Monday, January 19, 2009

Some Gave All: England, MY England

Corporal Richard Robinson

Corporal Richard Robinson
[Picture: via MOD]

Acting Corporal Robinson died as a result of enemy fire during an ambush north of Sangin District Centre while on a patrol to dominate ground with his Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) platoon with whom he had been operating since September 2008. ...

Corporal Robinson joined 'E' Company, 1 RIFLES, in April 2008 as a Sniper, Mentor, and Section Second-in-Command. Having completed the pre-deployment training that summer, he deployed with E Company to Sangin in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Op Herrick 9 at the end of September.

Corporal Robinson was a key team player in an operating environment where the individual skills of each and every member of the team have a decisive effect on the outcome of every situation. With his reconnaissance and sniper skills, and his sense of professional pride, he provided those decisive effects, and did so with sensibility, determination, and a ready sense of humour. He was quiet and conscientious, keeping his eye on the detail and getting on with his daily tasks efficiently and without great fuss or search for recognition.

As a mentor to the Afghan National Army, he brought all his professional experience to bear in a working environment where he was required to operate two ranks higher than his current rank. He received the acting rank of full Corporal for this tour, in recognition of the extra responsibilities and pressures of working at the Afghan Company level of operations in the isolated and austere environment of the deployed Afghan Patrol Bases....

"He was a popular, talented man and will be badly missed. Highly qualified and richly experienced for one of his vintage, he was credible and confident as an Acting Corporal and was already showing potential well beyond that."

Lieutenant Colonel Joe Cavanagh, Commanding Officer, 1 RIFLES

"He had a ready sense of humour (such is the lot of a Newcastle United fan) and I rarely saw him without a smile on his face, or firing out the banter in the Patrol Bases or in the FOB [Forward Operating Base]."

Major Jonathan (Jonny) Kitson, Officer Commanding E Company, 1 RIFLES

Go read more about this brave young hero here.

Captain Tom Sawyer and Corporal Danny Winter killed in Afghanistan

Captain Tom Sawyer (left) and Corporal Danny Winter

Captain Tom Sawyer (left) and Corporal Danny Winter
[Pictures: via MOD]

...Both were killed in an explosion while taking part in a joint operation with a Danish Battle Group and the Afghan National Army north east of Gereshk in central Helmand. They were members of a fire support team that was engaged in an operation to clear compounds in a known Taliban stronghold. Two other members of the patrol were injured in the explosion.

Captain Tom Herbert John Sawyer, Royal Artillery

Captain Tom Sawyer was serving with 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. He was in Helmand province deployed on operations as a Fire Support Team Commander attached to Zulu Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines.

Capt Sawyer, from Hertfordshire, was born on 20 January 1982....

Robust, fit and ever determined, Capt Sawyer was a keen sportsman who recently organised and led the Regimental Telemark Ski Team to compete at Army level in Austria. Looking to the future and the welfare of the men under his command, he had also planned to take his soldiers adventure training in Cyprus on completion of Op Herrick 9.

Socially, Capt Sawyer was a dynamo of good humour and fun; his company being thoroughly enjoyed by officers and soldiers alike. His intelligent wit and pleasant persona made him approachable by all ranks and one of life's great characters. His death is a huge loss to the men of his Battery, his Regiment, 3 Commando Brigade and the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

Captain Tom Sawyer

Captain Tom Sawyer
[Picture: via MOD]

Capt Sawyer is survived by his wife Katy, whom he married in March 2008, his parents Martyn and Susan and sister Wendy.

Tom's family paid the following tribute:

"Tom was the best husband, son and brother we could ever have asked for. He deeply loved his family and friends and his infectious personality touched all those who knew him. Dedicated to the army and his lads; he was loyal, loud and loving. He will leave a big hole in all of our lives but will always be remembered as our hero."

Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson Royal Artillery, Commanding Officer, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, said:

"Captain Tom Sawyer died a hero, doing a job he loved and whilst taking the fight to the enemy in the only way he knew. He was a first-class officer with a natural flair for command and was hugely respected by all his fellow officers and by the soldiers he commanded. He excelled as an instructor and mentor, and the time he took to impart his knowledge and uncompromising professional standards to his battery will undoubtedly be remembered as one of his greatest gifts.

"On operations, this selfless legacy, though immeasurable, has undoubtedly helped save the lives of both Afghans and British servicemen alike. He was a very proud and capable Commando Gunner with an exceedingly bright future. He had aspirations to achieve so much more in the military and, with the determination and strength of character he possessed, would undoubtedly have achieved his goals.

"Utterly courteous in all that he did, I will forever remember Tom as a gregarious, fun-loving, universally popular character with a ready smile and a joke. The great loss I feel as his Commanding Officer is incomparable to that which I know his wife and family will be feeling as a result of his death. My thoughts and prayers are with them all at this tragic time."...(go read about this hero from the people who love him here)

Corporal Danny Winter

Corporal Danny Winter
[Picture: via MOD]

Corporal Danny Winter, Royal Marines

Corporal Danny Winter was serving in Helmand province with the Mortar Troop of Zulu Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines. A specialist Mortar Fire Controller, his role within the company as the commander's mortar expert required him to provide intimate mortar support to the front line of the fighting troops. It was whilst operating in this role, ensuring the ranks of Zulu Company were supported, that he was killed.

Corporal Danny Winter, known as Dan, was born near Manchester on 20 June 1980, and lived in Stockport. He joined the Royal Marines in October 1996 and specialised in the mortars heavy weapons branch very early on in his career. Serving with both 40 Commando and 45 Commando he had served operationally in Northern Ireland and in Iraq on Operation Telic in 2003 where he was involved in the initial aviation assault of southern Iraq....

