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  • Christina Drummond

Sergeant John Manuel (45 Commando Royal Marines), Marine Damian Davies (Commando Logistic Regiment)

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2008, Sergeant John Manuel (Company HQ, X-Ray Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines), Marine Damian Davies (Landing Force Support Party (LFSP), Commando Logistic Regiment) and Corporal Marc Birch (6 Troop, X-Ray Company Royal Marines) were killed by a thirteen-year-old suicide bomber south of Sangin, Afghanistan. Sgt. Manuel completed training in 1989 and served in Iraq and Kosovo. He was a Specialist Driver/Instructor, and fulfilled a crucial role as the Quartermaster’s Logistic Forward Representative within X- Ray Company. Major Richard Maltby said: “Sgt. Manuel was a larger than life character who had become part of the backbone of X-Ray Company. A limitless ‘ball of fire’, Sgt. Manuel was at the forefront of company life. Hugely popular, he combined a mischievous sense of humour with a dedication and professional manner that was second-to-none. He died doing what he loved, commanding a detachment on operations and taking the fight to the enemy.” John, from Newcastle, was 38 years old. Marine Davies joined the Royal Navy in 2000, but transferred to the Royal Marines at the end of 2001. His C.O. said of him: "The Commando Spirit resonates in every recollection of Marine Davies. His courage was resolute as his tragic death in the front line is testament to. His determination and unselfishness are underscored by his reputation for being the first to volunteer for any tasks, and his cheerfulness is epitomised by the fact that nobody can remember him without a ready smile. At work his style was understated and selfless, and he had a reputation for working hard...he was a loyal and dedicated Royal Marine." Damian, from Telford in Shropshire, was 27 years old and left behind a pregnant wife and toddler son. Corporal Birch joined the Royal Marines in 1999 and served in Iraq and Northern Ireland. He was a Heavy Weapons Anti-Tank Specialist, providing fire support to the front line with a variety of Crew Served Weapons: Heavy Machine Gun, Grenade Machine Gun and the Javelin missile system. Marine Joe Hawley said: “The term nicest guy can be used to describe Birchy. He was truly one in a million. His good humour and happy go lucky nature shone through in everything that he did. The junior marines within the troop feel fortunate to have worked with him so early on in their careers. We can only hope to aspire to be as good a bootneck as Birchy. Everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him and who would put up with his abysmal jokes will sorely miss Birchy. From all of 6 Troop - ‘Never forgotten’.” Marc, from Northampton, was 26 years old and recently married

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