Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Lance Corporal Robert Martin Richards, Armoured Support Group, Royal Marines, died in Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham from wounds sustained in Afghanistan five days earlier. He had been serving as Second-in-Command of a Viking All-Terrain Vehicle Section in 3rd Armoured Support Troop of the Armoured Support Group Royal Marines. His vehicle struck an IED, he was given immediate first aid then taken to medical facilities in Kandahar before being flown home to the UK. Although he put up what was described as “an extraordinary fight” he succumbed to his injuries.
Lance Corporal Richards had joined the Royal Marines in 2002, and after training he served as a Rifleman with 45 Commando, then as Section Second-in-Command, completing a tour in Northern Ireland. After that he qualified as a Viking All-Terrain Vehicle operator, and at the time of his death was on his third tour in Afghanistan. He is remembered for his courage under fire, great composure, dedication to his comrades, and a very notable sense of humour.
Major Richard Hopkins said: “LCpl Richards was a unique, utterly confident and accomplished Viking operator. His eccentric pranks and arid banter coupled with his ability to dress in quirky PT kit or the most obscure items of issued clothing made him stand out starkly in the group and for all the right reasons. He was simply an enormous character in the Armoured Support Group and he has left his mark on all of us. He clearly possessed his own inimitable style of leadership, rooted firmly on personal example and loyalty and this was an obvious and phenomenal force in the group. As an operator, he had been forged on operations and his sense of importance lay firmly with the necessities of fighting and winning, all else was irrelevant. Rob brought something distinctive to the Armoured Support Group and his character will remain ingrained in our unit ethos and approach for a very long time to come.”
Robert, from Betws-y-Coed in North Wales, was 24 years old.