Private Gareth Bellingham, 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Staffords)
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2011, Private Gareth Bellingham, from 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords), was killed in Afghanistan. He was fatally wounded as he tried to go to the aid of an Afghan civilian wounded by an IED, when his patrol came under fire from insurgents near Khar Nikar in the Upper Gereshk Valley, Helmand province. Private Bellingham had joined the army at the age of 18, completed the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle Gunnery, Driving and Maintenance Courses in quick succession, and soon became his company’s best Warrior Gunner. His Commanding Officer commented: "Private Bellingham was an exemplar of the counter-insurgent soldier that works in the Nahr-e Saraj area of operations. His conduct, professionalism, confidence and good nature helped reassure and protect a population in harm’s way. The Afghan Army Tolay that he worked with thought so highly of him that several, in turn, refused to leave him when struck, considering him ‘one of theirs’ after just two months of fighting together. Typical of his unit, fighting to keep others safe, he was an excellent soldier who will be desperately missed." He was known as a tough, mature and dedicated soldier with huge potential. Gareth, from Stoke-on-Trent, was 22 years old.