Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Corporal Graeme Stiff and Corporal Dean John, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, were killed in Afghanistan when their Jackal patrol vehicle struck an IED.
Corporal Dean John had joined REME in 2000 and his first posting was to 12th Regiment Royal Artillery in Germany. He went on to serve in Northern Ireland and Iraq, and was on his second tour of Afghanistan where he was a Vehicle Mechanic in the Fitter Section of A Squadron, Queen’s Dragoon Guards. He won an award for being the joint best Non-Commissioned Officer in the Light Aid Detachment of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards and was recommended for Artificer training. Corporal John is remembered as happiest when up to his elbows in an engine, a problem-fixer, selfless, hard-working and loyal.
Lieutenant Colonel Alan Richmond said of him: “The loss of Dean John has cast a dark shadow over the Regiment. He had been part of our Regimental family for almost three years. He was a huge character who had a reputation for hard work and professionalism, capped with a wonderful sense of humour and love of practical jokes. He was a proud Welshman who loved his job, his friends and his family. He was one of the most incredible mechanics with whom I have had the privilege of serving alongside; so utterly dependable that people fought to secure his services. He was universally popular and so widely respected because of his incredible capacity for hard work and tenacious determination to fix everything mechanical. He was also so clearly happy in his work and had such a bright future ahead of him. Dean’s death is a great loss to all of us in the Queen’s Dragoon Guards.”
Dean, from Neath, South Wales, was 25 years old and married with three sons.
Corporal Graeme Stiff followed his father into service and joined REME in 2004. He was posted to 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards to serve as an Electronics Technician in A Squadron’s Fitter Section. He had been enthusiastic about deploying to Afghanistan, his first operational tour. He is remembered as a hard-working and happy young man, reliable and a good friend. He lived by his Corps’ motto – Arte et Marte (by Skill and by Fighting).
Staff Sergeant Marcus Waugh said of him: “Graeme fulfilled his role to an outstanding standard…he became a sought after asset, applying his knowledge and trade, while deployed at the forefront of many operations. Although new in rank he displayed a confidence and enthusiasm that saw him compete amongst the best of his peer group. Intelligent and articulate, Graeme had only just embarked upon what undoubtedly would have been a long and rewarding career. Graeme developed an ambition to attend Army helicopter pilot training; and clearly possessing the attributes of intelligence, diligence and enthusiasm, he would have undoubtedly excelled. In his trade, Graeme was always keen to extend himself outside of his career scope. This saw him contributing on a regular basis for the greater good of the Squadron. Even when there was no requirement for his particular skill set, he would often stay with colleagues, working late into the night to ensure that tasks were completed, and that a hot beverage or food could be sourced if the guys needed it. It was through such fine displays of teamwork and camaraderie that Graeme was able to demonstrate his true sense of selflessness.”
Graeme, from a military background, was born in Germany; he was 24 years old.