Vid not working for me Any youtube link?
Royal Tournament celebration to be revived after 11 year gap
The Royal Tournament – the famous pageant which celebrates Britain's military – is to be revived this year, more than a decade after it was scrapped by the Government.
Excellent news - I hope it's televised as it was always a popular item in the old days.
OH MAN! Is that what I think it is!? The event where there's all sorts of cool competitions between the Air Force, Army and Navy? I went to that when I was like 12 or something and it was amazing! They have all sorts of cool booths showing off the different things each branch does with gear and soldiers showing and giving away cool stuff. They even had a typhoon in there and you could sit in the cockpit and play the typhoon sim/game with a pilot giving you instructions. One of the best times ever. If I went at this age, I would probably succumb to the recruitment propaganda and sign up.
I remember going to one royal tournament as a kid, would guess 97, where there did a mock arctic assault using BV206s and skidoos, it was incredible. Can't wait to see what they do with the mock Chinook casevac that the article mentions...
SDSR to make 'clean break' from 'Cold War mindset' Defence Secretary says
Full story here14 Jun 10
In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London this morning Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has said that the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) will make a clean break from the thinking of the past and will be 'ruthless and without sentiment'.
Here's hoping for a naval based armed forces for power projection and a smaller more mobile army better equipped to do the job asked of them (which hopefully isn't drawn out protracted land wars)
Prime Minister David Cameron announced the doubling of the Operational Allowance (OA).
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/De...ceToDouble.htmMr Cameron announced that the tax-free allowance will increase from £14.51 per day to £29.02 and payments will be backdated to 6 May 2010.
Therefore, from 6 May 2010, Service personnel will receive £5,280.88 tax-free for a 182-day (six-month) tour in an appropriate operational area.
I think it's appropriate to record in this thread every British serviceman and woman who loses their life for this country. I've been away for a week, and unfortunately there's quite a few to record retrospectively.
Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler killed in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
9 Jun 10
It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 8 June 2010.
Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler
[Picture: via MOD]
Lance Bombardier Chandler was attached to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, serving as part of Combined Force Nad 'Ali, and was killed in a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces in the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province.
Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler
Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was aged 32 and from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. He joined the Army on 5 January 2004, aged 26, and was posted to M (HQ) Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, based in Hohne, Germany.
Lance Bombardier Chandler deployed to Basra, Iraq, on Op TELIC 7 as part of the Commanding Officer's Rover Group. Professional and conscientious, he was given the trusted position of Commanding Officer's driver upon his return to Germany, which he held for two years.
His determination, fitness and motivation shone through and he was posted to D Battery as a Fire Support Team assistant, deploying to Canada in June 2009 before commencing pre-deployment training for Op HERRICK 12.
He deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010, supporting Anzio Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, in Nad 'Ali. Anzio Company has been operating from Patrol Base Khaamar, conducting security and reassurance patrols for the local nationals with both the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army.
Anzio Company has undoubtedly improved the lives of the people of Showal by improving freedom of movement and increasing security.
On 8 June 2010, during a joint patrol with the Afghan National Security Forces to prevent insurgent intimidation of local villagers, Lance Bombardier Chandler was killed in action during a small arms fire engagement with insurgent forces.
Twice Army luge champion and accomplished skier, he threw himself into regimental and battery life and was always in the centre of the action, be it sport, social or fun. He drew people to him with his sense of adventure and he leaves behind his parents, Mike and Ann, brother Steve, and an extensive group of friends who will all feel his loss keenly.
Lance Bombardier Chandler's family said:
"Mark - a son and brother any parent would be proud of. A consummate soldier, a skier, a luger, an athlete and a lover of life. He will be sorely missed by his loving family and friends."Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Williams, Commanding Officer, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"Lance Bombardier Chandler, known to everybody as Chandler 'Bing', was a remarkably talented Junior Non-Commissioned Officer who showed a real grit for soldiering.
"Fit, committed, loyal and a true professional, he was a rising star within the regiment and had a bright future ahead of him. He was a talented sportsman with a passion for winter sports and represented the army at luge; not a sport for the faint-hearted, which he certainly wasn't.
"He also relished a challenge and this was fulfilled by his move across to the Fire Support Team in D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. The news of Lance Bombardier Chandler's death has rocked the regiment as he was an immensely popular individual and a great friend to many within the regiment.
"Mark - a son and brother any parent would be proud of. A consummate soldier, a skier, a luger, an athlete and a lover of life. He will be sorely missed by his loving family and friends." Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler's family
"All members of 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery miss him but I recognise that this sense of loss will be nothing compared to that felt by his parents, Ann and Michael, his brother Steve and his many friends, whose true loss we can only imagine. Our prayers are now for them. We will remember him."Lieutenant Colonel Chris Squier, Commanding Officer, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said:
"Every team needs a Mark Chandler. He was strong, fit, robust and, above all, a man of compassion and humility. He was a rock to his mates. For D Battery he was a source of great resolve and he leaves a hole in many of the lads' hearts.Colonel Ian Bell, former Commanding Officer, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"As a soldier and member of a Fire Support Team I could not have asked for more. He was brave, dependable and a steadying influence. Utterly calm under fire, he died on the shoulder of, and supporting, his commander; totally selfless to the very end.
