Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2011, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, and his dog Theo died in Afghanistan. They were taking part in a patrol when they were engaged by small arms fire, during which Lance Corporal Tasker was struck and died from his injuries. On returning to Camp Bastion, Theo suffered a seizure, believed to have been brought about by stress, and died.
Lance Corporal Tasker deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as part of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment. Having trained as an Arms and Explosives Search dog handler, he was attached to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards early in 2011. He said in an interview: "I love my job and working together with Theo. He has a great character and never tires. He can't wait to get out and do his job and will stop at nothing." They worked together for nearly six months, facing danger daily as they searched for roadside bombs and weapons.
Lance Corporal Tasker's Commanding Officer said of him: "To the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment he was a strong, reliable soldier and an expert ‘Dog Man’. He genuinely loved the dogs he worked with and was always able to get the best out of them. He was one of the highly qualified dog trainers in Afghanistan and had spent time at our training establishment making sure that the new soldiers coming out of training had the best possible skills and experience imparted into them. Epitomising the hardworking, determined and ambitious nature of our very best soldiers, he wanted to go to Afghanistan. He wanted to ply his trade in the harshest of environments, to be outside of his comfort zone, and he wanted to be successful. He was. The work he did in his five months in Afghanistan saved countless lives, of that I have no doubt. He flew the Royal Army Veterinary Corps’ flag high; he led from the front and made us proud."
Twenty-two-month-old Theo’s ashes were later presented to the Tasker family. Liam, from Kirkaldy, was 25 years old.