Sapper William Blanchard, 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2010, Sapper William Blanchard from 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), serving with the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan. He was in the Nahr-e Saraj area of Helmand province, dealing with a suspect explosive device when his team was engaged by small arms fire - Sapper Blanchard was fatally wounded. He had volunteered for mobilisation in 2010, and joined 61 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) for mission specific training before deployment. Known as a friendly, well-considered and down-to-earth man, he was considered to be the cornerstone of the reservist element within the Task Force. His aspiration was to attempt officer selection on completion of his operational service and it was note that he showed many of the hallmarks of a great leader. A radiation protection officer by profession, he had gained a double honours degree in Chemistry with Organic Chemistry and a Masters in Biomedical Pharmacology at the University of Southampton. His C.O. said of him: "He was a father figure to the younger elements of the squadron. He was always concerned with their development and welfare - he was the consummate professional and it was not for nothing that he was known as ‘the Colonel’! He was a perfectionist but one who had endless patience with his fellow soldiers, he was both impeccable and irreplaceable; people like Sapper Blanchard only come along once in a blue moon." William, from Gosport in Hampshire, was 39 years old and married with two children.