Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Corporal Joseph Etchells killed in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Corporal Joseph Etchells of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 19 July 2009.

Corporal Etchells, aged 22 from Mossley, Greater Manchester, was killed as a result of an explosion that happened whilst on a foot patrol near Sangin, northern Helmand Province.

Corporal Joseph Etchells

Corporal Etchells, or "Etch" to his mates, was born on 23 March 1987. He joined the Army in December 2003, and on successful completion of his infantry training at Army Foundation College, Harrogate, was posted to 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers later that year. He was always eager and proud to be a Fusilier and Infantryman.

On arrival in the Battalion, Cpl Etchells joined B Company 6 Platoon in Palace Barracks, Belfast subsequently moving to with the Battalion Cyprus. Whilst in Cyprus he deployed with A Company Group to Now Zad, Afghanistan in 2006 as a Fusilier in 6 Platoon. He returned to Cyprus from Afghanistan and in June 2007 he passed his Junior NCO cadre moving to A Company on promotion.

Whilst in Cyprus he represented the Battalion and Garrison side at cricket and was an active member of the Battalion cross country team. In late 2007 Cpl Etchells deployed to Jordan on Exercise Saffron Sands and showed huge potential for the future in his Army career. On the Battalion's return from Cyprus to UK he secured a place on the Section Commander's Battle Course in June 2008 a course he passed with ease and was promoted to Cpl soon after.

When called on to deploy to Afghanistan again, he was the ultimate professional ensuring his Section were fully prepared for their role in Helmand. His dedication and loyalty to his men was evident from the moment he took over his Section. Cpl Etchells was an enthusiastic and dedicated individual who loved his job, cared about his men and was the consummate professional. He will be sorely missed.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Calder, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers said:

"Corporal Etchells was a remarkable young man. He showed a gift for soldiering that touched all who worked with him. His enthusiasm, determination, loyalty and professionalism would have seen him progress with ease through the ranks. Above all he will be remembered for the friendships that he easily made; at home, in barracks or facing daily adversity in Afghanistan.

"The Battalion; his friends mourn his loss. However our loss is nothing compared to the loss sustained by his fiancée, and his family. Our prayers are now for them, Julie and their daughter."

1 comment:

  1. Of no relevance is the fact that I participate in www.theoldbarbershop.com blog ... in addition to sharing tall tales, recipes, humor, personal experiences and memories ... we opine, posit and pontificate on baseball, politics, religion and just about anything else of which you can think ... all characters of character are welcome.

    Our individual freedoms are in peril ... the greatest threat of all being our own apathy ... we must all stand up for that in which we believe ... it's a full time job ... like yours but I think you're doing better than we.

    In looking for the text of some Obama remarks where he used the "ultimate sacrifice" phrase, I came across ... "A rising star of the Army who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan made the ultimate sacrifice" ...

    I first thought it was about some bright young junior officer, or perhaps even a brigadier ... but no, it was of a 22 year old corporal, Joseph Etchells ... killed while on foot patrol on Sunday, 19 July.

    I shared some of what I read with the blog, including some of the glowing accolades ... for this rising young star from Greater Manchester ... England, not Tennessee.

    That was indeed a heartwarming story ... he was obviously well liked and a good soldier!

    It was more than a human interest story of a local boy killed in action ... he must have been truly exceptional, very special indeed.

    The story can be viewed from many perspectives ... nothing that could have been written could have brought the young man back ... what was written served a positive, wholesome purpose ... well, more than one ... a lesson from which those of us on this side of the pond might well profit.

    Certainly it was far different from the feelings I remember being expressed in our media covering such things ... one mother blaming our President for having placed her son in harm's way, being perhaps the saddest commentary of all ... while I don't remember her exact words, "it was so totally unfair ... he only joined the army to get an education" ... would have been better than good in grenades!

    With no intended disrespect for the gravity of the situation and the story, the tributes were so many and so over the top ... especially when compared to what we've grown accustomed ... it did seem to beg the question ... "what does it take in your army to become a sergeant"?

    Seriously, we applaud your efforts ... it's truly unfortunate that young men must die ... but it's important for them to know that they and their efforts are truly appreciated ... that they make a difference!

    Our blog is currently in extreme disrepair due to serious health issues having befallen three of the five primary participants but we would like to invite those who will to visit, join in the nonsense and share your thoughts, opinions and stories ... and hopefully make some new friends ... I promise that if you do, they'll stop talking about the Atlanta Braves ... good folks are good folks, it matters not where you find them.