Friday, July 3, 2009
It is with deep sadness that the Ministry of Defence can confirm that Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe MBE, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Trooper Joshua Hammond of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment were killed yesterday, Wednesday 1 July 2009, in Afghanistan.
They were killed by an explosion whilst on convoy along the Shamalan Canal, near Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
On 1 July 2009 Lt Col Thorneloe left the Battle Group Headquarters on a resupply convoy so that he could visit his men, because they were conducting a major operation in hostile territory.
He was travelling in a Viking armoured vehicle, but at 1520hrs local time an improvised explosive device was detonated under this vehicle. Lt Col Thorneloe and Tpr Hammond were killed by the blast.
Trooper Joshua Hammond, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2 RTR)
The family of Trooper Joshua Hammond said:
"Joshua was a tremendous son. He was proud to be a soldier and died doing a job he loved. We are devastated by the loss of Joshua, who was a loving son. We are proud of the fact that Joshua was prepared to do his duty, helping the people of Afghanistan."
Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Simson, Commanding Officer 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, said:
"Trooper Joshua Hammond enlisted in the Army aged 16-and-a-half and attended the Army Foundation College in Harrogate to complete his initial training. From Harrogate, having been accepted into the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, Trooper Hammond moved to Bovington to learn his trade as a Challenger 2 tank driver.
"He arrived with the regiment in Tidworth in May 2008, shortly before his 18th birthday, and within months had deployed with his squadron to Canada where he spent a happy and fulfilling three months training on the prairie. He quickly established himself as a professional and capable young soldier, full of potential and with a future full of promise.
"On his return from Canada, Trooper Hammond volunteered to change squadron in order to deploy to Afghanistan. He threw himself into life in his new squadron, the pre-deployment training, and his conversion to the Viking vehicle that he would be operating in theatre.
"He deployed with his squadron to Afghanistan exactly a month ago. In the month he had in theatre, he proved himself to be a superb soldier. Fit, courageous, and robust, he was the first to volunteer, the first to muck in, and the first to offer help to others. But he was so much more than that.
"For he was at the heart of everything that was going on. He was full of laughter, was always ready to listen and he cared deeply about his mates.
"Known regimentally as Josh, Trooper Hammond died on patrol doing the job he loved, amongst his friends, the week before his 19th birthday.
"He was proud to be a Tankie, and we are proud to have served with him. His tragic death has left a vast hole in our hearts - both those in his squadron in Afghanistan and those of us left behind in the UK.
"Our thoughts at this time are with his family and friends, but most particularly with his parents and his fiancée."
Major Charlie Burbridge, Officer Commanding Egypt Squadron, 2 RTR, said:
"Hammy joined 2 RTR in May 2008 and it was clear from the outset that he was going to be a fine soldier. He took pride in his fitness and was determined to be the best tank driver he could be. He succeeded.
"He also succeeded in being admitted into the Egypt bad tattoo club and very swiftly became a central figure in the squadron.
"Hammy was a quiet, unassuming but highly courageous young man with a roguish sense of humour. Earnest, thoughtful and happy, he was an essential part of my squadron and he died, a week before his nineteenth birthday, doing a fine job as a proud soldier.
"He had a glint in his eye and a wry smile which always made one feel that you were in on the joke. He was professional and capable and was only just getting into his stride as a soldier. Only days before his tragic death he had said how much he was enjoying the job.
"My words will do little to console his mother or fiancée whom he planned to marry on his return from Afghanistan but our prayers are for them. Hammy was a Tankie, through and through; I am proud to have served alongside him and we will never forget him."