Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2011, Private Matthew Thornton, 4th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan.
His patrol at Checkpoint Loy Mandeh in Lashkar Gah came under attack by insurgents with grenades and small arms. Private Thornton stepped on a pressure plate-activated IED that was hidden in the undergrowth, and was killed immediately. He had been in Afghanistan for only five weeks.
After leaving school Private Thornton worked for a company which manufactured door and window frames, and also obtained the qualification of snowboard instructor, while also serving with the territorial army. He served for three years, leaving in 2007, then re-enlisted in 2009 keen to deploy to Afghanistan, and he was one of the first to volunteer on Operation HERRICK 15. Private Thornton’s colleagues remember him as selfless, always smiling, full of energy and enthusiasm, caring, and trustworthy.
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Mortimer said: “We in Combined Force Lashkar Gah are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Private Matt Thornton. From the onset he made a lasting and deep impression on all those who knew him. Utterly professional, he was hugely committed to his job, and to his friends and comrades. Fit, robust and determined, he thrived on the daily challenges that he faced here in Afghanistan. He was determined to make a difference. He always went that extra mile and out of his way to help others. With bags of charisma and an infectious sense of humour, he carried those around him, especially during the more difficult times. This is what marked him out as a human being. We have lost an outstanding comrade, a fine young man, and a true soldier. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult and tragic time. We will remember him.”
Matthew, from Barnsley, was 28 years old.