Rifleman Adrian Sheldon, 2nd Battalion The Rifles
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009. Rifleman Adrian Sheldon, 2nd Battalion The Rifles, died in Afghanistan. He had been driving a Jackal 4x4 as part of a six-vehicle convoy returning to the Inkerman base after a patrol; the vehicle exploded when he drove over either an IED or a mine (it was not evident after the explosion). The Coroner at his inquest said: "One can only wonder at the fortitude and bravery of the troops on a patrol such as this. The evidence we've heard just brings that home, and shows the risks they face every day out in the field." Rifleman Sheldon first joined the battalion in 2001 and he served in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq. He left the Army for a while to try something else, but returned to the battalion in time to begin pre-deployment training for Afghanistan. A well-qualified driver, he learned to drive the Jackal and took to his new job with what was described as “an enviable alacrity,” and also took his place in a Rifle Section as Machine Gunner. Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson said of him: “Rifleman Sheldon was one of those ‘rocks’ in my Fire Support Groups. Deeply experienced on operations and in life, he was an outstanding role model to all of us who count it a privilege to have served alongside him. He was a master of his trade and, like his brother Riflemen, he was thriving here in North Helmand; he was at the very forefront of his company’s operations. One of what I call my ‘Mansfield gang’, he was not a noisy Rifleman like some but there was an enviable depth and maturity to his character, which drew Riflemen of all ranks to him.” Adrian, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, was 25 years old.