Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal Michael David Pritchard of the 4th Regiment, Royal Military Police, was killed in Afghanistan on 20 December 2009.
He was killed as a result of small arms fire in the Sangin area, in central Helmand Province.
The possibility that he died as a result of friendly fire is being investigated in Afghanistan but no firm conclusion will be reached until the coroner's inquest.
Lance Corporal Michael Pritchard
Lance Corporal Michael David Pritchard, 22, was born in Maidstone, Kent on January 11 1987, but lived in Eastbourne, East Sussex, from the age of one and went to school there.
After leaving school and college, he enlisted into the Adjutant General's Corps (Royal Military Police) in July 2007 and on completion of Phase 1 and 2 Training was posted to 160 Provost Company, 4th Regiment Royal Military Police, in Aldershot as a General Police Duties Junior Non-Commissioned Officer.
Shortly after this, he deployed to Kenya as part of the training for Op HERRICK 11. He arrived in Afghanistan in October attached to 4th Battalion The Rifles.
His comrades said Mike "Pritch" Pritchard loved to laugh and joke and this is how he should always be remembered.
LCpl Pritchard's family paid the following tribute:
"With great sadness we say goodbye to our beloved son, a lover of life who has lived life to the full and has brought great joy to all those who are lucky enough to know him.
"A light that shines brightly, our precious son, brother, grandson, boyfriend and special friend to all, we are very proud of you in all that you have done and achieved and you will always be in our hearts now and evermore. God bless our darling boy from all of your family and friends."
Lieutenant Colonel Debbie Poneskis, Commanding Officer, 4th Regiment, Royal Military Police said:
"Lance Corporal Pritchard had only been in the Royal Military Police since July 2007 but he very quickly made a huge impact on all of us. It is tragic that we have been robbed of such a promising Junior Non-Commissioned Officer and one who was everything you would want in a Military Policeman.
"He was a professional and robust soldier and one who was both physically and morally courageous. He was absolutely committed to providing policing advice where it mattered most, alongside his Infantry colleagues on patrol and as part of the team.
"A cheeky chap, whose laughter was infectious, and whose sincerity and generous spirit touched the lives of many, Lance Corporal Pritchard made us smile every day and we will miss him very much.
"He was never afraid to speak his mind, even if that sometimes got him into trouble, but he was one of those soldiers you could never really be cross with for long; he had the broadest smile and the most wonderful personality.
"I can't begin to imagine the pain felt by his parents and sisters, and his wider family and close friends. My thoughts and prayers are with them now, throughout this Christmas period and then as they come to terms with their loss. I do know that they should be extremely proud of their son and brother; he was a very special young man, strong, courageous and a real team player.
"I also know that Lance Corporal Pritchard's death has hit us as a Regiment very hard, at a time when we thought we had already suffered unbearable pain and grief.
"We will continue with our mission here with resolute determination and grit, not just because that is what Lance Corporal Pritchard would do but also because we do not give up and we are making a difference."