Tuesday, January 5, 2010
It is with great regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Private Robert Hayes of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment who was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 3 January 2010.
Private Robert Hayes was killed as a result of an improvised explosive device blast while conducting a security patrol south of Check Point Paraang in southern Nad e-Ali, Helmand province. He had deployed to Afghanistan with C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (Vikings), attached to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards Battle Group.
Private Hayes was employed as a Rifleman within 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company. He was responsible for providing assistance and security to the local population which included conducting patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in one of Helmand province's most challenging and dangerous areas.
Private Robert Hayes, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
Private Hayes was born in Cambridge on 9 May 1990, and grew up there. He completed his training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick on 2 February 2009, aged 18, and joined the 'Vikings' shortly afterwards. Before deploying to Afghanistan, Private Hayes completed a number of demanding exercises in the United Kingdom and convincingly won his weight category during the battalion's 2009 Inter-Company Boxing Championships.
In a very short period of time Private Hayes proved himself to be a hugely professional and talented soldier. He was courageous, thoughtful and well liked by all those that served alongside him. Without doubt he had the personal attributes and raw potential to have a full and successful career in the Army.
In a statement the family of Private Hayes said:
"Trying to express the true measure of our sorrow - and our sense of loss - at this time, is impossible. We are still coming to terms with this devastating news. However, we are strengthened by the thought that he was with his comrades, doing the job he so dearly loved, when his life was taken.
"From childhood, Robbie had one ambition, to be a soldier. He fulfilled his dream last February, passing out from training at Catterick where he was described as a man of great determination and a credit to his platoon.
"Sport, particularly rugby and boxing, became his passion. He was a very popular young player for Newmarket Rugby Club, and won his battalion's Boxing Championships at welterweight in his first attempt. Robbie loved all aspects of life in his home village, Burwell, in Cambridgeshire. Among his peers he enjoyed great popularity but found particular happiness with his girlfriend, Gemma.
"After training for Afghanistan he deployed to Helmand province last October. There his potential for promotion became noticeable. Robbie sincerely believed his fellow 'Vikings' were his 'other', military, family. Although he had an enthusiastic and energetic personality, our son could just as easily behave with the manners of a gentle, reflective, caring person.
"As a grieving family, we would ask that our privacy be respected. We also ask that our brave son's memory be duly honoured."