Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2007, Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards was killed in Afghanistan. His vehicle was caught in an explosion when on a patrol with the Afghan National Army close to the town of Sangin in Helmand Province. He had joined the army in 2004, and had previously served in Iraq. His Company Commander paid this tribute: "Guardsman Downes was without doubt one of the most remarkable Guardsmen that I have had the pleasure to serve with. He was a man of huge intellect....he was always going to be the Company’s choice as intelligence rep. This was a responsibility that he fully embraced, always willing to give informed briefs at a moment’s notice. He had developed such a depth of understanding about the areas that we worked in that the Company was always well prepared. Consummately professional in everything he did, he never stopped gathering vital intelligence whilst on patrol in areas such as Sangin, Gereshk and Babaji. He was completely dedicated to his job and to the men around him, making him both a pleasure and an honour to command. Guardsman Downes loved soldiering and so died doing something he loved and believed in totally. Guardsman Downes added so much to the Company and asked for very little in return. He was a real asset and his loss will be felt keenly within The Inkerman Company and the Grenadier Guards as a whole." Tony, from Manchester, was 20 years old.