Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher, 2nd Battalion, The Rifles
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher from 2nd Battalion The Rifles was killed in Afghanistan. As part of the Quick Reaction Force he and his platoon were providing protection for casualty evacuations and bomb disposal teams. He had just told a colleague that he (the colleague) was lucky to have survived a bomb explosion, then walked away and was killed as he stepped on a hidden IED. He had joined the army two years earlier, won a battalion award for valour at the end of the testing exercise for preventing a counter-attack, was selected to go to the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick as a mentor to new recruits, and in 2008 deployed to Kosovo. He arrived in Afghanistan in April of 2009. Major Alastair Field said: “Rifleman Thatcher was an outstanding 19-year-old Rifleman who simmered with potential. Readily accepted and respected by all ranks, arguably one of the best Riflemen in my Company. He had it all - a fit, strong and intelligent exterior and a caring but wicked sense of humour beneath. A ray of morale always shone through, whatever the weather and circumstances. No job was too tough. His Platoon, Company, Battalion and the wider British Army has lost a rising star and personality.” He had left a message in a book in his bedroom before he went to Afghanistan, which his parents found the day before his funeral: “I died doing what I was born to do, I was happy and felt great about myself. Although the Army was sadly the ending of me, it was also the making of me so please don’t feel any hate toward it. If I could have a wish in life it would to be able to say I’ve gone and done things many would never try to do. And going to Afghan has fulfilled my dream.” Cyrus, from Reading, was 19 years old.