"My sincere condolences and thoughts go to Mark's parents Ann and Mike, his brother Steve and his friends at home; their's is the true loss.
"Lance Bombardier Chandler was a good bloke. He was great fun, made the most of everything he did, and had a really bright future ahead of him."Major Adam Wilson, Battery Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was an exceptional soldier and a true friend to everyone in D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. Known to us as 'Bing', he was respected and admired for his unswerving bravery, his professionalism and his absolute commitment to the team and his mates.Major John Fry, Officer Commanding Anzio Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, said:
"Mark was part of a Fire Support Team and I have been very lucky to get to know him well through a year of training and during our deployment to Afghanistan. He has proven himself in battle time and again. Always cool and calm in contact, he could usually be found next to his Commander with a reassuring grin on his face. He was a man who made you feel that everything would be all right.
"Mark was a talented sportsman and loved motor sport, mountain biking, skiing and sailing - anything that involved going fast.
"He was also the Army luge champion two years in a row. Mark was a kind, considered 'older brother' to the Gunners in my battery and always at the heart of the social life of 'Shiny D'.
"He had an infectious sense of fun and usually a mischievous twinkle in his eye. His death is a devastating loss; we have lost one of our stars and he will always be remembered with great affection.
"I feel extremely privileged to have known him. The thoughts of all ranks of D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, are with his family, friends and all those who love him at this very sad time."
"Lance Bombardier Chandler ('Bing') was an unforgettable character; full of life, confident in his ability, and an all round good bloke who got on with all members of Anzio Company.
"He bonded immediately and was always regarded as one of the company irrespective of the cap badge he wore. He was with us from the start of pre-deployment training all the way through to our deployment on Op HERRICK 12. In short he was one of us.
"Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was an exceptional soldier and a true friend to everyone in D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery." Major Adam Wilson
"In Afghanistan he proved himself to be a courageous and very capable soldier whilst operating in difficult and dangerous circumstances. This he always took in his stride with a calm and balanced manner, whilst maintaining a great sense of humour.Major Simon Briggs, Battery Commander, Combined Force Nad 'Ali, said:
"His professionalism was unquestionable and I believe he would have had a prosperous career ahead of him. He was an asset to both the 'Gunners' and this company and can only be described as an outstanding soldier.
"Even though we have only known 'Bing' for a short period of time it has been a privilege to have him in our company. Whilst we reflect in Afghanistan, our thoughts are with his friends and family at this tragic time.
"Everyone should be proud of him and everything that he achieved in his life. He was a credit not only to his family but also the Army in which he served. He will always be remembered by the men of D Battery and Anzio Company; he will be sorely missed."
"This deployment to Afghanistan is the second time I have had the pleasure to work with Mark. Always professional, thoroughly capable, and with an ever present dry sense of humour, Mark was an asset to the battery in so many ways.Captain Johnny Mercer, Fire Support Team Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"Professionally he was on top of his game. His colleagues and I trusted him 100 per cent with every aspect of the complex job he did.
"Proven throughout the deployment on several occasions he had added immeasurable value with his technical ability, a testament to his level-headed nature and maturity. Socially, he was a central figure within the battery and was considered by all as a true friend.
"Tragically killed doing the job that he loved and excelled at, he will leave a significant hole which will be very hard to fill."
"Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler was in my eyes the perfect soldier. He remained consistent whether in combat or not. His selfless commitment truly set him apart from his peers.Captain Alex Gray, Adjutant, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, former Fire Support Team Commander, D Battery, said:
"He was a selfless man who would just as readily volunteer to empty the bins as go out on a patrol to disrupt the insurgents and protect the people as on the day he was killed. He was the man that men aspire to be.
"Whenever we were in a dangerous situation, Mark would be sat in the ditch next to me smiling, seemingly without a care in the world. His sanity and calm humour kept our morale up. He was the perfect man to have in a Fire Support Team. It was an absolute privilege to command this example of a man."
"Lance Bombardier Chandler quickly integrated into D Battery with his amiable personality, good sense of humour, and proved himself to be a popular member of not just the Tactical Group but the wider battery.
"He deployed with me to Canada on Exercise Medicine Man where as an individual he was great to have within the Fire Support Team. Living out of a Warrior armoured vehicle week after week can be trying for all but he never failed to remain in good humour and to put a smile on our faces.
"I am not only sad at his loss, but privileged to say that I had worked with him. He will be missed."
"Everyone should be proud of him and everything that he achieved in his life. He was a credit not only to his family but also the Army in which served." Major John Fry
Captain Tim Haskell, Troop Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"Lance Bombardier Chandler's cheerful and professional manner made him one of the strongest and most respected members of the troop. He was a very professional soldier who took pride in all his work and had a very promising future.Bombardier Richard Kay, Joint Fires Cell Detachment Commander, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"A calm and dependable man under extreme pressure, Bing transformed himself from a quiet individual to a formidable and unflappable soldier; exactly the type of person you need in difficult situations.
"Nothing ever seemed to daunt Bing and he would usually lighten a tense situation with his dry but fantastic sense of humour. He was a person whom everyone could look to for help and advice, and he leaves a big hole in the troop, D Battery and the regiment.
