Acting Corporal Marcin Wojtak, Royal Air Force Regiment
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Acting Corporal Marcin Wojtak of the Royal Air Force Regiment was killed in Afghanistan, caught up in an explosion whilst driving in the desert to the south of Bastion Joint Operating Base. He had been driving a Vector, which he used to joke about, telling his parents it was a “coffin on wheels” – he was to have been driving a Mastiff, which would have provided more protection, but the operation in which he was involved could not be delayed the forty-eight hours it would have taken for the Mastiff to be delivered. He had served once before in Afghanistan, as well as the Falkland Islands, and also volunteered as one of the squadron’s Trauma Risk Managers. Acting Corporal Wojtak’s comrades remember him as a gentle giant, a dependable and highly-skilled soldier, someone who would take the time to listen. Wing Commander Shaun Ryles MBE wrote: “Losing a comrade to enemy action is a devastating blow to the Force Protection Wing, especially as it has occurred in the early stages of this Flight’s deployment to Helmand. SAC [Acting Corporal] Wojtak was a man of great strengths; both as a formidable Gunner and as a person who displayed outstanding leadership potential. He was widely respected by all that had the honour to serve with him. He will leave a void that will never be replaced in our hearts and his memory will be enduring.” Marcin, from Melton Mowbray, was 24 years old.