Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Sapper David Watson from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) died of wounds sustained in an explosion caused by an IED in the vicinity of Patrol Base Blenheim in the Sangin region of Helmand Province. He was a Number 3 Operator in a Conventional Munitions Disposal Team as part of the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group within the UK Counter IED Task Force.
Sapper Watson had joined the Royal Engineers two years earlier, and is remembered as fearless, determined and a true warrior, with a dry witty sense of humour. His family stated that he was so proud of the work that he did, and that in life in general he always managed to achieve above and beyond his goals.
Major Tim Gould, Q.G.M. said of him: “It is incredible what an inordinate amount this promising young Sapper managed to fit in to his relatively short career. He qualified in his chosen trade as a Builder and Structural Finisher and in the field of Combat Engineering. A natural soldier and candidate for both Airborne and All-Arms Commando training, Sapper Watson completed both arduous courses within the first two years of his career. He excelled on Pegasus Company, so much so that he was awarded the honour of being the course top student. On him you could quickly see that it was not only his outstanding athletic fitness that gave him the accolade of best student on Pegasus Company, it was his team spirit, drive and willingness to help his comrades in every way he knew how. A man-mountain of a young man, Sapper Watson was as strong as an ox and completely unsurpassed in any challenge of a physical nature, and his peers sought to emulate his exacting standards. Sapper Watson was the archetypal gentle giant; strong and silent, the big brother that you never had. He was the one that you wanted by your side no matter what you were doing, be it on a night out in town, the sports pitch or on the battlefield here in Helmand. This was his first experience of an operational deployment and one that he was very much looking forward to. From the outset he had tackled every challenge head on in his characteristically unflappable manner. He excelled in his chosen profession and was carving out a very bright and promising career for himself. To say that it is a tragedy to lose a soldier of Sapper Watson’s calibre is an understatement. This remarkable young man leaves a substantial void in our hearts and we will honour his memory in both our thoughts and our deeds in our endeavours here in Helmand.”
David, from Whickham, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, was 23 years old.