No 1 Company and brought with him considerable experience from a two year residential tour in Londonderry, in addition to tours in Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2008, as well as State Ceremonial duties. "He was a natural selfless leader, not only in the field but one of those blokes who young Guardsmen would naturally feel a confidence in, he was someone that the whole Company looked up to and respected. He was always there for those in his Section to make their lives better during the tour. He was the bright ideas guy, always thinking of new ways to improve things for the benefit of everyone. "I had seen a lot of Darren over the last week as he had been one of the team helping in the construction of a new check point in the nearby village. As always he was full of enthusiasm and laughs, ensuring that the attached Afghan National Army were as well motivated as those under his Command. "I then spoke with Darren before he went on what was to be his last patrol. He was looking after those around him and ensuring that they had everything they needed, a leader, guide, and true friend who will be missed by us all. A man with a great future ahead of him, we will always remember him fondly. "I know that as much as we all feel the pain of the loss of Lance Corporal Hicks there is a small part of rural Cornwall that feels the loss far  greater. Whilst we have all lost a trusted friend and great mate, Katie has lost her husband and Daisy and Harry their Dad. The whole of Number One Company send their deepest sympathy to you and all of the wider family at this tragic time." Captain Frederick Wells said: "I had the privilege of first meeting Lance Corporal Hicks on the day I joined the Battalion. He had an amazing blend of loyalty, humility and humour; he was a consummate professional who managed to be friends with everyone while maintaining his authority over those for whom he was responsible. "He thrived at everything he turned his hand to – in barracks, on operations, on the drill square or on the rugby pitch. He died leading his men, doing a job he loved. But above all this, Lance Corporal Hicks was a devoted family man – a loving husband and a doting father.  "I will never forget his pride when he returned to work after the birth of his son Henry. He will be missed by us all, but our thoughts and prayers must go to his family who will have to bear this tragic loss forever." Colour Sergeant Paul McHugh said: "I have known Daz since he joined our Battalion. During this time we have shared many experiences together, from the rugby pitches to the fields of Afghanistan. He was an inspirational young man, incredibly charismatic, who endeared himself to all ranks. He was a solid, dependable NCO who was an inspiration to the young Guardsmen. He was respected by his peers for his unwavering professionalism, loyalty and fierce pride of his Regiment. "Daz never shied away from responsibility, always leading from the front, ensuring the safety of his comrades. This was most evident in October last year when Daz pushed forward, following an IED strike, and, showing his characteristic selfless commitment, gave immediate treatment to a wounded comrade, undoubtedly saving his life. "I will miss my friend Daz. The Regiment will mourn him, the rugby team will never replace him – but our thoughts and prayers must go out to his wife and children in these most difficult times." Sergeant Mattie Nichol, Multiple Commander said: "I consider myself lucky to have commanded one of the finest Junior Non-Commissioned Officers the Army has to offer – fiercely loyal and extremely professional in everything he did. Lance Corporal Hicks was the backbone of 3 Platoon and he made my job as Platoon Sergeant so much easier, always right on my shoulder backing me up. "His support and friendship will be sorely missed. Darren was loved and respected by everyone who knew him but especially 3 Platoon. He was a fantastic role model, always at the centre of things. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time." Lance Sergeant Mathew Wallis, Section Commander said: "Daz was a true professional in everything he did. Every Guardsman in the Company looked up to him; he set the standard. He was ever popular from the minute I met him. In our school days he would always be there laughing or joking with others – never would you see him alone. "As a Section Second in Command he was second to none and would be a pillar for the young lads to lean on in bad times. Words are hard to find at this time and my thoughts and love are with his wife Katie and his two children who must be hurting so much. He was a true friend and a true legend and he will be deeply missed." Lance Corporal Tom Hutchinson said: "Darren was an amiable and cheerful man who had an uncanny ability to brighten up a room with his personality. He loved to have a joke and always made sure plenty of laughs were had in any situation. In addition Darren was a thoroughly professional infantry soldier who I looked up to and whose dedication I admired. I remember him as a great soldier and close friend who doted on his wife and two children." Guardsman Andrew Martin said: "I first met Lance Corporal Hicks in 2007 on the last tour. From the start Daz was a good friend, always willing to lend a hand and he was never too busy if you needed a friend to talk to. "Daz was a joker and a massive personality who will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends back home at this time, especially to his wife and children who he spoke about every day." Guardsman Ross Caddy said: "Darren Hicks was a great man who loved his family. He was such a proud man and he perfected everything he set his