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  • Christina Drummond

Captain Mark Hale and Rifleman Daniel Wild, 2nd Battalion The Rifles, and Lance Bombardier Matthew H

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Captain Mark Hale (left in photo) and Rifleman Daniel Wild (right) of 2nd Battalion The Rifles and Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton (centre) of 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) were killed in Afghanistan. They died as a result of an explosion while on patrol near Sangin in Helmand province. Captain Hale joined the Army at age 16 as a Junior Leader and embarked on an exceptional career with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. He served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq as well as Afghanistan. He had been trying to help an injured comrade to safety when he was caught up in the blast. He managed the careers of almost 1,000 soldiers in 1st Battalion The Rifles as four regiments merged to form The Rifles in 2007. He then moved to 2 RIFLES as the Motor Transport Officer and then became the Battle Group Logistics Officer for operations in Afghanistan this summer. He is remembered as courageous, highly intelligent (he had a Masters degree in Psychology), and an exceptional soldier. Mark, from Bournemouth, was 42 years old and was married with two daughters. Lance Bombardier Hatton had served in Iraq before deployment to Afghanistan as an Observation Post Assistant. According to the government fatalities page: "The role of an Observation Post Assistant is a demanding one and requires a special breed of soldier. The job requires initiative, foresight, composure under extreme pressure, clarity of thought, physical and mental robustness, and tactical awareness. Lance Bombardier Hatton epitomised these qualities and possessed an enthusiasm for his work which was clear for all to see." Comrades remember him for his cheerfulness, wit and his remarkable strength as a soldier. Matthew, from Haxby in North Yorkshire, was 23 years old. Rifleman Wild is remembered as having thrown himself wholeheartedly into pre-deployment training, determined to excel. He passed many courses with distinction including the Team Medic cadre. He was also an exceptional shot, both with rifle and machine gun. Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson said: “Rifleman Wild was an epic Rifleman who has been right at the very front of our fight here in Sangin. He has been fearless and his platoon adored him for it. He was always the lead man in his patrol; he got on with facing that risk every day without any complaint. He was selfless to a fault, everyone else, whatever their rank, came first and his nature was to hunt out the funny side of life. He has saved life here because, as point man, he was always on the look out for IEDs and it is tragic but typical that he died helping to carry a wounded friend to a helicopter landing site for evacuation." Daniel, from Easington, was 19 years old.

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