Private Gavin Elliott, 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Private Gavin Elliott of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment was killed in Afghanistan. He was operating with The Light Dragoons Battle Group on a foot patrol in Babaji district, central Helmand province, in his familiar position as point man on a clearance operation when his call sign came under close quarter attack from insurgents. Private Elliott was shot and fatally wounded and despite the best efforts of his platoon to quickly extract him from the scene for evacuation by helicopter, his injuries were too severe and he died en route. Private Elliott had joined the army in 2007, and served in Northern Ireland. He is remembered as insisting on going ‘point man’ and always taking the lead in the search for IEDs – lying on his stomach tenaciously carrying out fingertip searches of the dust and dirt, uncovering countless numbers of IEDs buried in the ground. His bravery was remarked on as an inspiration. Lieutenant Colonel Simon Banton paid this tribute: "The austere conditions in which soldiers in Helmand live and work are enough to test the resolve of any man; to endure these conditions with the zest for life and good humour for which Gavin was known are testament to a great man and a great soldier. Gavin was professional, hardworking and a man in whom you had the utmost confidence. He never shied from danger and in the fiercest of battles you took comfort from knowing he was with you, side-by-side, and sharing the danger. Gavin was developing as a leader of men and I have no doubt he had a successful career ahead of him. The British Army is lucky that men of Gavin’s calibre are among us. We will miss him greatly but our loss is nothing to the devastation of his family. Stand easy brother, your duty is done." Gavin, from Nottinghamshire, was 19 years old.