Private Ryan Wrathall, 1st Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Private Ryan Wrathall, 1st Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, took his own life at Basra’s Contingency Operating Base in Iraq.
An only son, he had been devastated to hear that his critically-ill father was not going to recover; his mother stated at the inquest that he was depressed and “was unable to live with too many problems and too much pressure”. Private Wrathall had joined the army in November of 2007 and deployed to Iraq a year later. Described as “full of plans” he had been enthusiastically looking forward to getting his driving licence and qualifying as a gunner. Determined to forge ahead in his career, he was quick to volunteer and take on tasks others found undesirable. Private Wrathall took great pride in his two grandfathers – his paternal grandfather had fought in the Spanish Civil War, and his maternal grandfather in the second world war.
Major Andy Flay said: “Many of his closest friends were in tears today as they sought to come to terms with his untimely death. Private Wrathall was clearly a fantastic friend to have…utterly reliable with a great sense of humour. One of the greatest strengths was his friendly and trusting nature. Often he was the first member of the platoon new soldiers would meet when arriving in the battalion and he was delighted to show them around and help them feel at home. To many soldiers arriving in a new and confusing environment for the first time, his bright smile and understated good humour was one of their first impressions of the company. The company joined together at a memorial service this evening…still shocked by the sudden and unnecessary waste of such a young life with so much to offer, his fellow Tigers remembered highlights of his life and struggled to come to terms with his death. Private Wrathall was a fine young soldier who will be very sadly missed by the company. He really stood out for his amiable and selfless nature. I am very proud to have known him as a fellow ‘Tiger’.”
Ryan, from Surbiton in Surrey, was 21 years old.