Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2007, Lance Corporal Ryan Francis, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Welsh Regiment, was killed when an IED detonated while he was taking part in a patrol in the Tuninah district north of Basra, Iraq. He was serving as a member of Sniper Platoon, with A Company on Operation TELIC 10 as a Warrior driver, and was in Basra as part of a search and detention operation.
Lance Corporal Francis, nicknamed Franky, had joined the army in 2003. Professional, brave and committed, with a fantastic sense of humour, is how he is remembered by those with whom he served. He had been promoted to Lance Corporal on Christmas Day in 2006, and this was his third tour of Iraq. To his friends he was someone who could always cheer them up, someone who would listen and help if he could, an amazing friend as one of them declared.
Major Mark Williams said: “An utterly genuine man with a strong and wicked sense of humour, Franky would always tell you what he felt in a way that would make you smile. He could always be relied upon to pick up morale when his Platoon was at its lowest. He never had a bad word to say about anyone and was always willing to lend a hand to a friend in need. He lived by a hard-working ethos, never shy of putting in the hours on the tank park. His principal motivation for soldiering was being part of a team. He was a quiet young man who was transformed in the Platoon environment. Often the life and soul of the party, he was a generous and warm-hearted individual. He liked nothing more than the company of his peers and took a great deal of enjoyment from the camaraderie of soldiers. He was also deceptively single-minded. When given a task he would pursue it relentlessly to the very best of his ability. Not loud or brash, he would quietly go about his business with the discipline to persevere and the motivation to succeed. He took real pride from being a soldier and was fiercely loyal. A devoted son to his mother and father, Franky was counting the days until he returned home. He will be sorely missed.”
Ryan, from Llanelli in Wales, was 23 years old.