Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2009, Sergeant Ben Ross, 173 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment, Royal Military Police, and Corporal Kumar Pun, 1st Battalion, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, were killed in an explosion during a patrol in Gereshk, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Sergeant Ross grew up in Dubai and was educated at Hazelgrove Preparatory School and King’s School in Bruton, Somerset. He joined the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 1996 and served in Germany and the Balkans. In 2003 he transferred to the Royal Military Police, took the Close Protection Course and served in Northern Ireland and Iraq. In Afghanistan he mentored and trained the Afghan Uniformed Police.
Company Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Kimber, said: “For all the qualities that you ascribe to Ben, and there would be many, I believe impressive is the one that simply sums Ben up. Impressive as a soldier, who could always be relied on by both his commanders and those that he commanded; in many ways he was my ‘go to’ man. Ben fell in the manner that he performed as a soldier; by leading the way and not shying away from the difficult situations he was confronted with. In many ways Ben as a person was more impressive. His composed nature meant that he always had time for people; rank was neither here nor there for Ben when it came to assisting those that needed his calm words of advice or his experienced hands to help. It will be hard not having Ben around, especially at such an early stage of the tour, however it will be offset by the fact that I and the rest of the company knew such an excellent bloke.”
Ben, from Bangor, Wales, was 34 years old and married.
Corporal Pun followed his father into the Royal Ghurka Rifles in 1996. He served in Kosovo and Bosnia, and proved himself to be a superb jungle soldier in his role as section commander in the Jungle Warfare Wing in Brunei. In Afghanistan he mentored and trained members of the Afghan National Police. He spoke several languages, and was a man of great intelligence who attracted respect and loyalty.
Major Chris Conroy said of him: “Corporal Kumar was a man of unique character and virtue. As a soldier he was unstintingly professional, calm and respectful of all, never failing to help and always willing to volunteer. A man of considerable experience he was the guide and mentor to many an Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer, his advice always considered, well-delivered and polite. Corporal Kumar was a key member of the company and the space left by his departure will be hard to fill. On operations in Afghanistan he was steadfast, brave and a true leader. He looked after his soldiers as if they were his own, caring for them and watching over their every move. He died doing the job he loved with his friends at his side and he will be greatly missed by all.”
Kumar, from Nepal, was 31 years old and married with two daughters.