Highly capable and determined, Cpl Winter was also exceptionally laid back and humble. He undertook everything with absolute gusto, whether it was at work, supporting his beloved Manchester United FC, or spending time with his family and partner Amanda, with whom he shared his life. His enthusiasm was infectious as was his smile, which always had a laugh not far behind it. His combination of attributes made him an irreplaceable character to be around. Unselfish and unswervingly loyal to all that knew him, he encompassed all of the qualities of a Royal Marine.

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Morris Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 45 Commando Group, said:

"Corporal Danny Winter was an exceptional Royal Marine, Mortarman and Non-Commissioned Officer with a big future ahead of him. Clear thinking and forthright yet loyal, warm-hearted and very approachable, he was hugely influential both within the Mortar Troop but also within Zulu Company where for the last few months he had provided them with staunch fire support and planning advice throughout the many challenges that they have faced in Afghanistan.

"Brave, committed, extremely determined and operationally experienced he had a gift for giving honest advice and opinion without raising hackles and he was tremendously well respected by all ranks as a result. He was killed right at the forefront of an operation whilst providing the measured and balanced advice to his commander that had become his trademark. His loss has been deeply felt across the whole of 45 Commando and his ultimate sacrifice will always be remembered. The whole Commando joins me in sending my deepest sympathies to his family and friends."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Kevin Cheeseman, the Company Sergeant Major of Zulu Company, said:

"Danny has been Zulu Company's Mortar Fire Controller [MFC] Alpha for over a year and has worked with the company throughout all pre-deployment training, deploying on Operation Herrick 9 as the Zulu Company MFC Alpha. Danny was always 100 per cent focused on his job and his professional opinion was always welcome and accepted within the Zulu Company Headquarters.

"Danny was a key personality within Zulu Company who all the lads looked up to. He always had time for the lads' questions on Mortar Fire and how best it supported them. He was out on the ground supporting most of the patrols over the last three months and would never pass up any opportunity to go out, even on the smallest of tasks.

"He discharged his responsibilities with pride and the utmost professionalism. Danny will be sorely missed within Zulu Company. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and we just want to say that Danny was a true 'Zulu Warrior' who was very proud to serve with Zulu Company, 45 Commando and the Royal Marines. A true bootneck has been lost."

Captain Olly Denning Royal Marines, Officer Commanding Mortar Troop, said:

"Corporal Danny Winter was the epitome of 45 Commando Mortar Troop. He absolutely loved being a part of the Troop and was a part of its very character. He was extremely professional, fit and motivated. With a ready smile he worked hard without ever showing pressure, with a confidence and assuredness that steadied those around him. It was the 'work hard, play hard' rule he took most seriously and could swing from work to full run ashore mode at the blink of an eye. A true great, I will always consider myself lucky to have known Danny Winter."

Sergeant G T C Jones Royal Marines, 45 Commando Mortar Troop Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, said:

"Corporal Danny Winter was one of the most professional mortar men ever to pick up a set of binoculars and a compass. He was a man's man, who always had time for you and especially his lovely girlfriend Amanda. If things weren't going your way he would be there raising your spirits with a cheeky grin, witty comment and a laugh that was infectious and unique to him.

"He was always the first one to call you out for a drink down the pub, and he was always the first to need taking home. He was the heart and soul of whatever the lads were doing at any time, and he genuinely believed that he was 'the best looking and hardest man in Arbroath'!

"Danny had a strong character, was calm under pressure and had the heart of a lion which enabled him to offer advice to friends and family and company commanders. He always led by example and was looked up to by the younger Marines. He was especially well respected in the world of Royal Marines mortars, and he was immensely popular in Arbroath.

"Looking back on his time in 45 Cdo Mortars, it is impossible not to smile at some of the comical exploits he used to get up to. On numerous nights out he would always crack his trade mark dance 'the Van Damme' which he executed with all the grace of Woody, from Toy Story. He was a fanatical Man United fan who never missed a game, and would always be singing Man United songs whether they won or not, even if it did wind everyone up.

"Danny Winter will be deeply missed by his family, and friends. He was a man who would do anything for you. He is a tragic loss to those who knew him closest and he now leaves a huge hole in Mortar Troop. Danny was a legend and an inspiration to all of us in Mortars and I know he would want us all to be strong and crack on. It was an honour to serve beside him and it was a privilege to have worked in the presence of this massive character. Danny Winter, a true Mortar man."...

You know there is more on this amazing hero. Go here to meet another of England's finest.

Prayers for all who love these amazing men. May they rest in peace, they're some of the chosen ones.

1 comment:

Dean said...

Although I am a former sailor and Vietnam vet, the loss of any military man or woman is always deeply felt. These words are a tribute to all our fallen so if you would but indulge an old sailor a few words to my departed brothers.

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind ever be at your back,
May you find old friends waiting to greet you, there on the outside track.

We're gathered together old times to remember, 'tis but for ourselves we would grieve,
So we'll sing you a chorus and bid you farewell - fair winds and a following sea.

We'll sing of 'The Leaf' and 'The Parting Glass', we'll raise up our voices in song,
No sadness today for those who have passed, we celebrate with voices glad and strong.

A catch in the throat, a tear in the eye, but no funeral dirge will this be,
We'll roar 'Auld Lang Syne' as a victory song - fair winds and a following sea.

And those of us left here will miss a true friend, who shared with us good times and bad,
Raising a glass to your memory we'll say: “We've known you – why should we be sad?”

We honour a life that was lived to the full, we honour a spirit, now free.

You'll long be remembered, whenever we say: “Fair winds and a following sea!”