Private Matthew Thornton killed in Afghanistan
10 Nov 11
It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Private Matthew Thornton, from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (4 YORKS), was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 9 November 2011.
Private Matthew Adam Thornton was a Territorial Army soldier of 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment who deployed to Afghanistan with Support Company, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment as an element of Combined Force Lashkar Gah (The Queen’s Royal Hussars Battle Group) in October 2011. He operated out of Check Point KHOORASHAN in the Babaji area at the northern tip of the Lashkar Gah District. On 9 November 2011, his and another multiple were patrolling to the north of Check Point LOY MANDEH in order to engage with the Afghan people and to develop a better understanding of their area. During the patrol his multiple was engaged by small arms fire and grenades. While he was manoeuvring and returning fire he was caught in the blast of an Improvised Explosive Device and tragically was killed.
Private Thornton was born in Barnsley on 3 November 1983. He was educated at Darton High School prior to joining Fontenay Company, East and West Riding Regiment on 5 Oct 2004, which subsequently became D Company, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment on 6 June 2006. He left the Territorial Army in 2007, but re-enlisted into D Company in September 2009, eager to deploy to Afghanistan when the opportunity arose. It was with no surprise that he was one of the first to volunteer his services for deployment on Operation HERRICK 15. Away from military life he was employed as a factory worker for a Yorkshire-based company, Premdor, manufacturing door and window frames. He was also an avid snow boarder, a sport in which he was a qualified instructor.
Private Thornton quickly became very popular with those with whom he served in Support Company. During his short time with the Company he showed that he was a gifted, hard working and determined soldier, who epitomised the values and standards of the British Army. With an infectious smile and a keen sense of humour, he will be sorely missed by all who had the honour of serving with him.
He leaves behind his father, Michael, his mother, Susan, his sister, Sarah, and his brother, Nathan. The thoughts and prayers of all those in his Battalion and Combined Force Lashkar Gah are very much with them at this most difficult time.
Private Thornton's family paid the following tribute to him:
"Matthew was a dedicated soldier and passionate about the job. He loved what he was doing. He loved life and lived it to the full - in his work, in his role with the Territorial Army and in his leisure time.
"Matthew will be greatly missed by his family, his TA colleagues and his friends. His death leaves a huge hole in all our lives."
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Crowley MC, Commanding Officer, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, said:
"Private Matthew Thornton volunteered for service with the Territorial Army and enlisted in 2004. For various reasons, he left in 2007, but missed the challenge, the comradeship and the banter that service with 4 YORKS gave him and re-engaged in 2009. A stalwart of D Company, he ‘tipped up’ for everything and was always the first to volunteer and help his Company, professionally and socially.
"One of the reasons he re-enlisted was to do his bit and serve on operations in Afghanistan. When the opportunity came to mobilise he was one of the first to put his hand up. There was never a doubt that he would be exactly the right man to deploy. He embraced the training he received, showing a professional attitude throughout some hard training in Wales and Germany. I know that his talent as a soldier, his willingness to assist anybody and his wacky dress sense, combined with strange dance moves ensured that he quickly integrated into his mobilised service with the platoon he joined in 1 YORKS.
"Private Matthew Thornton displayed that he had the volunteer ethos in spades. He was a fine soldier and an even finer man. 4 YORKS is a family and we have lost one of our own. He was a true Yorkshire Warrior.
"Private Matthew Thornton was a son and brother of whom his heartbroken family can feel justly proud. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time. We will remember him."...
Go over to the MoD here, and spend time learning about this Fallen Hero from those who know and love him the best.
Rest in Peace, Sir. Always remembered. Always honoured.