mind to. He was an extraordinary soldier and he loved his job. We have all lost a great friend and his family have lost an unbelievable husband and father. "Let all our thoughts go out to his family, which he loved more than anything on this earth. RIP Mate. You will never be forgotten." Guardsman Epeli Balidraiulu said: "Lance Corporal Darren Hicks was a man that I will never forget in my Army career. He was a family man and also very professional at his job. He always knew what he was doing on the ground. "I will miss Hicksy and my heart goes out to his family, especially to his wife and two kids. May God bless his family." Guardsman Jim Kane said: "I first met Darren in December 2007 on Op HERRICK 7. He was a man who was instantly liked and immediately respected, a constant source of inspiration. He was a popular man with a heart of gold. "His colleagues came second only to his family, of which he spoke fondly and frequently. A true friend till the end. Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife and children at this difficult time." Guardsman Stephen Cortis said: "Lance Corporal Hicks, or ‘Hicksy' as he was known to his mates, was a top man who got on with everyone he met. He was always cheerful and you could always rely on him to raise morale if people were down. "I've known Hicksy ever since he joined the Battalion and there has never been a dull moment, whether it was at work, playing rugby together or having a beer at the weekend. "He was a big family man who loved his wife and kids more than anything in the world and would talk about them every second he could. Hicksy was a great man, and an even better husband and father. He will be sadly missed by everyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him." Drummer Ben Thorpe said: "I first met Darren back in 2004 when he was working in No 3 Company, and since that time I have worked alongside him on three operational tours. Through each tour Darren was always the one to either pick people up when they were down or lend the helping hand when it was needed. "A big family man and a fierce friend. He always seemed to bring the best out of people whenever he was around. All our thoughts and prayers are still with him and his family."


[ Lieutenant Douglas Dalzell ]

Lieutenant Douglas Dalzell of 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 18 February 2010. Lieutenant Dalzell was serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South) (formerly known as Battle Group (Babaji)), and was operating as part of Operation MOSHTARAK. He died from wounds received as a result of an explosion in the Babaji area of Nahr-e-Saraj in Central Helmand. Lieutenant Douglas "Dougie" Dalzell joined the Army in 2007, commissioning into the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards in December of that year. After passing the Platoon Commanders' Battle Course in April 2008 he arrived in the Battalion, which had just returned from Operation HERRICK 7. He took over his first Platoon in Number 3 Company and quickly established himself as an extremely capable young officer. As a Platoon Commander based in Windsor, life is busy with the full spectrum of State Ceremonial occasions and Public Duties. Lieutenant Dalzell rose to the task with a commendably positive attitude; his leadership and drive kept his Platoon motivated and focused on the challenges of the tour in Afghanistan. He engaged fully in preparing for the multifaceted demands an operational deployment to Afghanistan generates. It was this that really gripped his imagination. With an eye for detail unusual of one so junior, he created training opportunities for his soldiers that stood them all in good stead. To fit this around his duties in London was impressive. In early 2009 Lieutenant Dalzell moved into Number 1 Company to take command of Number 2 Platoon and it was with them that he deployed to Afghanistan in October 2009. He was devoted to this Platoon and those in it, to him. The rapport and trust quickly gained between him and his men was hugely significant in building a team of professional soldiers eager to deploy to Afghanistan and prove themselves. Lieutenant Dalzell didn't take his task lightly. He was a professional of the highest standards; a role model for his generation of officers. He led by example and from the front, never asking a soldier to do a job that he hadn't previously done himself. His Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant Amer, was killed on 30 November 2009 and he carried the burden of losing not only a critical professional colleague, but also a close friend, in the most unselfish way. His courage and leadership over the past four months have been nothing short of astonishing and all those around him have been infected by it. To be praised by those that are so notoriously difficult to please is so fitting, for he was liked, trusted and respected by everyone. Lieutenant Dalzell was killed on his birthday doing a job he loved and commanding a Platoon of which he was hugely fond and to which he was utterly committed. His colleagues have lost the most remarkable and inspiring officer. Those who worked most closely with him say he was undoubtedly destined for great things in the Army; he just had the aura of a success story. However behind this brilliance was the most charming, polite and charismatic young man who was loved by all. To a man the Battle Group is devastated by his loss however that can never compare to what is felt by his family and closest friends, to whom he was so devoted.  Lt Dalzell came from Hamstead Marshall, near Newbury, in Berkshire. He was unmarried. He leaves his parents Anthony and Colette, brother Angus and sister Olivia.