"He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and will never be forgotten."
"Mark was a fit and enthusiastic man who was always up for a challenge and willing to try something new. He loved his job and wanted to be the best he could; which is why he wanted to be a member of a Fire Support Team.Lance Bombardier Daniel 'Tez' Terry, Fire Support Team Assistant, D Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"Bing, as he was known to his mates, also enjoyed the more extreme sports representing the regiment and Artillery at downhill skiing several times. Wanting to go even faster, he then took up luge, which he excelled at, competing at Army level.
"Out of work he was very sociable and when on leave would often visit mates who are no longer serving just to catch up and have a few beers. He is a true mate and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him."
"I first met Bing just after our deployment to Cyprus. Being new Gunners, we got put on guard duty almost as soon as we arrived and I will always remember our first meeting because of his constant whingeing and how it made everyone laugh.Bombardier 'Geordie' Clayton, M (HQ) Battery, 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, said:
"We were both really happy when he got posted to D Battery because we were such close friends and this would mean we could spend more time together. I also knew that his personality and outstanding soldiering would make him fit really well into the battery.
"Bing was always there to help and give good advice regardless of the situation; he would always boost morale just by being himself.
"Although we didn't really share a passion for the same sports, he would always show interest in what I was doing because that was the kind and caring person he was. I will never forget him and will miss him every day. He was a truly great friend.
"Bing was a great guy. Fun to be around and he will be dearly missed."Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:
"Lance Bombardier Mark Chandler has given his life protecting the national security of his country.
"His colleagues proudly talk of a brave and committed man and a trusted, professional soldier who will be sorely missed. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and those close to him."
Private Jonathan Monk killed in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
11 Jun 10
It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Private Jonathan Michael Monk from 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, attached to 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 9 June 2010.
Private Jonathan Monk
[Picture: via MOD]
Private Monk was caught in an explosion during a foot patrol to clear an area of improvised explosive devices to increase freedom of movement for the locals.
Private Jonathan Michael Monk
Private Jonathan Monk was 25 years old and from London. He joined the Army in 2001 aged 16 and joined 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment following completion of basic training.
Initially in 6 Platoon, B Company, he completed tours of Iraq in 2005 and Northern Ireland in 2006. Thereafter he moved to the Javelin Platoon for a further three years, which included a tour of Afghanistan in 2008.
He left regular service in March 2009 to join the Fire Service but due to a delay in the recruitment process he volunteered for mobilisation with 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) for the duration of Op HERRICK 12.
Following mobilisation, Private Monk deployed to Afghanistan with Mons Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), in April 2010. He subsequently moved to C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), operating from Patrol Base Rahim as part of the Danish Battle Group in the Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North) area of Helmand province.
The company has been providing security and stability to the Upper Gereshk Valley over the last three months along with improving the lives of ordinary Afghans by promoting governance and Afghan economic development.
The family of Private Monk made the following statement:
"Jonathan/Jon was the most wonderful son, and a truly great brother to Michaela. The Army was in his blood, it was all he'd ever wanted to do since he was five years old.Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"He had great energy and drive, and tremendous courage and determination. Even as a child he had no fear of tackling difficult situations and would never give up.
"He was extremely generous both to family and friends, and always eager to give help to anyone that needed it.
"He leaves an enormous void in all our lives. We will miss him so much, but we will always be so proud of his achievements and the dedicated way he served his country. He will always be our hero."
"Private 'John' Monk had served with the 1st Battalion for a relatively short time, but had quickly established himself as a highly capable soldier and a valued comrade to his many friends.
"His previous service in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment had given him valuable experience, and he used this not only for his own benefit but also for the benefit of the other members of his company, most of whom are on their first tour.
"It is a sign of his total commitment to his country and the Army that he loved that when he found time before his next career started he returned to serve with the Colours.
"[Private Monk] was the epitome of the combat infantry soldier, and will be missed by all who knew him. We will remember his ready smile, his quick wit and his cool head under fire." Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield
"We are fortunate that he chose to accompany us, bringing his unique style of humour and his extensive military experience with him.Lieutenant Colonel Kim Schmidt, Deputy Commander Danish Battle Group, Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North), said:
"In camp he was every Sergeant Major's nightmare, nonchalant and laid back, but in combat he fought like a tiger and was always to the fore when the bullets were flying.
"He was the epitome of the combat infantry soldier, and will be missed by all who knew him. We will remember his ready smile, his quick wit and his cool head under fire. He was so full of life and had so much more to give to the world, I consider myself privileged to have had him under my command.
"He stood firm and struck hard to his last breath, and will be sorely missed. His parents, Peter and Diana, his sister Michaela and his family and many friends are in our thoughts."
"C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), arrived as a valued reinforcement to the Danish Battle Group in mid-April.Major Chris Wood, Officer Commanding C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"Under the name Foxtrot Company we have come to appreciate and respect the persistence and professionalism with which the infantrymen from C Company go about their business. They always take the fight to the enemy and are relentless when it comes to standing up against them in the Green Zone.
