Lance Corporal James Hill, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Lance Corporal James Hill of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards in Afghanistan was killed in an explosion near Camp Bastion. He had first deployed on Op HERRICK 7 and spent the tour in Forward Operating Base (FOB) Keenan with No 3 Company Group. His mortar section was fully involved in numerous engagements in the Upper Gereshk Valley. He was then sent on a JNCO’s cadre and passed with a very high standard. In January 2009 he was sent on the Mortar Standards Course during which he proved his considerable abilities, and during the summer he qualified as a Joint Fires Coordinator. Lance Corporal Hill is remembered as a personable, motivated and intelligent warrior, nurturing those under his command and constantly striving for excellence. He was known to be enthusiastic and energetic about his job and considered to be “every ounce a model Coldstreamer.” Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray said of him: “Lance Corporal Hill was, from the very start of his career, a soldier with the most outstanding qualities. His drive to be the best was constant and he was a man with commendable ambitions within the Army. His qualities really came to the fore prior to Op HERRICK 7 when he was selected, as a relatively junior Guardsman, to be a No 1 in a mortar section. He thrived on the challenge of the job as well as the added responsibility that it demanded of him. He rose to the task with typical gusto and determination. His actions throughout the tour were in line with what we all began to expect from him; second-to-none. He was a ray of light for the future of the Mortar Platoon with his skills, current experience and thirst for knowledge and it is a tragedy that he has been taken from us so early in his life. Lance Corporal Hill was, quite simply, superb at everything he did. He was personable, intelligent, fit and ambitious. His humour, coupled with his energy, singled him out as a popular and respected Junior Non-Commissioned Officer.” James, from Redhill in Surrey, was 23 years old and engaged to be married.