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  • Christina Drummond

Rifleman Daniel Holkham, 3rd Battalion, The Rifles

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2010, Rifleman Daniel Holkham, from 3rd Battalion The Rifles (3 RIFLES), serving with the 3 RIFLES Battle Group, was killed in Afghanistan. He died as he tried to intercept a suicide bomber walking towards his patrol near to the Sangin Bazaar, just minutes after he had helped to defuse a Taliban bomb. His two brothers, aged 18 and 20, were also serving and accompanied their brother’s coffin home.

Rifleman Holkham had joined the army at the age of sixteen, and had been in Afghanistan for six months prior to his death. He had been nicknamed “Snake-Eyes” and despite his young age was known as one of the go-to Rifleman, with extraordinary physical and mental endurance and courage. Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson said: “Daniel Holkham was a model Rifleman; robust, bright and dedicated, he was everything a commander could hope for and more. Joining us a year before our build-up training for this deployment, he had ample opportunity to show that he had both quality and potential in abundance.

There is no doubt that a bright future lay ahead of this young man and it is a tragedy that he has been robbed of the opportunity to fulfil it. Rifleman Holkham was well established as the lead man in his patrol, responsible for searching the ground for buried explosive devices to allow his patrol to pass safely. The selflessness and professionalism required to carry out this task, day after day, in the most challenging of environments, is one of the most humbling things to witness. Rifleman Holkham carried out this task diligently, willingly and with plenty of professional pride, such was his dedication to his fellow Riflemen.

He died at the head of his patrol, another unquestioningly courageous Rifleman intercepting a crazed suicide bomber before he could cause havoc in the Sangin bazaar. The loss of a Rifleman so full of promise is a devastating blow to the Battle Group but we will draw inspiration from his example and continue undeterred in carrying out the valuable work for which he laid down his life.” Daniel, from the Isle of Sheppey, was 19 years old.

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