Bombardier Craig Hopson, 40th Regiment, the Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners)
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Bombardier Craig Hopson, 40th Regiment, the Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) was killed in Afghanistan. He had been part of a patrol in the Babaji district of Helmand province when the Jackal vehicle in which he was travelling struck an IED.
He had attended Castleford High Technology College before joining the army in 2002, and he served in Iraq and Cyprus before deploying to Afghanistan as Second-in-Command of a Fire Support Team, attached to The Black Watch. He is remembered as a larger-than-life character, a proud, steadfast Yorkshireman of tremendous moral courage, and a talented sportsman who represented the Army at rugby league. In 2016 a street in his home town was named after him.
Major Jeremy Sharpe said: “Bombardier Hopson was a vibrant individual with a sense of humour and heart to match his stature; his irreverent sense of humour was legendary. He attacked everything in life with verve and determination. ‘Hoppo’ enjoyed hiding his light under a bushel, his brash exterior thinly covering a man of intelligence, courage and compassion; he was the consummate professional. Immensely strong, calm under fire and technically excellent, his team remember him as a man they looked up to and aspired to emulate. My abiding memory of him at work will be him controlling simultaneous missions while under fire without resort to cribs or notes. He was a man in his element doing the job he loved; he earned the deep respect and friendship of everyone in the battery and the Battle Group. His booming voice across the battlefield will be missed by one and all. If he were here he would be the first to crack a joke, remind us of the task in hand and, in his own inimitable style, draw the team together and back to work. That is exactly what we will do; he would expect nothing less than this of us. Bombardier Hopson died as he lived, going forwards, determined and committed. He was one of the best of us and we will carry on strengthened by his memory.”
Craig, from Castleford, West Yorkshire, was 21 years old and left behind a baby daughter.