 

Lieutenant Dalzell's family paid the following tribute: "Our darling son and brother to Olivia and Angus, you touched the hearts of so many. You are our world and we love you with all our hearts. You only ever looked for the good in people and kept strong and happy in all you did. You are a true hero and we will miss you forever."

Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Had I been a platoon commander at the same time as Lieutenant Dougie Dalzell, I would have wished to be like him: assured, confident, utterly professional and hugely popular with his men and held in the highest regard by his seniors. He was the ultimate role model and example for any young officer. Not just a fantastic soldier and leader, he was an exceptional sportsman and he had dashing good looks. Beyond all this, he was also a bloody good bloke. "He found most things easy, so rather than simply accepting basic success he strove to excel in all he took on. He really did 'fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run'. "It was clear to me that he adored his job and his guardsmen in equal measure. He was tragically killed, on his 27th birthday doing the job he loved and leading from the front. "The gap he leaves in his Company, the Battalion and Officers' mess is enormous. We all mourn his death and will miss his gentle yet keen sense of humour, but our loss is nothing to that of his family; his parents, his brother, Angus and sister, Liv and many, many friends beyond the Army and Regiment. "A bright light has gone out in this glorious regiment. In his memory I know all ranks will rise to the challenges of the coming months so that Dougie's sacrifice is not in vain – he would want us to push hard to the end. He did." Major Toby Till (Toby), Company Commander, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I am immensely proud to have commanded one of the finest Platoon Commanders that I have known during seventeen years of Service in the Coldstream Guards. Dougie had it all; he was first of all an absolute gentleman: eloquent, diligent and he set the standard in his Platoon and the Company. He was also one of the fittest men in the Battalion, a natural rugby player and a born leader. "He was respected by everyone and he was loved by his men for his ability to share a moment with them when they were in need which they have been on more than one occasion on this tour. When he arrived back off R and R they were there to cheer him back off the helicopter. "Dougie had already lost his Platoon Sergeant, John Amer, and his Guardsmen had been rocked but through his outstanding leadership in the face of the enemy, coupled with his ability to empathise with their concerns and needs, he has held Number 2 Platoon together during their darkest moments. This can never be easy on a young man experiencing his first operational tour. "Dougie has displayed outstanding moral and physical courage and will always remain an example to all of us who have worked with him in the Company. Even the more experienced hands in the Company have been humbled by his professional ability, resolve, spirit and upbeat attitude. "Having been to the same school as Dougie, we shared an additional bond and his aspirations were similar to mine at this stage of his career. He was being lined up to be an ADC before aspiring to test himself to the full in the years ahead. Whilst we have all lost a great friend and a man we all respected enormously, I know that Anthony and Colette have lost their dear son and Olivia and Angus have lost their brother. "My heart and soul goes out to them at this time. I can not begin to imagine your pain and sorrow but ALL of the Company have you in our thoughts. We send our love to you at this difficult time. "We have as a Company taken a step backwards over the last 36 hours at the loss of a true warrior but we have all become stronger in our hearts and minds; our focus and determination steeled all the more. In our small part of Helmand Province we have made significant progress and this will continue in the remaining months ahead of our tour. The loss of Dougie will never, ever, be forgotten and will not be in vain." Captain Jamie Russell, Adjutant, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Dougie was possessed of such a unique blend of professionalism and charm. He shone throughout his short career and could always be trusted to do anything exceptionally well. It was deeply humbling to watch from afar how Dougie steered his Platoon through the last 4 months; whether through success or tragedy he was quite clearly always leading from the front. His men responded by giving him their complete trust and they would have followed him anywhere. "The Regiment will be a darker place without this bright star and we will all miss him dearly. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this most terrible of times." Captain Frederick Wells, Company Second in Command, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Dougie was a truly exceptional character – adored by his soldiers and respected by all those he met. He was as charming as he was professional, as popular as he was humble. He had a bright future ahead of him which has been cut tragically short. He died leading his men from the front, doing a job at which he excelled and which he loved. "The Company and Regiment have lost a shining star who will never be forgotten, but our thoughts and prayers are for his family, who have lost an amazing son and brother." Captain Storm Green, Second in Command, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "When I first met Dougie Dalzell his quiet, unassuming character fooled me into thinking he was a completely different character to what it turned out he really was. A fun loving, incredibly charming Officer whose love for soldiering shone through when the going got tough. "His calm, measured presence was no doubt a huge reassurance to the men he so enjoyed commanding. Dougie was the Officers' Mess dark horse. His smooth tongue, quick wit and good looks made him the envy of all us less blessed mortals, even despite his vertical shortcomings which one would not normally associate with a Guards Officer. "But only at your peril would you think that this would make him any less focussed and enthusiastic about his job. Incredibly fit and always thoughtful, his leadership style made it hard for his men and peers alike not to follow him. "The loss of Dougie will leave a huge hole in the Battalion that no one will ever be able to fill. But I know the memory of him and the stories of his tragically short career will inspire Coldstream Guardsmen and all soldiers for generations to come. The thoughts and prayers of Number 2 Company are with his family and all his friends." Lieutenant Jack Greenly, Platoon Commander, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Dougie was a true friend and I could think of no-one else I would rather have spent my time in Afghanistan serving alongside. He was a rock, and always there during the tough times, helping to bring the light at the end of the tunnel ever closer. "We will all miss a superb Platoon Commander who had the utmost respect from his guys due to his professionalism and irresistibly likeable character. The world will be a darker place without him, but with so many fond memories he will never be forgotten." Lieutenant Ben Rutt, Platoon Commander, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Dougie was a man of enormous kindness, honour and strength and he was a friend and example to everyone he met. He would have done anything for his guardsmen; the pain in his absence will be deeply felt by us all." Lieutenant Matt Burrows, Platoon Commander, Number 3 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Dougie was a truly unique character in the Officers' Mess. A friend of everyone, there was never a dull moment working alongside him in the Battalion. Having been in the same Platoon at Sandhurst and serving as a Platoon Commander with him in No 3 Company before Afghanistan, I will never forget his cracking sense of humour that enlivened even the most mundane of days. "He was admired by his soldiers and fellow Officers and excelled in all aspects of military life. His tragic death has hit us all hard and he will be sorely missed. He will be remembered forever." Lieutenant Lisa Keevash, AGC Detachment Commander, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I have known Dougie for just over three years. I was lucky enough to be in the same Company as him at Sandhurst. I was delighted to find out I was going to be posted to the Coldstream Guards with Dougie and the other cadets who joined the Coldstreamers. Knowing that on my first posting I would be surrounded by such friends made it less daunting. "We were like the naughty school kids in the Mess and would often banter over the table firing quotes of favourite films at each other when the Mess conversation got a little too deep or political for our liking.  "Dougie was one of those guys that you should have really hated. He was good at everything, from his dashing good looks, his performance on PT and starring role on the rugby pitch, there was nothing he didn't excel at. However, you couldn't help falling in love with Dougie's charm and charisma. He was the perfect officer; a perfect gentleman. "Dougie had a cheeky smile that could light up any room and a wicked sense of humour that never failed to make those around him smile. He was one of my closest friends in the Battalion and he confided in me on a recent trip to Patrol Base 4. He told me how proud he was to command Number 2 Platoon and that their courage and strength was immeasurable. He felt more like a father figure to his Guardsmen and I know they will all miss him sorely. "His tragic loss has left a huge gap in the Officers' Mess, Number 1 Company and the Battalion as a whole, that can never be replaced. It has left a gap so huge that words could never describe. I feel so lucky and privileged to be able to call Dougie my friend and I will take with me such fond memories of our time serving together in Battalion. