Thursday, September 10, 2009
It is with deep sadness that the Ministry of Defence confirms that Corporal John Harrison from The Parachute Regiment was killed in Afghanistan in the early hours of Wednesday 9 September 2009.
Corporal Harrison, aged 29, was part of an operation to free hostages from Taliban captivity. Stephen Farrell, a journalist of dual British/Irish nationality, was freed in the operation, which was supported by the Afghan authorities and our NATO allies. Sadly, it was not possible to rescue Mr Farrell's Afghan interpreter, Sultan Munadi.
The Harrison family made the following tribute:
"We are absolutely heartbroken. John was a wonderful son, brother and a dedicated soldier who was greatly loved and cherished by all his family and friends."
Corporal John Harrison's Commanding Officer said:
"Corporal John Harrison was an immensely capable, self-effacing and highly likeable soldier with an irrepressible humour. His hallmark was an undemonstrative, yet profound, professionalism; he cared deeply about his work, and more deeply still about those he commanded and served alongside. He was an unflinching and inspirational man with a deep, deep pool of courage, who died as he lived, at the forefront of his men.
"He gave his life for his comrades and The Parachute Regiment, both of which meant so much to him. Although his passing is a sad day for us, every member of the Unit counts themselves privileged to have known such a tower of strength and we all are deeply honoured to have served alongside him.
"Our thoughts and prayers now turn to his family and friends at this most difficult time. We hope that in the midst of their profound loss, they can draw strength from the fond memories that we all share of this remarkable man."
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said:
"Corporal John Harrison put his life on the line to rescue others. He made the ultimate sacrifice and acted heroically in the face of great danger, in the best tradition of the British Armed Forces and in full knowledge of the risks he faced. My thoughts are with his family, friends and comrades at this difficult time."