Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lance Corporal Robert Martin Richards RM dies of wounds sustained in Helmand

It is with deep regret that the MOD must confirm that Lance Corporal Robert Martin Richards from Armoured Support Group Royal Marines died in Selly Oak Hospital on Wednesday 27 May 2009, from wounds sustained in Helmand five days previously.

Royal Marine Lance Corporal Rob Richards (his family know him as Martin but his friends call him Rob) was serving as Second-in-Command of a Viking All-Terrain Vehicle Section in 3rd Armoured Support Troop of the Armoured Support Group Royal Marines (ASGRM) when he was mortally wounded in the Nad e-Ali district of central Helmand, Afghanistan, on 22 May 2009.

Lance Corporal Richards was evacuated to the UK but despite the best efforts of medical staff and his own extraordinary fight he died of his wounds on 27 May 2009.

LCpl Richards died while supporting the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. He was given immediate first aid at the scene and evacuated to medical facilities in Kandahar before being flown back to the UK.

Many would not have survived the flight home but, testament to his character, LCpl Richards battled against his injuries for five days.

A second operator driving the vehicle was also injured and is still receiving medical treatment.

Lance Corporal Robert Martin Richards, Armoured Support Group Royal Marines

LCpl Richards, aged 24, lived in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales. He was unmarried with no children.

He joined the Royal Marines in April 2002. Following successful completion of Royal Marine Recruit Training and the Commando Course he joined 45 Commando Royal Marines based in Arbroath, where he served as a Rifleman and then Section Second-in-Command and completed an operational tour of Northern Ireland.

He then underwent the Armoured Support Operators Course qualifying him to operate the Viking All-Terrain Vehicle in May 2006. Following this he deployed for what was to be the first of three tours to Afghanistan.

LCpl Richards was a highly regarded and experienced Viking operator. He loved football and golf and participated in all unit social activities. His knowledge of the Viking vehicle and of Afghanistan was extensive and he was the source of much advice to those around him.

His courage under fire had been proven on numerous occasions during which he displayed great composure and skill. He led by example and was unafraid to place himself in danger in order to see the troop through a mission.

His dry sense of humour and dedication to his friends made him a driving force in the group. He left a lasting impression on everyone who came in contact with him. He will be sadly missed by the Armoured Support Group and the wider Royal Marine Corps.

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