September 4, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2006, Gunner Stephen Robert Wright and Gunner Samuela Vanua, 58 (Eyre’s) Battery, 12 Regiment, the Royal Artillery, were killed in Iraq.  They were heading back to base and were near the town of Ad Dayr, north of Basra, when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. 

Gunner Wright enlisted in the army at the age of sixteen after being a cadet for a while on leaving school.  He was four months into his first operational tour, at the end of which he was to attend a promotional course.   He had made his home with his grandparents as his mother had died ten months earlier.  Gunner Wright loved the army life, was well-liked and well-respected, and his sense of humour was much appreciated. 

Lieutenant Colonel Jon Campbell said of him:  “It is with immense sadness that I learned of the death on operational service of Gunner ‘Trigger’ Wright, in Iraq.  Gunner Wright was a valued member of the Regiment who was partway through his tour...

August 12, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2004, Private Marc Ferns, 1st Battalion, the Black Watch, was killed in Iraq.

Private Ferns had followed his father and grandfather into the regiment, and had served in Kosovo and on a previous tour of Iraq.  On the day of his death he was driving a Warrior armoured vehicle in Basra when he was caught up in the explosion of a roadside bomb – a fellow soldier was critically injured but thankfully survived. 

Lieutenant Colonel James Cowan said of him:  “Marc Ferns died earlier this day as a result of enemy action.  His tragic death has saddened and shocked the Battalion. Private Ferns had loyally served the Black Watch for three years and had a bright future ahead of him.  He was an experienced, committed, professional and very popular soldier who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Our sympathies and thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Marc, from Glenrothes in Fife, was 21 years old and left behind a fifteen-month-old da...

May 8, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2003, Gunner Duncan Geoffrey Pritchard, 16 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment, died from injuries sustained the previous month while serving in Iraq.

Gunner Pritchard had been involved in a road traffic accident while on duty in Iraq - he fell from the back of a Land Rover and sustained head injuries. He was flown home to the U.K. for treatment, where sadly he passed away in hospital. His family had asked for privacy, so his page on the Ministry of Defence fatalities site does not contain any further information. No other details could be found other than that he was 22 years old.

April 1, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2003, Lance Corporal Karl Shearer was killed in a road accident in Iraq.

He had been travelling in a Scimitar armoured vehicle when it overturned, killing him and injuring Lieutenant Alexander Tweedie, who died three weeks later as a result of his injuries.  They had been on a mission to rescue another unit at the time – their vehicle slid down a bank and overturned, trapping Lance Corporal Shearer and Lieutenant Tweedie inside.  The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death while on active service.

The Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Mark van der Lande OBE, issued a statement about Lance Corporal Shearer:  “My sympathy and that of the whole Regiment goes out to his widow…at this difficult time…Karl was a popular and very able soldier whom I had recently promoted.  He demonstrated the very best of what it is to be a soldier of the Household Cavalry and will be greatly missed.  Both Karl and Lance C...

February 29, 2020

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2008, Sergeant Duane Barwood, attached to 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, Royal Air Force, died in Iraq as a result of a rocket attack on the Contingency Operating Base in Basra.

Sergeant Barwood had joined the R.A.F. in 1985 as an R.A.F. Regiment gunner and later transferred to the post of motor transport driver. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant after nine years’ service. Much-respected, he is remembered as a brave and exceptional leader, a natural problem-solver and a caring person. Before joining up he had volunteered as a First Responder for the Ambulance Service.

Group Captain Malcolm Brecht said of him: “It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of Sergeant Baz Barwood. Sergeant Barwood was an outstanding Senior Non-commissioned Officer in every respect. An enthusiastic, loyal and dedicated member of the Royal Air Force, he was a willing volunteer for his tour of duty on Operations in Iraq. A caring and diligent man, with a larger-than...

February 12, 2020

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 2004, Corporal Richard Ivell, a vehicle mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, died in Iraq.

Corporal Ivell was fatally injured in a vehicle accident at at Shaibah Logistics Base, and at the time was 2 Close Support Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps.  His father, the vicar of Wadworth and Loversall, near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, said that his son had a real heart and compassion for people, and loved serving as he felt that was where he was needed; he was highly thought of and garnered a lot of respect; and he put great store in comradeship and friendship.

Richard, from Doncaster, was 29 years old and married with three children, the youngest being a six-month-old baby daughter.

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...

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