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January 13, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2007, Kingsman Alexander William Green, 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, was killed in Iraq.

He had previously been a Royal Marine cadet  (hence the photo), but did not continue due to an injury.  He went on to join the army at the age of nineteen, and proved to be dedicated and enthusiastic;  he was popular among his peers, who found him to be a good listener when they needed someone to talk to.  Kingsman Green set high standards for himself and took great pride in being a soldier. 

On the day of his death he had been serving with Chindit Company, as part of a patrol that had been escorting a convoy out Basra City, when he was shot in the chest.  He was treated immediately by a medic and then taken to the field hospital where he was operated on.  Sadly he could not be saved.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hutchinson MBE said of him: “Kingsman Alex Green was one of our most promising young soldiers.  He loved what h...

January 7, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2007, Sergeant Wayne Rees, 19 Light Brigade, the Queen's Royal Lancers, died from injuries sustained in a road accident which occurred as he was commanding a Scimitar Armoured Fighting Vehicle in Iraq.  Two other soldiers were injured but survived. 

Sergeant Rees had served during the liberation of Kuwait, as well as in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.  He is remembered as professional and inspirational, a well-liked and respected natural leader who cared deeply for the soldiers for whom he was responsible.  He was passionate about football and represented his regiment and the Royal Armoured Corps.

Major Martin Todd said of him:  “In Sergeant Wayne Rees we have lost not only a charismatic and wholly professional soldier, but also one of the regiment’s most ebullient and best loved characters.  He could lighten the darkest moments with his mischievous sense of humour.  And there was something irrepressible about his optimism and verve for lif...

October 31, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2003, Corporal Ian Plank, Royal Marines, serving with the Special Boat Service, was killed during a coalition operation in Iraq, near Mosul and outside the British area of responsibility.

Members of the SAS and SBS, along with U.S. special forces, were involved in fierce fighting with supporters of Saddam Hussein.  Up to ten Iraqis were killed and a number of foreign fighters were captured.  Four British soldiers were wounded. 

Colonel Jerry Heal paid this tribute: "Corporal Plank was an extremely popular and greatly admired member of the Royal Marines, widely respected for his professional excellence, commitment and determination. He was particularly well known for his resilience and robustness under pressure, when his leadership, example and sense of humour were especially valued. He embodied all the personal and professional qualities associated with the Royal Marines and he enriched the lives of those who knew him, both socially and i...

October 29, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2004, Private Kevin Thomas McHale, 1st Battalion, the Black Watch, died in a road traffic accident in North Babil province, Iraq.

Private McHale had served five years with the battalion as a Warrior armoured vehicle driver, and had also served in Kosovo and previously in Iraq.  His family stated that he loved being in the army and that it was all he had ever wanted to do. 

On the day of his death the vehicle he was driving crashed when a road bridge collapsed;  the regiment had been travelling to their new position south of Baghdad.  Lieutenant Colonel James Cowan, Private McHale’s Commanding Officer, speaks of him in this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toPEEw6q7eE&feature=youtu.be

Kevin, from Lochgelly in Fife, was 27 years old.

October 15, 2019

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2005, Captain Ken Masters, Special Investigation Branch, Royal Military Police, died in Basra. Just five days away from the end of his tour in Iraq, he took his own life.

The son of a Royal Navy veteran, Captain Masters had joined the Royal Military Police in 1981, being commissioned in 2001 and serving for most of his time with the Special Investigation Branch. He rose to the rank of captain, having what was described as a “flawless military career”, and served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, where he led the Royal Military Police investigative unit in Basra.

At one point during the time that led up to his tragic decision, he told his wife in a phone call: “Imagine your worst day and multiply it by a thousand.” He wrote many letters home to his wife, which increasingly showed the stress he suffered and the pressure he was under. She said that he nevertheless loved his career, having joined the army cadets at the age of...

September 10, 2019

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2004, Fusilier Stephen Jones, 1st Battalion, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, died in Iraq.

Fusilier Jones had joined the army in 1999 straight from school, at the age of seventeen. His hope was to become a physical training instructor. He served in Northern Ireland as well as Iraq, and had married a month before arriving in Iraq in April of 2004.

On the day of his death, he was driving a Land Rover ten miles south of Al Amarah, after what had been a lengthy mission to intercept a bomb-maker responsible for a number of coalition forces’ deaths. He had begun to rub his eyes and had taken off his helmet to wipe the perspiration and insect-repellent from his face. The colleague travelling with him described how the Land Rover veered, travelled up a sandbank and then flipped over. Fusilier Jones died at the scene of head injuries.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, and made the following comments: “My greatest area of concern is the hours of w...

September 5, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2007, Sergeant Eddie Collins, the Parachute Regiment and 22 SAS, was killed in Iraq.  He had been in charge of a search team, leading a raid on a house in an attempt to locate and arrest a leader of insurgents, when he was shot in the neck and died almost instantly.  There are scant details about the operation, but it was reported that Sergeant Collins’ colleagues arrested a number of Iraqi rebels.

Sgt Collins’ commanding officer paid this tribute:  “Sgt Collins was a champion soldier, a proud and loving family man and a great friend. He always played to win and always set the finest example. He died a warrior, on the battlefield, leading from the front, doing a job he loved in the service of his friends, his regiment, his family and his country. He will never be forgotten.”  Sergeant Collins is buried in the Credenhill Military Cemetery in Herefordshire.

Eddie, from Pembrokeshire, was 33 years old and married with two children.

Note:...

