Squadron Leader Anthony Downing, Royal Air Force
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2011, Squadron Leader Anthony Downing, Royal Air Force, died from wounds received the previous day in Afghanistan. The vehicle he was travelling in was caught in an explosion south of Kabul; he was flown home to the U.K. but sadly, with his family around him, he died from his injuries.
From a very young age he had wanted to join the R.A.F., and belonged to his school’s Combined Cadet Force, where he showed commitment, determination and self-motivation. An engineer by trade, he studied at the Defence School of Languages, coming top in his course and travelling to Tajikistan to study further. He also trained for and competed in Iron Man Triathlons and Ultra Marathons. His noted unassuming nature, confidence and personal charm made it easy for him to effectively interact with colleagues and with the Afghan people.
Warrant Officer Chris Miles MBE, said: “I had the honour and privilege to serve under the truly exceptional and inspirational leadership of Squadron Leader Downing throughout his tour of duty as the Senior Engineering Officer on the Nimrod Line Squadron. Both as an Aeronautical Engineer and as an Officer Commanding he was at all times and without exception, the consummate professional. As one of those rare individuals who genuinely always put the interests of others above himself he held the deserved respect and admiration of all those who had the good fortune to work alongside him. Under the most challenging of circumstances it was his personal incisive and well balanced engineering judgement that ensured the continued delivery of safe and effective operations within the Nimrod force until the aircraft was retired from active service in 2010. During his speech at the formal dinner to mark this historic event he modestly demonstrated his gifted personal qualities through his ability to recount, from memory, the individual names of the nearly two hundred and fifty personnel who were serving under him on the Squadron at that time. Through this tragedy we have lost one of the most gifted and personable individuals I have ever had the privilege to know. In every sense of the word he was a true comrade, on
e of ‘the very best’ who will be sadly missed but never, ever forgotten.”
Anthony, from Kingsdown in Kent, was 34 years old.