Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rifleman Adrian Sheldon of 2 RIFLES killed in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the death of Rifleman Adrian Sheldon of 2nd Battalion The Rifles.

Rfn Sheldon was killed in Afghanistan on the evening of Thursday 7 May 2009 as a result of an explosion when travelling in a Jackal vehicle near Sangin in Helmand province.

Rifleman ‘Shelly’ Sheldon first joined the Battalion in March 2001, having completed training at the Army Foundation College Harrogate and the Infantry Training Centre Catterick.He served on operations in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq. He then left the Army, to try something else, and spent time working in IT Recruitment and for a Driving Agency. But it soon became clear that life as a 'civvie' was not for him and he returned to the Battalion in time to begin our pre-deployment training for Afghanistan.

He served in 8 Platoon, the Fire Support Platoon in B Company, 2 Rifles. A Rifleman first and foremost, he was an extremely well-qualified driver and, got stuck in to the task of learning the JACKAL, the vehicle he was to drive in Afghanistan. He set about learning his new job at the double and with an enviable alacrity. When not driving the JACKAL, he also took his place in a Rifle Section as Machine Gunner.

Rfn Sheldon came from Kirkby-in-Ashfield; he was a Mansfield lad. He was an avid Mansfield Town supporter and followed the Stags from a young age. He also supported Manchester United – an unprecedented mix. He also enjoyed rugby, socialising with friends, and TV sports especially darts.

Rfn Sheldon leaves behind his parents, Mark and Diane Sheldon, and his younger sister, Amy.

His family have released the following statement:
"Adrian was our son best mate our hero, the light of our lives has gone out and never to be replaced.

Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson, CO 2 Rifles Battle Group North, said:
"Rifleman Sheldon was one of those 'rocks' in my Fire Support Groups. Deeply experienced on operations and in life, he was an outstanding role model to all of us who count it a privilege to have served alongside him.
"He was a master of his trade and, like his brother Riflemen, he was thriving here in North Helmand; he was at the very forefront of his Company’s operations to make a difference for the people of Afghanistan.
"One of what I call my 'Mansfield gang', he was not a noisy Rifleman like some but there was an enviable depth and maturity to his character, which drew Riflemen of all ranks to him.

"He is sorely missed. But I know that our grief is nothing compared to that which his devoted parents and sister will be enduring. They are firmly front and centre of our thoughts and prayers at this unimaginably difficult time.

"His fellow Riflemen are back in action and I know that Rifleman Sheldon, such was his commitment, would have been the first to order the Bugle Major to 'Sound the Advance'.

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