Saturday, June 13, 2009
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a Private Robert McLaren from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS), was killed in Afghanistan on the morning of 11 June 2009.
Pte McLaren aged 20 years old from Kintra, by Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull, was fresh out of infantry recruit training. He was schooled at Bunnessan Primary and then Oban High School. Pte McLaren joined the Army in November 2007 and trained first at the Army Training Regiment in Winchester and then as a Royal Engineer in Surrey.
Pte McLaren ultimately decided to pursue a career as a Scottish Infantryman and attended and comfortably passed the Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. He passed out of Seven Platoon on 3 April 2009 and was posted to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland on operations in Southern Afghanistan.
Pte McLaren's family said:
"We are very proud of Robert; he died doing a job he loved and we will cherish fond memories of Robert for ever."
Commanding Officer 3 SCOTS, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright said:
"Private Robert McLaren has been cruelly taken from us after only four weeks of active service in The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
"The Battalion was conducting an offensive operation against the insurgents in one of the most dangerous parts of the southern Afghanistan. His Company had been engaged in close combat with the insurgents for several hours and Robert had displayed enormous physical courage during this battle for one so young.
"He gave his life for his friends with his selfless commitment, moving forward in the face of a determined and ruthless enemy.
"From the moment he arrived he threw his heart and body into everything he was asked to do. He completed three large operations with his Company and he made an immediate positive impression with his JNCOs (Junior Non-Commissioned Officer).
"Fit, keen to learn and easy company, Robert had so much going for him and was so proud to be on operations so soon in his career.
"Any death in this close knit Battalion delivers an emotional body blow, but the loss of this young man so soon after joining us has hit us particularly hard."