Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Major Sean Birchall, from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was killed in Afghanistan. He had been leading a routine patrol to deliver supplies and check on his men in the checkpoints around Basharan, near Lashkar Gan in Helmand province, when they were caught up in IED explosion. He had attended Sandhurst in 1999, and at the time of his death was Officer Commanding Number IX Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thornloe said: “Sean had all the qualities of the outstanding professional soldier - fitness, coolness under pressure, and tactical flair. We had talent-spotted him at Sandhurst as a future star and pulled out all the stops to persuade him to join us, from the very beginning it was clear that Sean was going to be a marvellous Welsh Guards Officer - his professionalism and competence were matched only by his generosity of spirit and his commitment to the welfare of the Guardsmen. Those under his command greatly admired his military competence and his legendary physical fitness and they warmed to his cheerful, upbeat manner. Sean always led from the front and his soldiers would have followed him anywhere. Sean was hugely proud of his beloved Company, and rightly so - they are widely admired here and their reputation is very much the product of his energy, leadership and vision. Like many others I find it impossible to imagine that this irrepressibly warm, energetic and positive man can no longer be with us. He really was an inspiration to those of us who were lucky enough to have known him. The unselfish and positive manner in which he led his life could not contrast more starkly with the nihilistic cruelty of the people who took it from him.” Sean, from Guildford, was 33 years old and married with an eighteen-month-old son.