The soldiers were part of a patrol travelling along Route 611 between Forward Operating Base Ouellette and Patrol Base Lashkar Gah Durai in Nahr-e Saraj district when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). They were evacuated by air to the military hospital at Camp Bastion, where it was confirmed that they had been killed in action.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
I was deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of these soldiers, each highly praised and respected by their colleagues and commanders. It is clear from the tributes paid to them that they were exceptional men who served their country with distinction. My thoughts go out to the families and friends of these brave men at this very difficult time.
Brigadier Rupert Jones MBE, Commander Task Force Helmand, said:
The loss of these 3 brave Scottish soldiers comes as a great blow to everyone in the Task Force, but leaves us all the more determined in our task to do justice to their memory. Their families are in our thoughts and I hope that they can draw a little comfort from the affection in which Corporal Savage, Fusilier Flint and Private Hetherington were held by their brothers in arms and from the courage they displayed.
Corporal William Thomas Savage, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment Of Scotland (2 SCOTS)
Born in Irvine on 27 January 1983, Corporal Savage enlisted into the British Army in April 2003. After completing recruit training he joined The 1st Battalion, The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret’s own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment) in November 2003.
He deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic in 2004 and completed 2 previous deployments to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 8 in 2008 and Operation Herrick 13 in 2010 with 2 SCOTS. He excelled on the Section Commanders’ Battle Course on 17 June 2011 and was promoted to full Corporal shortly afterwards. Prior to his appointment as a Section Commander in a Rifle Company he had been a member of the Regimental Police.
Corporal Savage deployed to Afghanistan on 11 March 2013. He commanded 3 Section, 1 Platoon in a District Enabling Company composed of Bravo Company Group, 2 SCOTS, part of the First Fusiliers Battlegroup. He was based in Forward Operating Base Ouellette in the Northern Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Corporal Savage was a keen sportsman who enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities. He was enthusiastic about skiing and was a talented kayak instructor.
Corporal Savage was a shining example of a Scottish infantry soldier and was a rising star in the Battalion with an extremely bright future ahead of him. He will be sorely missed by the entire Battalion and will always be remembered. He leaves behind his wife, Lyndsey, who is expecting their first child.
Corporal Savage’s wife has made the following statement:
I am completely devastated by this news but extremely proud of ‘Sav’ and everything that he has achieved.
He loved being a soldier!
I have lost the love of my life and the father of our son. I know his life will live on through so many amazing memories that we shared together. He will be deeply missed amongst family, friends and the Regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Robin Lindsay, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
We will remember Corporal William Savage as an exceptional soldier, a dedicated leader and a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He was a classic example of a Scottish infantryman; robust, committed and blessed with a fine line in banter. He had made the Battalion proud with his excellent recent performance on the Section Commanders’ Battle Course at the Infantry Battle School and he was rightly proud of his well-earned reputation as a tough combat soldier. He had proven his credentials on two previous tours of Afghanistan and we considered him a leading light amongst the corporals in the Battalion and Regiment.
Corporal Savage’s composed and professional approach had a calming influence on his Platoon and he was seemingly unaffected by the dangers he faced daily in Afghanistan. He was unflappable and this example inspired his fellow soldiers. In a similar manner his bright personality lifted the spirits of those around him, particularly during difficult times.
Corporal Savage also played a full and vibrant part in wider Battalion life; whether it was growing an extravagant moustache for charity or organising social events in the Corporals’ Mess, he was always at the forefront of the fun. He was very popular with us all, but particularly with our junior soldiers because of the compassion and understanding he showed them.
The loss of Corporal Savage has been a hammer blow to the Battalion and the Regimental family. We are all immensely proud to have known him and we will miss him dearly. He will always be remembered as a brilliant soldier and a remarkable man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lyndsey and his family at this tragic time.
Lieutenant Colonel Jon Swift, Commanding Officer First Fusiliers, Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj, said:
The loss of Corporal William Savage will be keenly felt by all in the First Fusiliers Battlegroup. He arrived in Afghanistan only seven weeks ago but he had already made a tangible difference to the combat effectiveness of his Section. He was an outstanding leader who took pride in inspiring his men to follow his lead; he demonstrated compassion and courage in equal measure. Corporal Savage’s sacrifice has deepened our admiration for the courage of those who so willingly risk their lives in order that others may hope to live in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times.