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this tragic and extremely difficult time. Dougie, rest in peace, we will never forget you." Warrant Officer Class 2 S Taylor, Company Sergeant Major, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Lieutenant Dalzell was a very likable, professional and diligent Platoon Commander and as the Company Sergeant Major I will miss him terribly. Mr Dalzell settled into the Company straight away with his relaxed nature and his thirst for getting the best from the men he commanded. I can honestly say that he led from the front through fitness, leadership and his indisputable infectious and positive foresight. He has led his Platoon through many tough and often traumatic experiences and he always came out smiling. "A large hole has been left not just within the Company but also the Regiment; Mr Dalzell was one for the future for sure. To say that Mr Dalzell strived to be the best, can be described in that fact that he is the only Platoon Commander that I have seen in 18 years of experience, that can really carry off a tour moustache; it was truly a fantastic moustache. God speed Mr Dalzell, you will never be forgotten."  Sergeant P Baines, Sniper Platoon Sergeant Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I can only attempt to write something that will give Mr Dalzell the true respect he is due. Mr Dalzell was a pure professional, an outstanding soldier and born leader of men. "You often hear the cliché 'follow till the end' but never has truer statement been made in reference to such an outstanding man. His integrity and judgement were inspiring to all who had the pleasure to work and fight next to him. Mr DD, you have left a big gap in our lives that will never be filled, 'Nulli Secundus'." Colour Sergeant W Wilson, attached to Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Mr D always saw the cup half full, someone who could be counted on when it mattered, and was respected and liked by all who knew and worked with him. A gap is now left that will never be filled – an awesome man." Sergeant C Hunter, Platoon Sergeant Number 2 Platoon, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I first met Lieutenant Dougie Dalzell when he turned up at the Battalion as a new draft one star platoon commander and took over Number 9 Platoon in Number 3 Company, of which I was the senior section commander. "A new platoon commander looks towards his section commanders for tactical advice, which developed a strong bond between Mr Dalzell and myself and straight away I could tell he was a top bloke. He excelled professionally at his job and mastered his trade as a platoon commander exceptionally. "I developed a close bond with Mr Dalzell outside of work and he was always up for a good bit of banter, or on hand for a bit of advice when needed. When I found out that I was to become the platoon sergeant for Mr Dalzell's platoon I was very happy that I was able to work for him again and honoured that he requested me specifically. "There is not another job in the Army that I would rather do. Mr Dalzell was an inspirational leader amongst his men and a much-loved character of the platoon. My time serving alongside him will be a memory that I will cherish forever. "A true warrior has been laid to rest. Today I have lost a Platoon Commander, a training partner, and a true friendship has been cruelly taken, but will never be forgotten." Lance Sergeant D Hughes, Regimental Signal Detachment Commander, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "It was an absolute pleasure to have known Lieutenant Dalzell. He was respected by all who knew and served with him. I'll miss our conversations about rugby and our families. Number 1 Company has lost a great soldier. My thoughts at this time go to his family. Laters, Double D." Lance Sergeant J Clough, Section Commander Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Lieutenant Dougie Dalzell was a friendly but very professional soldier who put all of his soldiers before himself. He always liked to sit and have a chat with his lads and would be there for us any time. He liked his practical jokes and banter. He was not just my Platoon Commander, he was also a friend who will be sorely missed by all who served with or knew him. "My condolences go out to his family at this very difficult time. Mr Dalzell died doing a job he believed in and truly loved." Lance Corporal D Dowd, Section Second in Command, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "A true leader and a true gentleman who I will never forget. I feel grateful and honoured to have known and worked with such a bloke. If it wasn't for his quick humour and strong personality I would have missed a true lesson in life. He was a bloke who led by example and could always bring the best out in anyone. The world has been cruel by taking away an inspirational man but all who knew him will never forget him. A part of Mr Dalzell will always remain with us and inspire us to go forward." Lance Corporal K Boyer, Section 2IC, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I have not known Mr Dalzell for a long time, but I have known him long enough to say, he was one of the most professional soldiers I have ever met and no matter what the circumstances he always knew how to put a smile back on your face. He was a commander when he had to be and a friend to talk to