"C Company have been at the forefront of the primary task of interacting with the local Afghans in a way that promotes the overall mission. The soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers are good representatives of the hard and complex task of fighting in a counter-insurgency conflict.
"The area around Patrol Base Rahim where Private Monk met his death is one of the hardest, most challenging combat zones in Helmand. John Monk did not die in vain; he died advancing on the enemy alongside his comrades.
"He died amongst his brothers-in-arms serving in Helmand, waiting to start a new career with the Fire Service upon return from Afghanistan. As soldiers we are proud to serve with men of the calibre of John Monk.
"He set the standard when things were the hardest. This is what shows the true measure of a fine and respected soldier. Private Jonathan Monk, rest in peace."
"Private John Monk was killed in the early hours of 9 June 2010 as his section moved to clear an insurgent-held compound in the Adinzai area of the Upper Gereshk Valley. He was deployed as part of a deliberate IED-clearance operation to provide greater security for the people of the Upper Gereshk Valley.
"[Private Monk] was a gregarious and outgoing individual who fitted in immediately with the men of C Company. His happy demeanour and enthusiasm was infectious and during his short time with the company he became a close friend and colleague to all." Major Chris Wood
"John Monk joined C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), shortly after we had deployed into the Upper Gereshk Valley. He was a naturally scruffy individual who constantly caught the attention of the Company Sergeant Major whilst in camp with his beard and ill-fitting or mixed combats.Lieutenant Stephen Rice, Mons Platoon Commander, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"Nonetheless, he was a gregarious and outgoing individual who fitted in immediately with the men of C Company. His happy demeanour and enthusiasm was infectious and during his short time with the company he became a close friend and colleague to all.
"He seemed at home on operations having served previously in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland and had proved himself to be a highly capable infantryman. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time."
"I first met Private Monk in January of 2010 when he, along with a number of other Territorial Army and Regular Reserve soldiers, joined the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) in preparation for the battalion's deployment to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 12.Corporal Leo Quinn, Mons Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"I can honestly say that he was one of the most relaxed individuals I've ever met. Private Monk was always cheerful, despite an outward appearance that might suggest otherwise, and always joking. He had a confidence that was contagious and was always happy to voice a group opinion when others would keep quiet.
"His experience with 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment was invaluable in helping the Territorial Army soldiers with whom he lived, worked, trained and deployed, and when it came to soldiering he was completely committed.
"Having previously deployed to Afghanistan, he had more than enough experience of life over here, and so it was no surprise to me that when I asked if any members of Mons Platoon would be willing to join C Company he said that he would step up.
"I was disappointed to see another experienced soldier go, but knew that he would be able to carry out his duties with professionalism and with the same cheerful and relaxed manner.
"The loss of Private Monk has shocked and saddened those of us who knew him, but I believe we can all say that he would wish us all to carry on soldiering, and would more than likely tell us to stop being so miserable!
"He will never be forgotten, he was a great soldier and a fine comrade. Rest in Peace."
"As I became aware of the tragic news of your death I was deeply saddened and hurt, even though I only had known you since January. In that short time you made an impact on me.
"You were always there for advice; even on the last day before you left Camp Bastion you spent time giving advice to me. For this I owe you and you made sure I remained within the group. For this I thank you and pray that God will give you his eternal peace as I know you are with him now."
"Private Monk - many words describe this soldier: strong, humble, good at pool, dancing and drinking, more successful with women than he should be, intelligent and honest." Private Duane Knott
Lance Corporal Matthew Smith, Private Frazer Locke, Private Callum McMahon, Private Adam Whelan and Fusilier Nico Williams, Mons Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"We first met Private John Monk at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre (RTMC) Chilwell on 4 January 2010 when we were mobilised for deployment on Op HERRICK 12.Private Duane Knott, C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"As a Regular Reservist he was heavily outnumbered and, when referred to as being in the Territorial Army, he would point out the error every time; however, over time we wore him down and he eventually accepted the badge of being a member of the Territorial Army.
"On arrival at Marne Barracks, Catterick Garrison, where we joined 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), he was immediately given the nickname 'The Reverend Monk' by Sergeant Ellis, who was keen to give everyone a nickname if possible.
"John was the joker of the pack, and always kept morale high with pranks and jokes, and was especially well known for saying 'boo' to anything that didn't suit him. He would drag his feet, and moaned like any good soldier does, but he would always get the job done to the best of his ability.
"His laid back attitude and humour was infectious and would always get him in trouble, but he would never have any regrets. The best asset he brought to the group was his relaxed demeanour and calm personality that ensured he never became stressed or worked up and would just sail through any situation.
"John lived life to the full and would encourage everyone to get out, have fun and gel, but most of all chill out and not to take anything too seriously.
"John was always a hit with the ladies but would never take it seriously; sometimes that attitude would get him into trouble at first, but in the end they would always come running back to him - how he did this will always be a mystery to us!"
"Private Monk - many words describe this soldier: strong, humble, good at pool, dancing and drinking, more successful with women than he should be, intelligent and honest.Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
"The courage and honour this man showed in the face of fear takes more than a man, it takes a hero."
"I was saddened to learn of the death of Private Jonathan Michael Monk. His record shows an accomplished soldier, who had completed tours in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Returning to theatre as a Reservist tells of a man committed to the security of his country. I extend my deepest condolences to his family and to all those who held him dear."
Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze killed in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
14 Jun 10
It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze from B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 12 June 2010.
Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze
[Picture: via MOD]
During an operation to clear an area near to Check Point Kingshill in order to increase security, Lance Corporal Breeze was caught in an explosion and was killed in action.
Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze
Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze was 31 years old and from Manchester. He enlisted into the Army in February 1996 and joined 1st Battalion The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, following completion of basic training.
He served in the United Kingdom and Cyprus, and on operations three times in Northern Ireland and twice in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan. He successfully completed a Junior Non-Commissioned Officers' cadre and was duly promoted to Lance Corporal in December 2002.
He deployed to Patrol Base 1 in the Babaji area of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan in March 2010 with B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), as part of the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battle Group, which forms Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South).
The company has been tirelessly providing stability and security for the local population whilst promoting Afghan governance and economic growth. B (Malta) Company has improved the quality of the lives of hundreds of local Afghans around the villages of Enezai and Char Coucha by providing much needed security and reassurance.
Lance Corporal Breeze's family paid the following tribute:
"We are very proud of a brave, loving and sincere son and brother. He served for 14 years in the Armed Forces and was recognised as an excellent soldier. The Army was his life. He is going to be desperately missed by his family and his fiancée."Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze joined the 1st Battalion The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment in 1996, and during his time as a Cheshire and latterly a Mercian he deployed on six operational tours, three in Northern Ireland, two in Iraq and finally one in Afghanistan. He was killed whilst clearing an area to give increased protection to the local community and his fellow soldiers.Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Strickland, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battle Group, said:
"A dedicated soldier and leader, he understood the risks inherent in his chosen profession, and still continuously deployed in the service of others, selflessly and courageously protecting his mates and the civilian population around him. He was a stalwart of the battalion, and of the Javelin Platoon. Throughout his service he had been no stranger to danger, and approached his work with discipline and determination, but always with a ready smile.
"Known as 'Windy' or 'Breezy' to his many friends in the battalion, it is perhaps this smile that will stick most in our minds, that and his ability to always see the good in situations and people. He was engaged to be married to Lorraine, and talked endlessly about her and his family. We are proud to say that he is one of ours and always will be, standing firm at all times, and striking hard whenever the enemy threatened.
"Another Mercian hero - we will remember him. The thoughts of the battalion and the regiment are with his fiancée and his family at this difficult time."
"We have lost a fine man, and the tragedy of his death spreads far. Lance Corporal Andy Breeze was the man that every company needs; experienced and approachable, he was there for everyone, always.
"We are very proud of a brave, loving and sincere son and brother. He served for 14 years in the Armed Forces and was recognised as an excellent soldier. The Army was his life. He is going to be desperately missed by his family and his fiancée." Lance Corporal Breeze's family
"Those who have been soldiers will know the effect of such a character, spreading calm reassurance in times of tension to those who are less certain. He died as he had lived, stepping forward to shoulder the burden of the task in hand, with a smile on his face. His company mourns his loss, but feels more keenly the devastation of the loved ones that he left behind. It was an honour to have served together."Major Richard Grover, Officer Commanding B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"Lance Corporal Andy Breeze tragically lost his life on 12 June 2010 and his loss has been keenly felt by all within B (Malta) Company. Popular, outgoing and kind-hearted, he typified the team work ethic so valued by all in the infantry. A soldier of 14 years' service, he joined in 1996 when the battalion was based in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland.Captain Rupert Pye-Watson, Javelin Platoon Commander, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"He first joined B Company, but he spent the majority of his time in Support Company as part of the Anti-Tank Platoon, before returning to B Company once more for this tour to Afghanistan. Regarded as 'part of the furniture' of the Anti-Tank Platoon, he was part of the fabric of this battalion.
"Immensely popular and a friend to all, his friendly and compassionate manner meant his advice was widely sought, especially by newer soldiers looking for guidance. Always content, never one to moan no matter how hard it got, his nature was to crack on without complaint. This was the measure of the man. He would do anything to help his fellow comrades and would always put himself in a position to be of assistance.
"His bravery and professionalism were typified by his excellent work only the other week in evacuating a casualty during a sustained contact with the enemy. Dependable and trustworthy, you knew he would always do his best no matter the circumstances.
"During his service Lance Corporal Breeze had been on operations in Northern Ireland and Iraq on numerous occasions. A dedicated soldier, this was his life. As a long term member of the Anti-Tank Platoon, he was waiting for his promotion to full Corporal; a promotion that was richly deserved following his hard work and potential.
"Lance Corporal Breeze will be sorely missed by all in B (Malta) Company, and his spirit will live on in the work we do. We will remember you Mercian brother, stand firm."
"Lance Corporal Breeze, or Breezy as he was commonly known, will leave an enormous gap in all our lives. I could rely on him to assist in everything we did in camp and he was totally relaxed in command but this never affected his judgement or command presence.
"He had been a foundation of the Javelin Platoon for many years, and was waiting for promotion to Corporal after completing the Detachment Commanders' Course last year. Nothing was too much effort for Breezy, he always sought to achieve things in a cheery and unassuming manner. He was great friends to all those in the platoon and Support Company alike. He will be greatly missed.
