Monday, January 18, 2010

Corporal Lee Brownson and Rifleman Luke Farmer killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Corporal Lee Brownson and Rifleman Luke Farmer from 3rd Battalion, the Rifles were killed in Afghanistan on 15 January 2010.

The soldiers were killed as a result of an IED explosion while on patrol near Sangin, in Helmand Province.

Corporal Lee Brownson

Corporal Lee Brownson was born in Bishop Auckland on 15 September 1979. He went to King James the First Comprehensive School prior to enlisting in the Army on 30 August 1996.

He attended phase one training at the Army Training Regiment in Winchester before attending the Infantry Training Centre Catterick in November 1996. He completed training and was posted to the Second Battalion, the Light Infantry based at the time in Palace Barracks, Northern Ireland.

During his time in the army Corporal Brownson has served in Sierra Leone, Cyprus, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He completed the Platoon Serjeants Battle Course in Brecon in March 2009 gaining the highest possible grade. Corporal Brownson assumed the role of section commander with 2 Platoon, A Company 3 RIFLES and it was in this role that he deployed on Op HERRICK 11.

He leaves behind his wife Leeanne, two daughters Ginalee and Morgan and his unborn child.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, Commanding Officer 3 RIFLES BG said:

"Corporal Lee Brownson was the very best of Riflemen, brimming with energy, cheer, modesty and resourcefulness. Such was his self confidence and inner strength that nothing was too much trouble for him in understanding and caring for the needs of those around him. Whether for his beloved wife and daughters at home or for his brothers in arms here in Afghanistan, his first priority was to take care of others.

"His loss leaves a gaping hole but we shall close ranks and continue the fight, a fight at the forefront of which he was always to be found. We honour his brave sacrifice, saluting his commitment and example.

"He played a massive part in our work out here, proving himself in combat on countless occasions and giving untold strength to his men through tough times. With spirit and compassion in equally copious measure, he was a beacon of inspiration to us all.

"He was a leader in every sense; commanding the respect not only of those who worked for him, but also of those for whom he worked. Representing the bright future of the army and his loss is a heavy burden to bear.

"There will be no shortage of Riflemen willing to share stories of his life with his children in the years to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We know that they will draw strength, as do we, from the finest of examples he set in life."

Rifleman Luke Farmer

Rifleman Farmer was born in Pontefract, West Yorkshire on 27 July 1990. He went to Minsthorpe Community College before joining the Army in 2008. He attended training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick from October 2008 to April 2009 before joining A Company 3 RIFLES in their pre-deployment training for Op HERRICK 11.

Mark, Luke's father said:

"I was the proudest dad at his passing out parade. I felt 20 feet tall the day Luke received the award for the fittest soldier within his intake. He could have one day gone to the Olympics as a 100m metre sprinter, he was that fast."

Angela, Luke's mother said:

"Luke was a young man who didn't cause us any problems. He was well loved by us and his extended family and friends. He was a good rugby league player who played for Upton Amateur Rugby Football Club. His favourite Rugby League team were The Castleford Tigers. He will be missed by all including the friends and his cousin who he joined up with."

Scott, Luke's eldest brother said:

"He was simply the bestest brother."

Derek, Luke's paternal grandfather said:

"Luke was a brilliant grandson. We'll always remember the times we took him and his brothers on holiday."

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, Commanding Officer 3 RIFLES BG said:

"Rifleman Luke Farmer was everything I could ask a Rifleman to be; fit, robust, capable, determined and loyal. His dedication served as an inspiration to his fellow Riflemen and his selfless commitment was an example to all.

"Rifleman Farmer is a shining example of the young men who are serving in this place for the benefit of all. His sacrifice is as humbling as his commitment is inspiring and we shall take strength from his memory.

"Our pain is no less for him being quite new to our band of brothers; indeed the loss of such blinding potential, and one so young, is a bitter pill to swallow. We lost a top quality young Rifleman, so much so that he had most definitely made his mark during the very full months he had been with us.

"The thoughts and prayers of this whole Battle Group go out to his family at this tragic time. We know that they too will find comfort in all that he had achieved and the great promise which he showed."

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