Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2008, Lance Corporal James Johnson, B Company, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed in Afghanistan. He had been part of a vehicle checkpoint patrol operating in the Lashkar Gar area and died as the result of an anti-personnel mine.
Lance Corporal Johnson joined the army in 1997; his father said it had been his dream since he was a small boy. One of his friends described him as having a heart of gold, a quiet man in his day-to-day life, but the life and soul of the party once work was over. He had originally joined the Assault Pioneer Platoon, but wanting more of a challenge so took the Close Observation Platoon course - at which he excelled - in 2001, and subsequently served in Northern Ireland for the next two years. He then volunteered for the Sniper Course and qualified as a Sniper Section Commander at the end of 2003. He then served in Bosnia before deploying to Afghanistan.
Lt Col David Richmond said: “LCpl Johnson has made the ultimate sacrifice; a superb soldier and junior commander he died doing the job he loved, among men who held him in the highest regard. He set the pace among his peers with his fitness, outstanding infantry and leadership abilities, native wit and sense of perspective. He was loved and respected by everyone he served with and will be remembered for his humanity, the time he always had for people whatever the pressures on himself, his keen sense of humour and, above all, his professionalism. We have lost one of our best; a true air assault infantryman, a gentleman, friend and colleague with spark, wit and courage. The courage and commitment that he showed every day in Helmand Province has been an inspiration to us all. I have been immensely proud to have commanded Jimmy Johnson on operations and humbled by the sacrifice he has made.”
James, from Drumchapel near Strathclyde, was 31 years old, the father of a young daughter, and engaged to be married.