"His family were always in his thoughts. He talked about them all the time, and how proud he was. He shall be forever in our thoughts, and our hearts go out to his family and friends at this most tragic time."
"Lance Corporal Breeze was in many ways the epitome of the modern day infantry soldier. In his professional life he was extremely dedicated, respected and well liked by all." Captain Julian Clayton
Captain Julian Clayton, Company Second-in-Command, Support Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"Lance Corporal Breeze was in many ways the epitome of the modern day infantry soldier. In his professional life he was extremely dedicated, respected and well liked by all.Sergeant Robert Carr, B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"He was a physically strong man who always led his troops from the front, a classic Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer. In his free time he lived his life to the full, occasionally causing me and his Company Sergeant Major some anxious moments, but for all the right reasons.
"He had so much potential for the future, and I personally had very high hopes for his career. To say his loss is tragic seems inadequate, but he will be sorely missed by all of us in Support Company. Our hearts and sincere condolences go out to his family at this tragic time. He was such a good lad, it is a very sad time."
"Andy Breeze joined the Army in 1996 and joined 5 Platoon, B Company, in Ballykelly. He was one of the first people I met when I joined and from the start we became friends. We spent the better part of a decade serving together in 5 Platoon and then in the Anti-Tank Platoon.Sergeant Andy Hawkins, B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:
"We served together in Northern Ireland and Iraq, and Andy was one of the best soldiers I have and will ever work with. He liked a drink and we had many drunken adventures across the world. He was part of the furniture in the Anti-Tank Platoon and was always there to give advice to the younger generation, the way only Andy could. He will be sorely missed and the world is now a darker place without his banter, humour and friendship."
"Lance Corporal Andy Breeze joined the Cheshires in 1996 in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, around the same time as me. He was a member of B Company for several years before moving to Anti-Tank Platoon, now Javelin Platoon.Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
"Andy was great at his job and enjoyed doing it; no matter how bad things were he would never moan or complain, he would just crack on and dig in hard. Andy was due to promote soon, after successfully completing the Javelin Course.
"I have known you Andy for 14 years now and can't believe you have been taken away from us like this; however now is the time for you to have the rest you deserve my brother. Great lad, great leader, great friend. Andy Breeze, RIP mate."
"I was saddened to learn of the death of Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze who had earned his place as a highly valued member of the Mercian Regiment during 14 years of dedicated service to the Armed Forces.
"Known to all as an excellent soldier and capable leader he had recently proved his courage as he evacuated a casualty under fire. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time."
The Queen presents Afghanistan medals to Royal Welsh soldiers
A History and Honour news article
14 Jun 10
Her Majesty The Queen has presented medals to soldiers of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh following their recent operational tour in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal John Buck receives his medal from Her Majesty The Queen at Chester Racecourse
[Picture: Chris Barker, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Welsh, met soldiers and their families at Chester Racecourse on Thursday 10 June 2010.
1st Battalion The Royal Welsh deployed to Afghanistan in December and returned to their UK base, Dale Barracks in Chester, about five weeks ago, having had a central role in several high profile operations, notably Operation MOSHTARAK.
Soldiers from this battalion made the biggest find of improvised explosive devices ever uncovered by British forces in Afghanistan.
The Queen arrived shortly before midday and was greeted by Major General Roddy Porter, Colonel of the Regiment.
A Drumhead service of Thanksgiving preceded the presentation of Operational Service Medals to the 60 soldiers for whom the battalion's recent tour was their first, with Her Majesty presenting 16 medals, including to six soldiers wounded during the operational tour.
Major General Roddy Porter greets Her Majesty The Queen
[Picture: Chris Barker, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
The service remembered the sacrifices of the wounded soldiers and also remembered Fusilier Jonathan Burgess, the only soldier from the battalion to be killed in action during the tour.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nick Lock, then led his battalion on a march past, to cheers and applause from thousands of family members and friends who filled the racecourse stands.
Her Majesty The Queen then met with families and soldiers before an official reception and lunch.
Sergeant James Wilson said:
"It is a massive boost for the guys that the Queen came to see us today and present medals.
"The tour was quite intense and very challenging. We were working with French, Afghans and Estonians, which brings its own challenges which you have to adapt to."
Fusilier Shaun Stocker receives his medal from Her Majesty The Queen
[Picture: Chris Barker, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
Lance Corporal Gareth Smith said:
"It has been a good day, especially for our families to be able to see us getting medals from the Queen. It is great for morale for the lads and the families."Earlier, Major General Porter officially launched The Royal Welsh Regimental Association, formed from uniting the Regimental Associations of the antecedent regiments, The Royal Welch Fusiliers and The Royal Regiment of Wales.
The Colonel of the Regiment presented a new Regimental Association Standard and a Branch Standard.
Marine Steven James Birdsall dies from wounds sustained in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
16 Jun 10
It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Marine Steven James Birdsall from Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, died in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, on 14 June 2010, as a result of a gunshot wound he suffered in Afghanistan.
