Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2008, Lance Corporal Benjamin Whatley, from Lima Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, died in Afghanistan. Leading his men from the front, he was killed by enemy fire during a prolonged and fierce battle with insurgents in Nad-E-Ali district, central Helmand, while Lima Company was conducting an operation to clear enemy forces from the north of the district. He had joined the Royal Marines as a rifleman, and had already completed a successful tour of Afghanistan.
Major Rich Cantrill said of him: "Lance Corporal Whatley was a tough, uncompromising Commando and his loss leaves a huge void in the hearts and minds of the men of Lima Company. Promoted just prior to this Afghanistan deployment, his advancement was richly deserved and it was my pleasure to see his calm delight (he almost smiled!) when the Commanding Officer handed him his badge of rank. Tall, with a booming baritone voice, Ben Whatley had in abundance that magic ingredient of ‘Presence’. Every inch a Royal Marine, he was the natural choice to fill a Section Second-in-Command appointment. A veteran of Afghanistan, Ben knew how to fight and I saw him with my own eyes during the Battle for Zarghun Kalay, winning the fire fight against tough insurgent opposition; this is what Ben was doing when he was killed, fighting from the front for his friends, for his team, for his Company. We will all miss Ben and the chance to watch him fulfil his tremendous promise, yet I will remember him as an ever-young commando; a fighter, a man’s man, a Royal Marine to the core."
Benjamin, from King’s Lynn, was 20 years old.