when you needed him to be. My thoughts are with his family. Mr D you are greatly missed." Lance Corporal L Rowley, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I have only worked with Mr D a few times and every time I did, he did his job to the highest standard and with total professionalism. Mr D was truly 'Second to None'." Guardsman Robert Cox, Number 2 Platoon,1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Mr Dalzell was one of a kind; he was a great role model, always putting the blokes before himself and, no matter what, always got the job done. Mr Dalzell was by far one of the best Platoon Commanders we ever had the privilege of working with. If he wasn't giving me tips in the gym, he was helping me on the ground. Lastly I just want to say Mr Dalzell was one of a kind and an inspiration to the whole platoon." Guardsman Juran Guscott, Number 2 Platoon, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Mr D was a strong man, he always knew what he wanted and always knew what he was doing – an excellent decision maker and always looking after the platoon. He was the man. I will deeply miss him. RIP Mr D." Guardsman Andrew Legge, Number 2 Platoon, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Since I first met Mr Dalzell he always had a smile on his face; in camp and while he was on tour he was the kindest, most polite gentleman I had ever met – always there when you needed someone to talk to and there when you needed something. He was just like one of the other Guardsmen, always having a laugh with us and cheering people up when they needed it the most. "It is a very sad loss, not just to the Platoon but to the Company. All my love goes to Mr Dalzell's family and friends at this very sad time." Guardsman Glen Clarke, Number 2 Platoon, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "From the short time since I joined him in Afghanistan, I saw his overwhelming sense of professionalism and pride – he had a massive influence on his platoon. I can only describe him as 'the man who had everything'. His loss is a massive blow to the platoon." Guardsman David Collier, Number 2 Platoon, 1stt Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "This is just a few words about Lieutenant Dalzell. He was all for the boys – I could chat about things I did not want to talk about to anyone else. We have lost a great man who I will never forget and I feel for his family." Drummer Christian Blackie, Number 2 Platoon, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Mr Dalzell was a greatly loved man. Not only was he an amazing man, he was also one of the finest commanders a soldier could ask for. Our hearts go out to his family and he will be greatly missed."


[ Guardsman Michael Sweeney ]

Guardsman Michael Sweeney from 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards was killed in Afghanistan on 1 April 2010. Guardsman Sweeney died as a result of an explosion that happened in the Babaji District of central Helmand province. The last three and a half months saw Guardsman Sweeney deploy on the full range of complex combat operations in the Babaji area. As well as conducting daily patrols he was involved in the security of Check Points near his Patrol Base. It was whilst on patrol to one of these Check Points with a re-supply for his comrades that Guardsman Sweeney trod on a hidden bomb which took his life. Guardsman Michael Sweeney joined the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards after training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick. He was posted to Number 2 Company in May 2008 for a short time before being posted to Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards based in London. In his short time in the Army Guardsman Sweeney achieved a huge amount. In June 2008 he paraded on the Queen's Birthday Parade followed by a jungle Exercise in Belize later that same year. With a short turnaround in the UK he soon deployed to Kenya in January 2009 for an extended exercise before returning to London to take part, once again, in the Queen's Birthday Parade. Surrounding his time in Number 7 Company was the knowledge that he would most likely deploy to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 11 and he therefore participated in elements of the Battalion's pre-deployment training. In December 2009 Guardsman Sweeney was posted back to the 1st Battalion and deployed to Helmand Province. Guardsman Sweeney was posted to Number 2 Platoon in Number 1 Company, based in Patrol Base 4 in the Babaji Area of Operations. He deployed on the full range of complex combat operations. As well as conducting daily patrols he was involved in the security of Check Points near his Patrol Base. Guardsman Sweeney aspired to join the Signal Platoon on return from this tour and then attend a Junior Non Commissioned Officer course. He was a young but very motivated Guardsman who thrived in the environs of Helmand Province. He was a highly likeable and respected member of a very close knit company. Guardsman Sweeney was aged 19 and came from Blyth in Northumberland. He leaves behind his parents Michael and Kimberley, brother Shaun and fiancée Michelle.