Marine Steven Birdsall
[Picture: via MOD]
During the late afternoon of Sunday 13 June 2010, Bravo Company was providing security to Royal Engineers who were reinforcing the defences at one of the UK Check Points in Sangin.
At approximately 1629hrs local time, Marine Birdsall received a gunshot wound and was immediately evacuated to Camp Bastion's Role 3 Hospital where his condition was listed as critical.
On 14 June 2010, he was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where, at 1229hrs on 14 June 2010, Marine Birdsall sadly died of his wounds.
Marine Steven James Birdsall
Marine Steven James Birdsall was born on the 6 October 1989. He lived in Warrington with his parents and younger sister, Melissa. In December 2007 he joined the Royal Marines, aged 18, passing for duty as a Royal Marines Commando on the 7 November 2008.
On completion of training he attended the Defence School of Transport in Leconfield where he gained his full range of driving licences, including his HGV driver qualification. He joined 40 Commando Royal Marines in January 2009.
Shortly after, he deployed with Delta Company on Exercise TAURUS; a large scale amphibious deployment, taking him through the Mediterranean to the Far East and culminating in a jungle warfare package in Brunei.
In September 2009 he moved to Bravo Company and conducted six months of Mission Specific Training for this operational tour with 40 Commando to Afghanistan. He deployed to Helmand in April 2010 and was based at Patrol Base EZERAY, in northern Sangin.
Bravo Company has conducted numerous joint operations with the Afghan National Security Forces aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary Afghans by improving security and increasing their freedom of movement.
Marine Birdsall's family have made the following statement:
"There are no words that could ever express the heartache of losing our beautiful son, Steven, who was always so selfless, brave and fearless. Loving brother to Melissa, grandson to Grandma, Granny and Granddad and a much loved nephew and cousin.Lieutenant Colonel Paul James, Commanding Officer 40 Commando Group, Combined Force Sangin, said:
"Steven had so many friends back home in Warrington and in 40 Commando Royal Marines, and we are forever thankful to the lads who were with him when he needed them most. See you later mate, we are so very proud of you, love Mum and Dad."
"Marine Steven Birdsall was a brilliant young marine whose gallantry, selflessness and determination impressed all who knew him. He was strong, brave, full of spirit and full of character.
"A talented footballer, he played for 40 Commando immediately on joining the Unit and quickly proved to be a fit motivated marine who inspired others. He possessed a sharp mind and a big and generous heart – he loved his family, his friends and his fellow marines; and they adored him in return.
"He was a consummate professional; forever focused, very proud and utterly dependable; yet always cheerful and magnanimous. He was the perfect marine. He sadly died on patrol in northern Sangin, doing the job he loved; protecting the people.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, his sister, his family and his friends. He will be sadly missed by all in 40 Commando. Marine Steven Birdsall was, and always will be, a Royal Marine Commando."
"He was a consummate professional; forever focused, very proud and utterly dependable; yet always cheerful and magnanimous. He was the perfect marine." Lieutenant Colonel Paul James
Major Mark Totten Royal Marines, Officer Commanding Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"Marine Stevie Birdsall was a jovial, fun-loving and exceptionally talented young man who has been taken in his prime. His ability on the sports field had ensured considerable success as a footballer prior to joining the Royal Marines, with whom he developed and flourished.Lieutenant Jon Phelps, Officer Commanding 11 Troop Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"The determination that led to his sporting success allowed him to complete Initial Commando Training, despite setback through injury and was a permanent fixture of his approach to Service life. He sharpened his field craft skills with Delta Company in the jungle of Brunei before joining Bravo Company for deployment to Afghanistan.
"He never missed an opportunity to excel whether at work or playing football. Arguably his finest hour was leading a scratch team to success in the Cancun Beach Football Festival, a champagne moment that remains unequalled amongst those who shared it.
"Once deployed, Stevie brought enormous courage, humour and emotional support to his section; he laughed, larked and listened within the Patrol Base and was a centre of gravity for morale. On the ground his contribution was unstinting; sharp and alert, even when carrying the most burdensome equipment.
"He was quick to occupy exposed positions within a patrol and faced the enemy with gallantry. Stevie's last act was to watch over a Royal Engineer team as they laboured in the Afghan sun. He was a model Bootneck, true friend and comrade.
"The love of his family was demonstrated daily through the marvellous packages he received and selflessly shared; our thoughts and prayers are with them in this most difficult time."
"Marine Birdsall was a fantastic marine who showed huge potential for the future. A rising star of the present generation of young Marines, he was always selfless in how he went about his business. Unassuming, intelligent and professional until the last, he could always be relied upon no matter what the task.Sergeant Jason Wood, 11 Troop Sergeant, Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"It was this, 'can do' attitude and adaptability that often placed him in positions requiring a special dependency in a man; something he relished. An enthusiastic and competitive sportsman he could often be found partnering his mates in the gym giving as good as he got.
"Marine Birdsall was the ideal Marine who made my job a lot easier. He truly embodied the values of the Corps. His character is irreplaceable, and will be sorely missed by all of 11 Troop.
"It is a testament to his determination that he was strong enough to hold on until he was back in the UK with his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, younger sister, relatives and friends. Rest in Peace Royal."
