Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher killed in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher from 2nd Battalion The Rifles was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 2 June 2009.

Rifleman Thatcher died as a result of an explosion whilst he was on a patrol near Gereshk in Helmand province.

Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher

Rifleman Thatcher, aged 19, joined 2nd Battalion The Rifles in December 2007 and deployed almost immediately to Salisbury Plain on a Battle Group Exercise with 10 Platoon, C Company.

Even as a new and junior Rifleman, he showed great promise from the outset. He won a Battalion award for valour at the end of the testing exercise for preventing a counter-attack during a particularly tricky operation clearing a wood block.

His all-round qualities were confirmed when Rifleman Thatcher was selected to go to the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick as a mentor to new recruits. He was an exemplary role-model. In summer 2008 he deployed on his first operational tour to Kosovo on Operation VALERO, where he thrived. On return, he threw himself into pre-deployment training as his Company prepared for Afghanistan.

Life was full-on and he was involved in every turn of the training wheel. He performed brilliantly on the Battle Group's final exercise before deployment. At a particularly difficult moment on the confirmatory exercise, he stood up as a Section Commander, leading his fellow Riflemen through a wood clearance with great confidence and skill.

He deployed in April 2009 to Afghanistan as a General Purpose Machine Gunner, a testament to his strength and fitness. He had already been identified as a potential Section Second in Command. He had set his heart on promotion or joining the Sniper Platoon after Afghanistan; he would have excelled whichever path he took for, quite simply, Rifleman Thatcher was a Rifleman of immense promise.

Rifleman Thatcher came from Caversham in Reading. His passions were Manchester United, all things football and spending time with his two brothers and his parents.

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