Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2011, Lieutenant David Boyce and Lance Corporal Richard Scanlon, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, were killed in Afghanistan. Serving with the Formation Reconnaissance Squadron, they were on patrol in the Yakchal region of Nahr-e Saraj when their vehicle struck an IED.
Lieutenant Boyce studied International Relations at the University of Exeter, and joined the army in 2009. From the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst he attended the Formation Reconnaissance Troop Leaders’ course, and the Platoon Commander’s Division course, excelling on both. He took command of 1st Troop in July of 2011, gaining a reputation for being “a highly competent, decisive and inspirational young officer”, the impact on his new command described as “immediate and profound.” Being a keen skier, he helped in the running of the regiment’s Winter Sports Team; and as an equally keen sailor he sailed for the Army Offshore Racing Team during the Sydney-Hobart Race in 2010, as well as many other regattas for the RAC and the army. At the time of his death he had only been in Afghanistan for a month.
Lieutenant Colonel Jasper de Quincey Adams said: “Lieutenant David Boyce was a charming young officer who, quite simply, represented everything that that is great about the Regiment and British Army. He died while commanding his soldiers on operations in a complex and demanding environment. He led from the front, setting the very highest standards, and inspired his men and peers alike. Tall, powerful and with an infectious smile he, like so many officers of his generation, was committed to his men and determined to succeed on the operations. He had the gravitas of one far more senior but maintained the infectious enthusiasm of a young man doing what he loved. His men adored him and showed him the level of loyalty that is reserved for the very best. David had so much to give, so much to look forward to and so many opportunities ahead of him. The Regiment has been denied one of our best, and a professional commander for the future has been taken from us. David was a man to walk the mountains with, a man to go to war with, and he will never be forgotten.”
David, from Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, was 25 years old.
Lance Corporal Scanlon had joined the army in 1998 when he turned eighteen. He served in Bosnia in 2001, then in Iraq in 2003 and 2005. A year later decided to leave the army but did not find civilian life to his liking, so he rejoined his regiment in 2009, and was promoted to Lance Corporal the following year. He was described as a “genuine regimental character” with a fantastic sense of humour. His skills with anti-tank weapons and as the squadron barman were equally praised, and for a time he gave up his spare time to run the Corporals’ Mess bar during events, whether for charity or otherwise. The numerous tributes on the MoD fatalities site speak of a man who was trustworthy, genuine, kind, and who many were proud to call their friend.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Robert Mansel said: “Lance Corporal Scanlon was a first class Junior NCO who was extremely well respected by his chain of command and subordinates alike. Always the first to offer help or lend a guiding hand to the boys who worked with him, he was extremely experienced in the job he loved. His calm nature meant he was the one the younger boys came to if they needed help or a problem solved. He approached every task with a smile on his face and that is how I will remember him. Back at regimental duty in Germany, Richard was the lead at any social event, always accompanied by his trademark smile and distinctive strut. If I wanted something done in the Squadron he was the man I could rely on and trust to get the job done to its fullest in a professional manner. Lance Corporal Scanlon was like an older brother in our family Regiment. All who have had the privilege of working alongside him will be deeply saddened by his death.”
Richard, from Whymney in Gwent, had just turned 31 years old.