Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rifleman Carlo Apolis killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Rifleman Carlo Apolis of 4th Battalion The Rifles (4 RIFLES), serving as part of the 3 RIFLES Battle Group, was killed in Afghanistan on 1 March 2010.

Rifleman Apolis was killed by a gunshot wound resulting from small arms fire in Sangin, Helmand province. He was on a foot patrol about 700 metres east of Patrol Base Blenheim, taking part in a wider operation conducted by the 3 RIFLES Battle Group to expand security around the district centre.

Rifleman Carlo Apolis

Rifleman Carlo Apolis was a South African who came to the United Kingdom in 2004. He worked in a hotel in Exeter before joining the Army, a little older than most recruits. Rifleman Apolis initially enlisted in 2007 but left the Army for a short while before re-joining six months later.

After attending the demanding Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, Rifleman Apolis joined 4th Battalion, The Rifles in November 2007. He was posted to A Company, training with them throughout 2008 and then attended Pre-Deployment Training in 2009, prior to deploying on his first Operational tour to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 11.

Nicknamed 'Apollo' by friends within his platoon, Rifleman Apolis was 28 when he died. He leaves behind his mother, father, two sisters and his long-term girlfriend Rebecca.

Rifleman Apolis's girlfriend, Rebecca Williams (from Cardiff), paid the following tribute:

"Most people will have known Carlo as fun loving and highly entertaining, someone who could make you smile and motivate you when you were feeling down. But outside work he also had a much quieter and more reserved side that not many people would have seen, and he liked to keep his personal life private.

"Carlo was my best friend and we shared everything together, I miss him so much and he will always be with me in my thoughts. He will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him."

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Jones, Commanding Officer 4 RIFLES, said:

"Rifleman Carlo Apolis was something of a big brother figure to the younger Riflemen. He was older than most and others naturally looked up to him and sought his guidance. But it was not just his age that stood him apart, but his natural maturity and wisdom. He was generous to his core and was always ready to share his experience and offer a word of guidance to his friends.

"He had fully mastered the soldier's art of lifting morale with an ever ready sceptical comment on the rollercoaster ride of being a Rifleman. He understood the power of a good moan to lift the gloom and was not cowed by anyone in sharing his views on events. He could appear gruff, but his comments never had a side to them and he was nothing if not kind.

"He was very much an individual as well as a keen chess player. This is not normally a hazardous hobby, but earlier in the tour he was injured by a grenade while playing. He recovered from his wounds and returned to the line – a sign of real courage.

"He had travelled a long way from home to be a Rifleman, but remained fiercely proud and loyal of his native South Africa. They, in turn, should be very proud of him for he was a fine ambassador for his nation. His loss is the high price for progress and his brother Riflemen salute him – a courageous young man who has fallen in his prime.

"His family, far from our shores, are very much in our thoughts and prayers. They should take great pride that he fell with his friends at his side and helping to improve the lives of ordinary Afghan people. This is a fine legacy and we will remember him."