Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sergeant Stuart Millar and Private Kevin Elliott of 3 SCOTS killed in Afghanistan


It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the death of Sergeant Stuart Millar and Private Kevin Elliott of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The soldiers were killed as a result of an explosion believed to have been caused by a rocket-propelled grenade when they were attacked by insurgents whilst patrolling on foot in Babaji District, Helmand Province on the morning of Monday 31 August 2009.

Sergeant Stuart 'Gus' Millar

Sgt Stuart 'Gus' Millar, aged 40 from Inverness, joined the British Army in November 2000, after service in the Territorial Army.

Following training he joined the Mortar Platoon of 1st Battalion The Royal Highland Fusiliers. He served in Northern Ireland, Falkland Islands, Cyprus and Iraq. He moved to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) as a mortar fire controller in Belfast in July 2007 and deployed to Afghanistan in April 2009.

Sgt Millar's family said:

"Gus always wanted to be a soldier from a very young age. He passionately enjoyed his job and often talked fondly about his colleagues and friends.

"He was very brave and is a credit to both our family and the Army. We are really proud of him as a father, son, brother and soldier."

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, Commanding Officer of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland said:

"I have been fortunate to know Sgt Gus Millar for many years and we have shared many happy moments, not least dragging ourselves over the Aonach Eagach Ridge in Glencoe some eight years ago. He was one of a very select few characters in the Battalion that I could sound out for 'ground truth', due to his friendship, honesty, integrity and humour.

"Sgt Gus Millar was a dedicated and professional Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. A career mortarman, he loved his job and during this tour had been able to put all his experience and years of training to the ultimate test in the most demanding of environments. He was a wonderfully kind and dependable man: the solid rock amongst the shingle. He had a remarkable sense of duty and has been the continuity in the development of the mortar platoon over the years.

"In his role as a mortar fire controller, he was at the very front of the action throughout the summer, famously being caught on the ITN news on the first day of Op Panther's Claw, complaining that a long fire fight with the insurgents had delayed his 'morning brew'. It was typical of the man: in the thick of the action, professional expertise to the fore, combined with his wonderfully positive and humorous style. But he had a bite when required, and the Jocks knew not to cross the line.

"He had a truly wonderful sense of humour and it is this facet of this great man that we will all miss the most.

"He has given his life in the service of his comrades, for the Royal Regiment of Scotland, his country and the people of Afghanistan. We all consider ourselves truly privileged to have known him, to have served with him.

"He was 40 years young and married his wife Jillian last year. They have a very young and beautiful daughter, Grace. He showed a recent picture of them to the Padre, beamed with pride and tucked it into his notebook, minutes before he deployed on this operation. All our deepest thoughts and prayers are with Jillian and Grace as well as Gus' family and friends at this most tragic time.

"Whilst the pain of this loss to them is unimaginable I hope they will draw considerable strength from the fact that we all will cherish some wonderful memories of the humourous rock that Gus was. We will all miss him terribly."

Private Kevin Elliott

Private Kevin Elliott, aged 24 from Dundee, of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, attended Braeview Academy in Dundee where he was a keen boxer and footballer. He joined the Army in 2002.

After basic training he was posted to Bravo Company, later moving to Charlie (Fire Support) Company. He had previously served in Iraq and Northern Ireland.

Pte Elliott's family said:

"Kevin was a loving son, brother, grandson, brother, nephew, uncle and cousin who will be sorely missed by the whole family."

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, Commanding Officer of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland said:

"Pte Elliott was an awesome fighting Jock, who was very much in his comfort zone here on demanding operations in Afghanistan. He lived his life one day at a time and it is fair to say that he did not especially enjoy 'peacetime soldiering' - like many a Jock that has gone before, he was a lovable rogue.

"He was on the verge of leaving the Army earlier this year, but his inclination to be in the thick of the action was too tempting and he caught the last transport to Afghanistan with his mates. He loved operations and he was a big team player.

"It was no surprise to hear that in this tragic incident, he was the first man on the roof in the defensive position, the first to volunteer to protect his colleagues in a dangerous area. That sums up the man; he took life seriously when it was important to do so, and he was a first class field soldier as a result. He would never let his friends down.

"Pte Elliott's loss will be hard to accept by all who knew him well. We will not forget his sacrifice, giving his life protecting his friends, representing his Regiment and his country, and so that the people of Afghanistan might have a better future.

"We offer our deepest thoughts and condolences to his family and friends and that they might gain some strength that he has died in the service of others, doing a professional job that he loved."

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