• Christina Drummond

Corporal Lee Brownson and Rifleman Luke Farmer, 3rd Battalion, The Rifles


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2010, Corporal Lee Brownson and Rifleman Luke Farmer, from 3rd Battalion The Rifles (3 RIFLES) were killed as the result of an IED while on patrol near Sangin in Helmand province.

Corporal Brownson enlisted in the army in 1997 and served in Sierra Leone, Cyprus, Iraq, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. He had been awarded a distinction on the elite Platoon Serjeants’ Battle Course before deployment, and was considered ready for promotion. His comrades remember him as a brilliant Section Commander, tough and compassionate, a man of razor wit and extraordinary bravery.

Major Tim Harris paid this tribute: "Corporal Brownson was truly phenomenal. He was loved by his men; they all wanted to be just like him, their hero. He was kind and caring, taking new arrivals under his wing and giving them courage during the darkest of hours. He was outstandingly brave; if there was a fight to be had he was always at the front. On one occasion, like the all-action hero he was, he was hit by a piece of shrapnel in his shoulder, but refused medical treatment, dealing with it in the morning once the enemy had gone. I spoke to him about his career the day before he died and I am so grateful that I got the chance. We discussed his hopes, fears and ambitions. I got the chance to thank him for his exemplary bravery during a previous attack at Patrol Base Almas, and for his fortitude which helped see his platoon through the hardest of times. The battalion has lost a fine soldier, a compassionate human being, a cheeky chap and a dear friend.”

Lee, from Bishop Auckland, was 30 years old, married with two small daughters and a baby on the way.

Rifleman Farmer had joined the army in 2008, and had already been noted as selfless and dedicated, a fit and determined young man who speedily proved maturity beyond his years.

Major Tim Harris wrote: "Rifleman Luke Farmer was a typical Yorkshireman; tough as granite, quietly self-assured and as brave as ten men. He was a man who ‘spoke softly but carried a big stick’. There was no front, no bluff, just honest endeavour and extraordinary maturity for one so young. It was no surprise to me that when he died he had just been fighting the enemy, and that he was the front man, clearing the route in the dark with a metal detector for his mates so that they would be safe. He saw this as his sacred duty - and he was damned good at it. Time and again he found devices which were subsequently made safe, saving countless lives and limbs. I hope his family can take comfort from the fact that Luke died doing an important job, and one that he cared passionately about."

Luke, from Pontefract in West Yorkshire, was 19 years old.

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