Saturday, September 5, 2009
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Private Gavin Elliott of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 3 September 2009.
Private Elliott was operating with The Light Dragoons Battle Group when he died as a result of a gunshot wound sustained whilst on a foot patrol in Babaji district, central Helmand province.
On the day he lost his life, Gavin was in his familiar position as point man on a clearance operation when his call sign came under close quarter attack from insurgents. Gavin was shot and fatally wounded. Despite the best efforts of his platoon to quickly extract him from the scene for subsequent evacuation by helicopter, the injuries were too severe and he passed away en route to hospital.
Private Gavin Elliott
Private Gavin Elliott joined A (Grenadier) Company, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters & Foresters), in October 2007 after attending basic training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. Having been voted 'Soldiers' Soldier' by his peers, he was honoured with a sailing trip around the Canary Islands for this worthy achievement.
Pte Elliott joined the Battalion whilst on Public Duties in Hounslow before moving to Northern Ireland. It was from Belfast that he deployed to Jamaica on Exercise RUM PUNCH where he earned his spurs as a MERCIAN soldier in the testing Jungle environment. After moving to B Company he began build-up training for the Battalion's deployment to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 10, attached to The Light Dragoons Battle Group.
Gavin was known as 'Billy' Elliott to his mates across the battalion with whom he shared many good times. He was renowned for always being the first one on the dance floor and always up for a laugh; but when it came to the business of being a soldier he would always stoically work hard for his comrades. Just as he was known during basic training, he was known in the Battalion for all the traits that distinguish a thoroughly professional soldier.
During their tour of Afghanistan, B Company were instrumental in all major operations, in particular Operation Panther's Claw. Gavin found himself tested by some of the fiercest fighting the British have experienced since deploying to Helmand Province. In every respect this tested the mettle and bravery of everyone involved and Gavin in every respect remained the soldiers' soldier. He regularly insisted on going ‘point man' to act as the eyes and ears of the patrol and always took the lead in the search for Improvised Explosive Devices. More than any other, in spite of the relentless and harsh climatic conditions of the Green Zone, Gavin would lie on his stomach tenaciously carrying out nervous fingertip searches of the dust and dirt uncovering countless number of these malicious explosive devices buried in the ground. His bravery was an inspiration.
Pte Elliott lived by the phrase: "Learn from yesterday; Live for today; Hope for tomorrow."
Born on 30 October 1989, in Woodsetts, Worksop, North Derbyshire, Gavin had a younger brother, Joshua, and older sister, Rebecca. He spoke of his family very fondly and regularly travelled home from Northern Ireland to spend time with them. He leaves behind his mother and father, Jayne and James, as well as brother and sister Joshua and Rebecca.
Private Elliott's family paid the following tribute:
"Gavin was a much loved son, grandson, brother, nephew and friend. For all those who knew Gavin, there will be a void that will never be filled. In our eyes, Gavin was a hero and the best son and soldier we could have ever wished for. Quite simply, Gavin, we love you and we will never forget you."