Guardsman Sweeney's family paid the following tribute: "We are devastated by the loss of Michael. He was the greatest son, brother and fiance to Michelle you could possibly ask for. Michael was a proud Guardsman and we are immensely proud of what Michael has achieved in such a short lifetime. "Michael loved to spend time with family and friends which meant so much to him and he was extremely giving to all. He touched so many people's hearts and he will be greatly missed." Lieutenant Colonel T W Gray (Toby), Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "A true son of the north country; proud Northumbrian, true Coldstreamer and outstanding soldier. Beyond this, he was simply a super bloke. Michael Sweeney was selfless amongst his friends, dedicated to his duty and utterly professional at all times. His self effacing humour and generous nature were the hallmarks of his service in the Regiment and values by which he lived his life. He improved the lives of all he met. "He crammed much into his short time in the military, more than many do in a full career. A born enthusiast, he was a net contributor to the team and to all who worked alongside him. His star was rapidly rising and the foundations of a highly successful career lay before him. He served his Battalion, Company and Platoon bravely and honourably. "He fought bravely on the battlefield and brought light into the hearts of his comrades. His tragic and untimely death has robbed us of one of the brightest young guardsmen in the Regiment. We take solace in the fact that he died in the course of doing the job he loved and was passionate about. "Always smiling, always happy, always thinking of others; he will be most sorely missed by his comrades in the Coldstream family. Our thoughts, prayers and hearts are with Michael's fiancée Michelle and parents as they attempt to come to terms with their loss at this most tragic time." Major T P O Till (Toby), Company Commander Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I first met Guardsman Sweeney when I was heading on R&R and Guardsman Sweeney was arriving at Camp Bastion. It can be a daunting prospect deploying on your first tour of Afghanistan but I had already heard from Number 7 Company in London that Guardsman Sweeney was a very special young man. Needless to say he was there sitting with his mates, confident and capable, a reassuring presence in a period of uncertainty. "On arriving with the Company, Guardsman Sweeney quickly proved to all in his Platoon, and the Company, that he was a man you could rely on; hardworking, conscientious and brave, exactly what you want in any young Guardsman. "It was his personality and spirit though which will be most sorely missed. A keen boxer, Guardsman Sweeney was often on the bag in the gym, jabbing away, or playing some volleyball with or against our Afghan Comrades. A proud Northumberland lad, he was full of banter and had a cracking sense of humour and was equally popular with his fellow Guardsmen in the Company as he was back home. "My heart goes out to his family and many friends in Blyth. We are all in a state of shock but still remain fully committed to getting the job done right to the end of our tour; young Michael Sweeney would not have had it any other way." Second Lieutenant J R Howlin (James), Platoon Commander Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Today I have tragically lost an excellent Guardsman and a fine young man. Guardsman Sweeney had a big impact on me in a very short space of time. On first meeting, he immediately struck me as being an absolutely genuine young man, the kind you could rely upon to perform any task thrown at him with the utmost professionalism, dedication and commitment. This he proved time and again both in camp and out on the ground. "He was never one to shy away from anything and always gave things his all, regardless of the difficultly of the undertaking, without complaint and without question; a model young Guardsman. "Further to this, he was perhaps one of the most selfless individuals I have met, always looking out for those around him, putting others before himself, the mark of a truly outstanding bloke. He will be sorely missed both by myself, the boys of 2 Platoon and indeed the Company, all of whom he touched in his time out here. He has left a hole that will not be filled but we are better for having known him. "It was a privilege to serve alongside you Guardsman Sweeney and your courage and sacrifice will not be forgotten. My heartfelt condolences go out to his fiancée Michelle and his family and friends at this tragic time." Warrant Officer Class 2 Steve Taylor, Company Sergeant Major Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Guardsman Sweeney joined Number 1 Company with an incredibly positive and happy outlook. Always one to say hello whenever I saw him, he was a Guardsman that when given a task would easily give 100% into whatever he was set. This smart young man had a very promising career ahead of him and the Regiment will certainly miss his friendly and sociable character. "Guardsman Sweeney took to embedded partnering with the Afghan National Army very well and through something as simple as playing Volleyball bridged cultural barriers. This simple exchange of traits cemented his ability to work through any testing time during this tour. "Guardsman Sweeney, you will never ever be forgotten and the qualities that you had as a person and Guardsman is one that I