Lance Corporal Dane Elson, 1st Battalion, the Welsh Guards
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Lance Corporal Dane Elson, 1st Battalion, the Welsh Guards, was killed while on patrol in Babaji in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
He was a Team Commander in his Fire Support Group which had just been involved in an attack on an enemy-held compound, when an IED exploded, killing him instantly. The force of the explosion caused the loss of three of his limbs – his remains were gathered by his closest friend, Lance Sergeant Dan Collins, who was to take his own life two-and-a-half years later after a lengthy struggle with severe trauma, depression and survivor’s guilt.
Lance Corporal Elson had joined the army at the age of seventeen in 2004, and served in Iraq and Bosnia. His comrades referred to him as brave and selfless. He was described as being in his element in the army, popular and inspiring, a soldier with a no-doubt successful career ahead of him.
Major Austen Salusbury said: “Lance Corporal Elson was a first class soldier who crammed a lot into the five years he spent with 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. He had shone as a Guardsman and had been recently promoted before deploying to Afghanistan…..he proved as expected to be a very strong Team Commander in the demanding operational environment of Afghanistan. His deployment from the UK brought significant impact; his characteristic drive and determination were an example to his comrades in the small and tightly-knit band of Guardsmen serving with The Light Dragoons Battle Group. Lance Corporal Elson’s unassuming character belied a quiet determination and confidence which was reassuring to all. With a diligence in all that he did, his Platoon Commander could not have asked for a better man to command one of his fire support group teams. Extremely sociable and universally popular, his loss will be felt by all of the friends he had in the Anti-Tank Platoon and his Fire Support Group, in Support Company as a whole, and by the wider Welsh Guards family.”
Dane, born in Zimbabwe but raised in England, was 22 years old.