Monday, July 6, 2009
It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal David Dennis from The Light Dragoons and Private Robert Laws from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment were killed in Afghanistan on 4 July 2009.
Both soldiers died in separate incidents, while taking part in Operation PANCHAI PALANG, an operation involving around 3,000 soldiers, to improve security in the area north of Lashkar Gah, clear the Babaji and Malgir areas of insurgents and restore government control before the National elections.
Lance Corporal Dennis was killed by a contact explosion from an Improvised Explosive Device whilst on foot. Private Laws was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade attack.
Private Robert Laws, 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment
Private Robert Laws, aged 18, joined 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) during Op HERRICK 10. His basic training started at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, which prepares young men for the rigours of the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. After completing the Combat Infantryman's Course in March of this year he passed off the square at Catterick and deployed to Helmand Province to join B Company.
Known to friends as Robbie, Private Laws was killed alongside his mates in B Company while they were operating under command of the Light Dragoons Battlegroup during Operation PANCHAI PALANG.
Private Laws, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, was a popular member of his platoon during training and achieved 'Best Shot' on the Light Machine Gun. When Robbie arrived at 2 MERCIAN he quickly became known for his mischievous sense of humour and a cheeky wit which endeared him well to his Platoon Sergeant.
To undertake basic training and be on the frontline in Afghanistan within a year is a tremendous undertaking, especially for someone who is 18 years old. Private Laws rose to this challenge by embracing all the best qualities of being a soldier: ability to adapt and learn; strength of character; determination.
Private Laws' family issued the following statement:
"The parents and close family are immensely proud of their popular and loving son. They would like to thank all their friends for their loving support at this very difficult time."
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Banton, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), said:
"Robbie only joined 2 MERCIAN (Worcesters and Foresters) a very short time ago but had already begun to make his mark. He was excited and eager to deploy to Afghanistan and this only a few days after his 18th birthday.
"He was a warm and cheerful young man who mucked in when there was work to be done and quickly made friends. Robbie's falling has taken a good soldier from us; a man who was not afraid to move forward, endure hardship and he had the courage to fight the enemy alongside his brothers.
"Robbie died alongside his mates in B Company, 2 MERCIAN, and his death has rocked them - they will hold him in their hearts as they fight on. The entire Regiment's prayers are with Robbie's family who are devastated by his loss."