Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2008, Lieutenant Aaron Lewis, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, was killed in Afghanistan.
A physical instructor before deciding to join the army, he had passed out of Sandhurst in 2007, and passed the tough All Arms Commando Course in June of 2008. Four months later he deployed to Afghanistan and was stationed at the forward operating base Armadillo in Gereshk. He was described as " a true commando who would lead his men from the front with his passion and vigour constantly on display."
On the day of his death a fire fight broke out approximately one kilometre from the base. As soon as the alarm in the base starting ringing, Lieutenant Lewis (who was off duty and in the gym) ran outside to get his body armour and helmet, but was hit by a stray round. His Commanding Officer stated at the inquest: “. It wasn't fired at him, it was fired at someone else a long way away. He was very unlucky. It was a million to one thing. He was a true star. He really was the sort of person who you would like to be – someone excelling at his job and also a nice guy with it. You only occasionally get a special person with that combination of compassion, humility, gregariousness, really fun-loving, but an ultimately caring individual.” Lieutenant Lewis was airlifted to hospital at Kandahar where a CT scan revealed he had suffered irreparable brain damage, and sadly he died shortly afterwards.
Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson said: “From the moment he arrived in 29 Commando Regiment it was apparent that Aaron was someone very special. We were all immediately struck by his maturity, professionalism and determination, the latter point being proven as he fulfilled a personal ambition of passing the Commando Course, despite suffering a bad knee injury. He frequently brought calmness to difficult situations, reassuring people by his presence and showing cheerfulness in adversity - a true Commando trait. He led his men from the front, his passion and vigour constantly on display, with the welfare of his soldiers always at the forefront of his mind; he genuinely cared for them. Always ready and willing to assist anyone who needed it, he quickly became popular with his witty conversation and engaging banter.”
Aaron, from Rochford in Essex, was 26 years old.