Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2012, Fusilier David Lee Collins, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was stabbed to death in Cyprus where he was stationed. He was off-duty at the time and due to fly out to Afghanistan the following day.
Fusilier Collins had been out for the evening with fellow soldiers when he was attacked by three teenagers from London at a popular night-club. He was given first aid at the scene, but was pronounced dead on arrival at the Famagusta General Hospital. The charges were dropped against two of the teenagers, while the third, Mohammed Abdulkadir Osman, admitted manslaughter and was jailed for eight years.
Fusilier Collins was buried with full military honours at St. John’s Church in Chorlton. His mother said that he lived for the army, loved his job, and saw his colleagues as his extended family. He had been an army cadet since the age of twelve, then went on to the Army Foundation College at Harrogate and the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick. During the training for Afghanistan he volunteered, and was selected, for the position of lead scout, his platoon commander recognising his confidence, reliability and courage.
At his funeral, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Butterick delivered the eulogy, part of which reads: “David was always destined for the Army. It was his childhood dream. At Harrogate he excelled…a real character in his section, always smiling when times were tough and one who stood by his mates no matter what…It is the Infantryman who is the tip of the spear, in the thick of any battle, front line through and through. David was such a man and he displayed the qualities that all infantrymen must have – never giving up, working through pain and working for his mates. He had future leader written all over him and I am certain that his progress up the ranks would have been swift. He had character; a wicked sense of humour and an inner sense of confidence that made his mates trust him. David was the very best of us – a true Fusilier. Someone we can all say we were proud to serve with and someone who we were all prepared to go to war with. When you look around this church, you see another family mourning David’s loss – the Fusilier family…We have a saying you will hear again and again – “Once a Fusilier, Always a Fusilier” It is at a time like this that sayings ring true. At a time like this our family stands shoulder to shoulder with yours at this tragic time and beyond”.
David, from Manchester, was 18 years old.