"Birdy was a great lad, always smiling and took being a Bootneck in his stride. He was always cheerful, never 'dripped' and was a well liked member of the Troop.Marine Olly Spence and Marine Matt Baldwin, 11 Troop, Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"He will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him. All the lads in 11 Troop are thinking of his family at this very difficult time."
"As a Marine, Birdy was the same as he was at playing football, strong, full of heart and always worked hard for the team. As a Light Machine Gunner in the section, his drills on the gun were as slick as his wet hair after a morning shower. As a mate he was second to none, he had an unparalleled sense of humour on, as well as off the job.
"He always listened especially when you needed it most. Birdy was a highly respected member of the Royal Marines 'sun bathing team'; his healthy glow making him popular with the ladies. Whilst exploring Egypt he gained valuable experience by using his boyish good looks to get familiar with the female side of the Royal Navy.
"Judging by all the welfare packages he received, he was obviously much loved by his family and friends, as he was by his Troop. His good heart and cheeky smile will always be remembered by those who had the pleasure of knowing him."
"As a Light Machine Gunner in the section, his drills on the gun were as slick as his wet hair after a morning shower." Marine Olly Spence and Marine Matt Baldwin
Marine David Shutler, Delta Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"Marine Birdsall, or 'Birdy' as he was known amongst the lads, was a good friend of mine. He was a quiet lad with a huge personality and was well respected within Delta Company. He was strong, fit and very dependable. Birdy always gave 100 per cent at all times, never dripping when times got hard.Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
"Before deploying on Op HERRICK 12, he went on a lads' holiday to Cancun with some of his troop. I'll never forget him turning up at the airport before flying to Cancun at 6am, worse for wear from the night before.
"I remember how happy he was when he told me they won a four-a-side beach football tournament, beating the Americans in the final. He was a very good footballer; we played together for 40 Commando RM before deploying.
"Birdy, I'm going to miss not having you around, mate. My thoughts are with you, your family and friends back home at this sad time. Life in the Corps won't be the same without you."
"Marine Birdsall has given his life helping to deliver real progress in Afghanistan, which is at the heart of our efforts to protect security in the UK.
"His colleagues speak of a brave, strong and dependable Marine. I extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."
RAF Tornado pilots go straight into action in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
16 Jun 10
Newly arrived RAF Tornado pilots to Afghanistan have already flown over Helmand Province several times providing crucial support to coalition ground operations.
An RAF Tornado GR4 takes off from Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan
[Picture: Senior Aircraftman Neil Chapman, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]
Flying out of Kandahar Airfield the Tornado GR4 provides crucial reconnaissance of the country and is one of many coalition fast jets in Afghanistan that can be 'scrambled' at short notice to assist ground 'troops in contact', a term used when forces are under enemy fire.
Flight Lieutenant Ben Mark, part of II (Army Co-operation) Squadron, normally based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, arrived in Afghanistan at the begining of June. He explained his role in Afghanistan and the missions he has already undertaken:
"Our primary role is to fly in support of coalition land forces.However, the previous day's mission was a much hotter affair:
"Today's task was just over three hours in the air, providing over watch for some British troops setting up a forward operating base.
"My job was to observe what was going on around them, to keep an eye on them and offer help if they needed it. From our height we are able to see the bigger picture of what is happening on the ground."
Flight Lieutenants Chris Jenkins (left), Tornado pilot, and Jamie Newton, navigator; both are serving with II (Army Cooperation) Squadron, Royal Air Force, in Kandahar, Afghanistan
[Picture: Lesley Woods, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
"A Forward Air Controller (FAC) out on patrol with United States troops asked for fast air support," Flt Lt Mark said.As in this incident, almost all of the communication a Tornado crew will have is with a Forward Air Controller.
"We were tasked as the nearest available jet, so he talked us to his position, giving us his location and telling us what was going on around him.
"We could hear the bullets being fired and the nerves in his voice as he asked for our help."
They could be any of nationality, and are usually Army personnel who will have a good understanding of what air support can offer.
Getting the jet to where it needs to be is the job of navigator Martin Cutting, who said:
"Although we are armed when we fly, deploying bombs from the aircraft is always a last resort - we often carry out what is called a 'show of force'.
A II (Army Cooperation) Squadron Tornado GR4 is checked over by groundcrew in Kandahar, Afghanistan
[Picture: Lesley Woods, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
"Flying low and fast lets potential enemy forces know we are there, it's the noise we create that makes the difference. We can often deter the enemy from taking further action against our troops on the ground."Flying alongside experienced personnel like Flt Lt Mark are crews on their first operational detachment such as Flight Lieutenants Chris Jenkins and Jamie Newton who have been on II (AC) Squadron for just a few months.
Flt Lt Newton is a navigator. After his first Close Air Support mission in Afghanistan a few days ago he said:
"You overcome your nerves and use the adrenalin to stay focused.Pilot Flt Lt Jenkins added:
"We were called to help check an area was clear of suspected enemy forces - we then had feedback from the guys on the ground that what we did was of great help - that gives me a real sense of achievement."
"It's been a real eye opener coming out here, there is so much more to what we do than you see in the news. We've been too busy to feel nervous, and it's great to be able to work with the coalition forces."