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  • Christina Drummond

Captain Richard John Holmes and Private Lee Ellis, 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2006,Captain Richard John Holmes and Private Lee Ellis from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (attached to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards), were killed by a roadside bomb as they conducted a routine patrol in Al Amarah, Maysaan Province, Iraq.

Captain Holmes had joined the Parachute Regiment after studying law at Liverpool University; he served with the Battalion in Northern Ireland and also completed an earlier tour in Iraq. He completed an attachment with The Highlanders before returning to The Parachute Regiment to command the Anti Tank Platoon. He deployed to Maysaan as part of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group, and worked with the local Iraqi Security Forces, developing and mentoring a co-ordinated Iraqi Operations Centre as well as learning the local language. More on the story of Captain Holmes:

Lieutenant Colonel James Chiswell said: “Charming, compassionate and bright, Richard was one of The Parachute Regiment’s rising stars. He brought a warm humour and enormous professionalism to all he touched. He excelled as a young commander with both The Parachute Regiment and The Highlanders, and was deeply respected by those he led. In Iraq he made a real difference, displaying wise judgement and total dedication in his efforts to progress the efficiency of the Iraqi Police in Al Amarah. As a reflection of his ability and character, he was due to leave us later this year to take up a prestigious instructor’s post as a Platoon Commander at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Kind, fun and warm humoured, he was a pleasure to be with and always saw the lighter side of life. With his passing, The Parachute Regiment has lost a fine soldier and officer.”

Richard, from Winchester, was 28 years old and newly married.

Private Ellis had joined the Army in 2003 and the following year joined D Company, the Second Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He suffered an injury in 2005, and worked hard to recover so that he could deploy to Iraq in October of 2005, with D Company as part of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group. He had given up a career in professional football to join The Parachute Regiment, and was also an accomplished boxer and had intended to represent his company and battalion when he returned to the U.K. He is remembered as popular, a good friend to have, and a privilege to have served alongside.

Lieutenant Colonel Chiswell said: "Bright, enthusiastic and immensely popular, Private Ellis displayed all the qualities of a first class Paratrooper. His strength of character and dedication were reflected in his determination to overcome injury and to join his friends and comrades on operations in southern Iraq. His comradeship stood out; he was always willing to help others, and invariably did so with a smile on his face. Hardworking, professional and with an irrepressible sense of humour, he showed enormous compassion in his dealing with the local Iraqis he encountered, whether they were Police, civilians or children. He was a natural team player who always looked out for others and who was always upbeat and focused. Above all else he was a total professional, dedicated to his task. He made a genuine difference in Iraq. Private Ellis was an outstanding soldier, comrade and friend." Lee, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, was 23 years old, and left behind his fiancee and small daughter.

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