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  • Christina Drummond

Ranger David Dalzell, 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2011 Ranger David Dalzell, 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, was killed in Nad 'Ali, Helmand province. He had been erecting a commemorative flag pole for a colleague killed by an IED when he himself was shot in the chest by his best friend - who had failed to notice the magazine was still attached as he carried out a functioning test on his rifle. The friend pleaded guilty at a court martial to a charge of negligently performing a duty while handling a service rifle, causing the unintended discharge of a round. He was sentenced to six months’ detention, suspended for a year.

One of a family of seven children, Ranger Dalzell had joined the army the previous year, and settled in quickly. He was noted for his sense of humour, his bravery, and a passionate commitment to his job. In the short time he served, the impression he made was positive in the extreme. Lieutenant Colonel Colin Weir said: “Ranger David Dalzell was an extraordinary young man, and despite his relatively short time in the Army he was already much loved by his fellow soldiers. He took to the field of battle like a natural; he was perfectly at home in the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances and his bravery never wavered under fire. He cheerfully carried the heaviest kit, over the most difficult terrain, in the most dangerous place in Helmand, and when the time would come to fight he was fierce. Day after day he continually faced down the enemy and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with his brother Rangers; he was fearless. David was a bright, cheerful and popular young man with a core of steel. His presence in the most fought-over part of Helmand contributed significantly to the safety of the population and to the success of our mission. This battle group is deeply upset by his death, but we are also intensely proud of him and his many achievements. His time with us was too short, but in that time he experienced more, and contributed more, than most men do in a lifetime.”

David, from Bangor in County Down, was 20 years old.

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