will relay to any new and valued member of the Regiment for years to come. My thoughts are with you and your family at this tragic time." Sergeant Christopher Hunter, Platoon Sergeant Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Today is a very sad day and a day that will be remembered for the rest of my life, the day that the life of one of my finest Guardsmen was cruelly taken. Michael Sweeney was a valued character and team member of the Platoon. He always remained professional and would always go that extra step to ensure he was helping his friends out. "Always with a smile on his face, he was proud to be doing the job he loved and relished the responsibilities bestowed upon him. He is sorely missed by the Platoon and his sacrifice will never be forgotten. My thoughts go out to his friends and family at this tragically difficult time, but they can be proud and honoured that their life was touched by such a unique and special individual." Lance Sergeant James Clough, Section Commander Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Guardsman Sweeney arrived to join 2 Platoon and Number 1 Company Group in December 2009. In his short time with us he settled in extremely well and bonded closely with the boys. He was always asking ‘what needs doing' and would never shy away from helping anyone out or complain about anything that was asked of him. "He was a good soldier and enjoyed what he did. What is more, he was a cracking young lad and I am proud to have served alongside him. My thoughts go out to his fiancée and his parents at this difficult time." Lance Corporal Matthew Evans, Section Second in Command Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I arrived with Guardsman Sweeney just before Christmas. He settled in to the Platoon straight away. He showed his motivation and physical robustness by always carrying the heavy equipment and never once complained. "When asked to do something he always did it to the best of his ability. He will be sadly missed in the Platoon and he will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with all his family at this sad time. You will never be forgotten mate." Lance Corporal Liam Rowley, Section Second in Command Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "There's a lot I can say about you Sweeney. You brought laughter and smiles everywhere you went. You will be greatly missed as a friend to me and Sarah and all the people who knew you. "You will also be missed as a Coldstream Guardsman. A top bloke, a great friend and a fantastic soldier, it was a pleasure working with you." Guardsman Byron Fry, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I have known Michael for the last six months. We have worked together, lived together and shared each other's company. It has been a privilege to have known him so well. He was my best mate in Number 2 Platoon and we always shared laughs, putting reality into surreal circumstances. "My heart goes out to Michelle and to his parents and little brother. I am gutted about Michael's death, I will never forget him and sorely miss him." Guardsman Andrew Legge, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I have known Sweeney since I came back off R&R. He was a caring man, keen to introduce himself, which is always a good thing. He would do anything for anyone and was always up for a game of volleyball. My love goes out to his family and fiancée." Drummer Christian Blackie, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Sweeney's death is a tragedy. He has to have been one of the nicest and most thoughtful people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Anybody that has ever known him knows that he has a heart of gold. He was always trying to help people and look out for his mates. "My heart goes out to his fiancée and her young son who you could tell he loved dearly as he would always talk of them and tell me how he missed them and how much he was looking forward to getting married. He was a kind, sweet man and he will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences as I know how tragic this loss is." Guardsman Michael Moran, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "You made the ultimate sacrifice and will be sorely missed by everyone in Number 1 Company. We will all keep our heads up and keep smiling in memory of the good times we had together but we will miss you loads. Rest in peace mate." Guardsman David Collier, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "I haven't known Sweeney for long as he arrived out here when I was on R&R, however, as he is from up North near me, we bonded quickly. Most of the free time we got I would see Sweeney playing volleyball or in the gym. "When we were on guard we would talk about the things we would do when we got home. I know he has a fiancée and I feel massively for her loss. My heart goes out to her and his family. I will never forget you." Guardsman Lee Hodgson, Number 2 Platoon, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, said: "Guardsman Sweeney was one of those guys you instantly took a liking to. Within the first couple of days in Number 7 Company together I knew we were going to be good mates. He had a good sense of humour and we spent many nights out in Woolwich together. "His tragic loss has been felt by us all and I will miss him sorely. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and fiancée Michelle at this difficult time. Rest in peace buddy, we will never forget you."