Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2010, Guardsman Michael Sweeney, 1st Battalion, the Coldstream Guards, was killed in Afghanistan. He conducted daily patrols and was involved in the security of checkpoints near his patrol base. It was while at one of these checkpoints, with a resupply for his comrades, that Guardsman Sweeney stepped on the hidden bomb which killed him.
He had joined the army in 2007, took part in jungle exercises in Kenya and Belize as well as partaking twice in the Queen’s birthday parade. In December of 2009 he deployed to Afghanistan. On his return he planned on attending the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre. Colleagues remember him as highly motivated, and even at such a young age he had earned much respect from those with whom he served. Many of the tributes paid to him refer to his professionalism and commitment, and his way of putting others before himself.
Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray said: "A true son of the north country, proud Northumbrian, true Coldstreamer and outstanding soldier. Beyond this, he was simply a super bloke. Michael Sweeney was selfless amongst his friends, dedicated to his duty and utterly professional at all times. His self-effacing humour and generous nature were the hallmarks of his service in the regiment and values by which he lived his life. He crammed much into his short time in the military, more than many do in a full career, a highly successful career lay before him. He served his battalion, company and platoon bravely and honourably. He fought bravely on the battlefield; his tragic and untimely death has robbed us of one of the brightest young Guardsmen in the regiment."
Michael, from Blyth in Northumberland, was 19 years old and engaged to be married.