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Sergeant Peter Rayner, 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2010, Sergeant Peter Rayner, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed when he was caught in an IED explosion as he led his men on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

In 1994 he had joined 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, which had been his father’s battalion during his army career. He deployed as a Warrior driver to Bosnia in 1997, Macedonia in 1998 and again to Bosnia in 2000. During that time he was promoted to Lance Corporal and became a Regimental Gunnery Instructor, Driving and Maintenance Instructor, and Fleet Manager. He then deployed to Iraq as a Warrior Commander. On his return he moved to the Anti-Tank Platoon and completed the Milan Detachment Commanders’ Course, after which he returned to Iraq as a Warrior Sergeant with the newly-formed 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

In 2009, after excelling on the Javelin Section Commanders’ Course, he deployed to Afghanistan and on his return received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. The following year he returned to Afghanistan as Javelin Platoon Sergeant, now renowned for his bravery and courage as well as a reputation as one of the best Javelin Commanders in the Army.

His comrades remember him as a very proud Dad, a man with an amazing sense of humour, a true friend who was fiercely protective of his men as he was of his family. He was always looking for new challenges for himself as well as ways to improve life for his men.

Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd said: “Sergeant Rayner told you exactly how things were. He was honest, loyal and always vocal. A true Lion of England and a man of high morals, guts and integrity. A man who cared not just for the morale of his soldiers but in how that morale was created. A man with great spirit and forthrightness. Sergeant Rayner was a man who I respected as someone never afraid to ask his C.O. a tough question or tell me how my soldiers were feeling. When I could squeeze a word in edgeways, I would joke with him that he was my ‘shop steward’. He never let me down; always telling me the truth, always presenting a fresh opinion, always diplomatic and always underpinning our chats with his fine sense of humour. He gained my trust and admiration very early on, particularly for his leadership in Afghanistan, where he had proven himself on two separate tours this year. Ferocious in defence of his men and deadly with a Javelin missile, he fired as many as any operator in the Army when facing the enemy in battle. I have lost a confidante, a magnificent Javelin Missile Detachment Commander and an honourable soldier. England has lost one of her most respected Lions and I have lost a most sincere and trusted friend.” Peter, from Bradford, was 34 years old and married with a son.

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