Friday, February 26, 2010

Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate from II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 24 February 2010.

Senior Aircraftman Southgate was part of the Kandahar Airfield Force Protection Wing and was conducting a patrol to protect Kandahar Airfield, and all who operate within it, from the ever-present threat of rocket attacks when he was killed by an improvised explosive device whilst driving his WMIK Land Rover.

Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate

Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Luke Southgate was born in Bury St Edmunds on 10 March 1989 and was soon to celebrate his twenty-first birthday on operations in Afghanistan.

He joined the RAF on 10 August 2008 as a Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment and quickly proved his potential during basic training at Royal Air Force Honington.

He was identified early as one to watch owing to his natural soldiering ability and leadership potential that earned him the Frank Sylvester Trophy for Top Student on his Trainee Gunners Course.

On completing training he applied for parachute duties and was subsequently selected to serve with Number II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment where he promptly qualified as a Direct Fire Weapons Specialist on Machine Gun Flight. He was attached to D Flight for his tour of duty in Afghanistan and deployed in January 2010.

SAC Southgate was immensely proud to be a member of the Royal Air Force Regiment and even more so to be a machine gun specialist. A reserved character, he was an extremely fit and strong gunner who was described as 'happy, compassionate and fiercely loyal to his friends, who consider themselves lucky to have known him.' He used his strengths for the good of the team in the selfless style in which he led his life.SAC Southgate intended to remain with II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment for another two years before volunteering for a new challenge with UK Special Forces. However, his more immediate priority was to move in with his beloved girlfriend Caley of whom he openly spoke with loving affection.

The heart-felt thoughts and prayers of his squadron and regiment are with SAC Southgate's loved ones, particularly his parents and his girlfriend Caley whose tragic loss is shared far and wide by his fellow brothers in arms. The RAF Regiment has lost a friend and an exceptional gunner who had a glittering future ahead of him. SAC Southgate will always be remembered with fondness and admiration.


Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate's family paid the following tribute:

"We cannot find the words to describe the tragic loss of our dear son Luke. He was the best son, brother and boyfriend any of us could ever have wished for. He died doing the job he loved and always wanted to do. He will be in our hearts always and our thoughts forever."


  1. RIP.

    Why was Senior Aircraftman Southgate driving a WMIK Land Rover ?
    Readily available information suggests "The Land Rover WMIK is lightly armoured and several have been shot up and disabled by small arms fire in operations in Afghanistan. They also provide little to no protection against IEDs."
    Can the MoD explain why a more suitable armoured vehicle was not used ?

  2. This is just so heart wrenching,.. My Heart,, thoughts and prayers to his family. His sacerfice will never be forgotten and he will be forever Appreciated for all he did.