Sapper Connor Ray, 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2012, Sapper Connor Ray from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) died in hospital from wounds sustained in Afghanistan. He had been involved in a search and clearance operation in the Nad ‘Ali district of central Helmand near to Checkpoint Kahmanan, during which he was seriously injured in an IED strike. A popular and cheerful young man, he had joined the army at the age of seventeen, two years later joining 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) where he trained as an Advanced Searcher. His busy specialist role included providing support for a number of high profile events. During his time in Afghanistan, Sapper Ray and his team successfully undertook a number of high risk searches which no doubt saved numerous lives. From Major Ben Hawkins: "Deliberately going into an area suspected to contain improvised explosive devices is perhaps one of the most challenging jobs in the world; to do so takes a certain type of character. It demands a stoic resolve and resolute dedication. Sapper Ray had these virtues in abundance. Always smiling and exceptionally personable, Sapper Ray had the kind of ‘can do’ attitude that every commander would want in his soldiers. His quick wit and easygoing nature endeared him to all who had the privilege of working with him. He was an ideal and immediate choice to integrate into a Search Team from another squadron; such was our faith in his abilities and character. In short he was a fine soldier, ideal Sapper, and an excellent searcher." Connor, from Newport, Gwent, had just turned 21 years of age.