Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2006, Captain Alex Eida, the Royal Horse Artillery, and Second Lieutenant Ralph Johnson and Lance Corporal Ross Nicholls, the Household Cavalry Regiment, were killed in Afghanistan. They were travelling in a Spartan armoured reconnaissance vehicle when their patrol was attacked by insurgents using rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns.
Captain Eida joined the Territorial Army while attending the University of Glamorgan. He then worked as a ski instructor in France and at Camp USA before attending the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, being commissioned in April of 2002. He is remembered as courageous and passionate, mature and ready for a challenge, while maintaining a sense of fun. He served in Iraq and Kosovo, gaining popularity among those who served with him.
Lieutenant Colonel David Hammond said: “I and the Regiment knew Captain Eida extremely well. He was a real character and personality who grew up as an officer amongst us and gave so much to the Regiment. His relaxed yet self-assured air of professionalism, his commitment to his vocation and his soldiers and his infectious enthusiasm earned him the respect of all those that knew him. We have lost a gifted young officer and friend who was a leading light of the unit and will be sadly missed. “
Alex, from Surrey, was 29 years old.
Second Lieutenant Johnson joined the Life Guards in August of 2005, and is remembered as enthusiastic with great loyalty and wit, a soldier who led from the front, and who soon gained in popularity as he proved himself to those he led.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Smyth-Osbourne said of him: “He was brave, determined and thoroughly loyal to his soldiers and superiors. He excelled in training and quickly won the respect of the men who in turn showed absolute faith in his decisions and leadership. His innate energy enamoured him to all; particularly endearing was his devotion to his men and the time and effort he committed to them prior to their deployment. In Afghanistan he displayed real composure and huge professional competence in a novel, harsh and unforgiving environment - and it was typical that, during the early hours of 1 August, he was leading from the front when killed in an ambush in Northern Helmand. With his death the Household Cavalry Regiment has suffered the loss of an exemplary young officer.”
Ralph, from Windsor, was 24 years old.
Lance Corporal Nicholls enlisted into the Royal Corps of Signals in August of 1995 and served with 216 Signals Squadron. He served on several tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and transferred to the Household Cavalry in July of 2004.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Smyth-Osbourne said: “He embraced life with the Household Cavalry with gusto and enthusiasm serving with D Squadron on the Prairie in Western Canada and picking up his armoured trades with alacrity. Indeed his previous experience stood him in good stead and he established himself as a bright, professional and effective operator whose presence was a real asset to the Squadron. He volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan despite the fact he had decided to leave the Army and was serving as Lt Johnson’s operator when he was killed in an ambush during the early hours of the 1 Aug in Northern Helmand. With his death the Household Cavalry Regiment has suffered the loss of a talented soldier.”.
Ross, from Edinburgh, was 27 years old and married with a two-year-old son and a newborn daughter.