Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2004, Lance Corporal Andrew James Craw, 1st Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, died just hours after arriving in Iraq in what was described as a “tragic incident.” He had been part of an advance party arriving weeks earlier than planned, equipped with new Minimi machine-guns. After touching down, and without proper sleep for the previous two nights, they were taken to the firing range. Lance Corporal Craw’s weapon jammed, and as he tried to clear it a bullet lodged in his head after passing through his hand. It was over an hour and a half before his colleagues could call for help as they did not have proper communications, and no medical personnel nearby. At his inquest the coroner criticised the MoD's "cavalier attitude" to safety, and did not accept that Lance Corporal Craw’s death was due to a lapse of concentration, as intimated by the MoD.
Corporal Craw had joined the army in 1999 at the age of sixteen, following both his uncle and grandfather, and signed up for 22 years. His family said that he had never wanted to do anything else, his ambition had always been to be a professional soldier. He had served in Northern Ireland before deploying to Iraq, and is remembered as popular, bright and outgoing. The MoD issued this statement: "He was an outstanding soldier who demonstrated exceptional talent from the outset. Having shown early potential on joining the Battalion, he was selected for leadership training and promoted to Lance Corporal in the summer of 2003."
Major Alastair Campbell paid tribute to him: ''Andrew comes from a great regimental family. I served with his uncle, Corporal Campbell Craw. He was both well considered and well liked, which is not often the case, and clearly had a wonderful career ahead of him. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have continued to be promoted."
Andrew, from Clackmannanshire. was 21 years old.