August 27, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2003, Fusilier Russell Beeston, 52nd Lowland Regiment (Volunteers), attached to 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was killed in Ali al-Sharqi, Iraq.

After leaving school, Fusilier Beeston had attended the Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, sponsored as a trainee engineer officer for the merchant navy.  He began a cadetship with a shipping line but decided that sea life was not for him, so  went on to join the Territorial Army in the year 2000.  In June of 2003 he was called up to serve in Iraq, under the terms of the Reserve Forces Act 1996, the summons therefore being mandatory.  He reported for duty at the Army's dedicated Reserve Training and Call-Up Centre at Chilwell in Nottinghamshire, passed the combat fitness test, and underwent a fortnight of intensive training in weapons use and protection against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.  He had also completed the combat infantryman’s course, and was described as “a ri...

August 17, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2004, Lance Corporal Paul Thomas, 2nd Battalion, the Light Infantry, attached to 1st Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, was killed in Iraq.  He was part of a patrol which was ambushed in Basra by approximately fifty militiamen who were armed with rocket-propelled grenades.  A number of the insurgents were killed during the ensuing exchange, and another British soldier was injured but fortunately survived.

Lance Corporal Thomas has joined the army ten years earlier, and had served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia and the Gulf, as well as on a previous tour in Iraq.  He had been making plans to leave the army in the near future and pursue a different career.

Lieutenant Will Follett said of him:  “Taff was a proud Welshman who had a passion for all sports. He was a keen rugby supporter as well as following his local football club, Shrewsbury Town, He was an immensely popular member of the platoon, widely regarded as its backbone, through h...

August 9, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2007, Lance Sergeant Chris Casey and Lance Corporal Kirk Redpath, 1st Battalion, the Irish Guards, were killed in Iraq when their Snatch Armoured Land Rover was hit by an IED to the west of Basra.

Lance Sergeant Casey had joined the army in 1998, and served in Kosovo and Northern Ireland, as well as on a previous tour of Iraq.  He was due to return to England to take up a post as an instructor at a training establishment.  He is remembered for his commitment, humour, spirit, and passion for his work.  Lance Sergeant Casey had also been a member of the Pipes and Drums for ten years, and was considered to be an outstanding drummer.

Captain Stephen Wolseley said of him:  “It is so difficult to write about Lance Sergeant Chris Casey at this time of great sadness as in my mind he was the most jovial and up-beat person I knew, the one person I could rely on to raise a smile or a laugh from the Platoon at a difficult time; his laugh and banter w...

July 19, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2004, Flight Lieutenant Kristian Michel Alexander Gover, 33 Squadron, the Royal Air Force, was killed in a helicopter accident in Iraq at the age of thirty.  He was serving as a Puma helicopter pilot when the accident occurred at Basra International Airport;  two other crew members survived the accident with minor injuries.

Flight Lieutenant Gover studied modern history and politics at Cardiff University, graduated from the School of European Studies, and then joined the R.A.F. in 1996.  He gave the same level of enthusiasm and skill to the pursuit of various sports as he did to his career;  he was a member of both the university and R.A.F. ski teams, and participated in rugby, squash, snowboarding and running.  After his death Cardiff University and his family established a memorial ward in his name, an annual bursary given to the student who excels the most at snow sports. 

Group Captain Nigel Wharmby said of him:  "This...

July 16, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2006, Corporal John Johnston Cosby, 1st Battalion, the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, was killed in Iraq.

He had been involved in an operation involving the search of a building which contained a large cache of weapons and explosives and to capture two terrorists in North Basra.  During the operation he and his colleagues came under small arms fire.  Corporal Cosby was shot in the head, and although transported to hospital, he could not be saved.  The inquest heard that the fragments removed from his skull came from the British Army’s standard combat rifle, and it was determined that the soldier whose gun was a match was not aware that he had fired the fatal bullet.  The coroner said that Corporal Cosby’s family and their lawyer had to fight for documents to find out the truth;  the family found out that it had been a “friendly fire” situation when it had been confirmed in the press.

Corporal Cosby had joined the army in...

June 28, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2004, Fusilier Gordon Campbell Gentle, 1st Battalion, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, was killed in Iraq.

He had only completed training a month earlier and had volunteered for a dangerous top cover sentry role on a Snatch armoured Land Rover while out on patrol.  As the convoy passed through Basra, in what was nicknamed “IED Alley” by British soldiers, an IED was triggered and exploded, killing Fusilier Gentle.  His mother held Tony Blair responsible and said that her son died because of government lies;  she stated that it appeared that the IED was triggered remotely and that the vehicle Fusilier Gentle was travelling in had not been fitted with a piece of equipment which could have saved his life.

The electronic counter measure device, known as Element B, could detect the radio-controlled bombs used at the time.  Fusilier Gentle’s commanding officer told the inquest that he had requested the devices and in the meantime had asked for patr...

May 28, 2019

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2006, Lieutenant Tom Mildinhall and Lance Corporal Paul Farrelly, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Cavalry), were killed in Iraq.  They were on patrol in the Al Jezaizah district of northwest Basra when their Land Rover was caught up in the explosion of a roadside bomb. 

The son of a retired army officer, Lieutenant Mildinhall attended Monkton Combe School in Bath, studied Artificial Intelligence & Computer Sciences at Durham University, and went on to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 2004.  He served in Iraq that year, and had returned there only a month before his death.

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Pittman said of him:  “He was intelligent, determined and utterly loyal to both his own command and his superiors.  He led by example and his soldiers responded positively, safe in the knowledge he had their best interests at heart. It was typical of his command style to insist he physically led the more dangerous pat...