Monday, July 27, 2009
Bombardier Craig Hopson killed in Afghanistan
It is with great regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Bombardier Craig Hopson from 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Lowland Gunners) was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 25 July 2009.
Bombardier Hopson was killed when the JACKAL vehicle in which he was travelling struck an Improvised Explosive Device while taking part in Operation PANCHAI PALANG.
Bombardier Hopson was part of a patrol in the Babaji area of Helmand province, tasked to recce a suitable area for a polling station in the forthcoming Afghan Presidential elections.
Bombardier Craig Hopson
Bombardier Hopson was born on 11 March 1985 in Castleford, West Yorkshire and attended Castleford High Technology College before deciding that he wanted a career in the Army.
He joined 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (the Lowland Gunners) on 28 August 2002 after completion of his Basic Training at Pirbright and Phase 2 Training at Larkhill, Wiltshire.
After an initial tour in 129 (Dragon) Battery, he was posted to 38 (Seringapatam) Battery where as an Observation Post Assistant he very quickly established himself as a core member of the team.
Having previously completed operational tours in Iraq and Cyprus, he completed Pre-Deployment Training for Afghanistan and subsequently deployed to Kandahar in March 2009 as Second in Command of a Fire Support Team, attached, with his Battery, to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Known to colleagues as 'Hoppo', Bombardier Hopson was a larger than life character and always at the centre of the action. Be it in the thick of the fight in Afghanistan on one of numerous Black Watch Operations, or back in barracks with his mates, his contribution was always characterised by good humour and the often painful honesty of a proud, steadfast Yorkshireman.
On operations, his role as Second in Command of a Fire Support Team was a vital and challenging one; the need to provide timely, accurate and overwhelming Artillery and Air Support to ISAF troops, balanced with the need to minimise collateral damage and civilian casualties can often be a difficult equilibrium to achieve.
In finding this balance, as in the technical and tactical aspects of his application of Gunnery, Bombardier Hopson excelled; he was truly in his element. A man of tremendous moral courage, he understood the consequences of his actions and the effect that they may have on the wider campaign and the people of Afghanistan, knowing that it often took more bravery to choose not to engage a target.
That he had the fortitude to apply this courageous inactivity under pressure and under fire was a mark of the man.
In addition to his considerable professional skill as a Joint Fires Controller, Bombardier Hopson was a talented sportsman, having represented the Army at Rugby League. He leaves behind his mother Lynn, partner Eleanor and their three month old daughter Amelia.
Bombardier Hopson's family paid the following tribute:
"Craig was the light in so very many lives. The light has now gone out. His family and many, many friends will love him and miss him forever. Craig the legend. Our Craig has left a hole in our lives that no one else can ever fill. He was loved so much."
Posted by Media Ops Blog at 6:43 PM