Major Stephen Dallard, Officer Commanding B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
Corporal William Savage joined B Company in January 2013 after the Company was re-roled to take over Forward Operating Base Ouellette. He made an immediate impression on me, relaxed in character and yet utterly professional.
Deploying on Operation Herrick 18 with a section consisting of many new Fusiliers, he led by example and managed his Section with warmth and compassion; it was clear from the start that Corporal Savage was hugely popular with the men he commanded. Since arriving in Ouellette he has been a pillar of strength to his Section, leading and guiding them through the initial difficult few weeks of deployment.
During the Company’s final training in Camp Bastion I was able to see much more of Corporal Savage than I had managed in pre-deployment training. It was evident he was immensely respected by his peers, with most looking up to him and seeking his advice and guidance. It has been a real privilege to have commanded a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer of such quality, a man finessed with a genuine and sincere character.
Despite only serving in B Company for four months, he had integrated fully and become part of the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer fabric that underpins the Company. His loss is deeply felt by all and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, in particular his wife Lyndsey at such a devastating time.
Lieutenant Robin Hold, 1 Platoon Commander, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
Corporal Savage was a charismatic and enthusiastic individual. He possessed the ability to inspire those under his command due to his competence and professionalism as a soldier and through his confident personality. He was always thoughtful and caring, putting the needs of the Platoon before his own.
I have worked with Corporal Savage for six months and during that time his diligence and ability impressed me on every level. He had so much potential to succeed in his career and I have no doubt that he would have excelled on any path he wished to take. Words cannot describe the impact that his loss will have on the Platoon.
He will not only be missed as an excellent soldier but as a well-rounded and amicable character. My condolences go out to his wife and family at this emotional and difficult time.
Warrant Officer Class One Billy Garrick, Regimental Sergeant Major, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
Corporal William (Sav) Savage will be remembered as a true Jock, never stuck for words and quick to reply with humorous banter. His manner was such that warming to his wide smile and endless enthusiasm was easy to do regardless of rank. My first impressions were of a man with so much to give and the bright future ahead of him was evident from the first day I met him.
He was that true Scottish soldier, never phased by the challenges that were brought upon him and quick to help others when required. A truly talented Junior NCO who led by example in all that he did; excelling at every opportunity both in the barracks and on operations. He was a true friend to those who served alongside him. There will be a gap, not only in the Corporals’ Mess, but Battalion wide. My thoughts are with his wife, Lyndsey, the future of his child, and his family and friends at this time.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Stevie Main, Company Sergeant Major, B Company, The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
Corporal Savage was an outstanding soldier, professional throughout and set the high calibre of Junior Non-Commissioned Officers within B Company. A true friend to all ranks within our Company and across the whole Battalion. My thoughts are with his wife Lyndsey and their families. You will always be in my prayers, mate.
Sergeant Saisi Vono, Platoon Sergeant, Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
Sav was a good friend and comrade within the B Company Group. I have known him for years, he was a good humble person and very well respected by his peers. My friend, may your soul rest in peace and my heart goes out to your family mucker. May God bless your soul.
Corporal Connor Grant, 2 Section Commander, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
A true professional and a true friend. I am proud to have known him; he was taken far too soon.
Corporal Mark McLaren, 1 Section Commander, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
A kind, considerate and professional soldier, I feel proud and privileged to have served with him for so many years. He will be truly missed.
Lance Corporal Andy Dunsmore, Second in Command, 1 Section, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:
It was a pleasure and honour having Sav as a friend and part of 1 Platoon. He was a true friend that you could rely on for any help or advice. Gonzo will be sadly missed but never forgotten.
Fusilier James O’Brien, Rifleman, 2 Platoon, B Company, The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment, of Scotland, said:
Mrs Savage, it hurts me so much to write this to you on this day. I can’t begin to think how you feel right now. On the 20 April, myself and William got tasked to help some contractors make the area safe. It was just me and William most days and each night for a week. We talked and laughed about so much. He had some amazing advice which helped me so much and made me a better person and I will always be grateful for the time we spent together out in the desert, in camp or on courses. I will never forget him or the time we had together, he was the perfect man. I am so sorry for his wife Lyndsey, the baby and the family. I will never forget him.