Operations in Afghanistan

Corporal William Savage, Fusilier Samuel Flint and Private Robert Hetherington killed in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Corporal William Savage and Fusilier Samuel Flint, both from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and Private Robert Hetherington, from 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, died of injuries sustained in Afghanistan on Tuesday 30 April 2013.

The soldiers were part of a patrol travelling along Route 611 between Forward Operating Base Ouellette and Patrol Base Lashkar Gah Durai in the Nahr-e Saraj district when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. They were evacuated by air to the military hospital at Camp Bastion, where it was confirmed that they had been killed in action.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

I was deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of these soldiers, each highly praised and respected by their colleagues and commanders. It is clear from the tributes paid to them that they were exceptional men who served their country with distinction. My thoughts go out to the families and friends of these brave men at this very difficult time.

Brigadier Rupert Jones, Commander of Task Force Helmand, said:

The loss of these 3 brave Scottish soldiers comes as a great blow to everyone in the Task Force, but leaves us all the more determined in our task to do justice to their memory. Their families are in our thoughts and I hope that they can draw a little comfort from the affection in which Corporal Savage, Fusilier Flint and Private Hetherington were held by their brothers-in-arms and from the courage they displayed.

Corporal William Thomas Savage, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS)

Corporal William Savage

Born in Irvine on 27 January 1983, Corporal Savage enlisted into the British Army in April 2003. After completing recruit training he joined 1st Battalion The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret’s Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment) in November 2003.

He deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic in 2004 and completed 2 previous deployments to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 8 in 2008 and Operation Herrick 13 in 2010 with 2 SCOTS. He excelled on the Section Commanders’ Battle Course on 17 June 2011 and was promoted to full Corporal shortly afterwards. Prior to his appointment as a Section Commander in a Rifle Company he had been a member of the Regimental Police.

Corporal Savage deployed to Afghanistan on 11 March 2013. He commanded 3 Section of 1 Platoon in a District Enabling Company composed of Bravo Company Group, 2 SCOTS, part of the First Fusiliers Battle Group. He was based in Forward Operating Base Ouellette in the northern area of Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.

Corporal Savage was a keen sportsman who enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities. He was enthusiastic about skiing and was a talented kayak instructor.

Corporal Savage was a shining example of a Scottish infantry soldier and was a rising star in the battalion with an extremely bright future ahead of him. He will be sorely missed by the entire battalion and will always be remembered. He leaves behind his wife, Lyndsey, who is expecting their first child.

Corporal Savage’s wife has made the following statement:

I am completely devastated by this news but extremely proud of ‘Sav’ and everything that he has achieved. He loved being a soldier!

I have lost the love of my life and the father of our son. I know his life will live on through so many amazing memories that we shared together. He will be deeply missed amongst family, friends and the regiment.

Lieutenant Colonel Robin Lindsay, Commanding Officer, 2 SCOTS, said:

We will remember Corporal William Savage as an exceptional soldier, a dedicated leader and a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He was a classic example of a Scottish infantryman: robust, committed and blessed with a fine line in banter. He had made the battalion proud with his excellent recent performance on the Section Commanders’ Battle Course at the Infantry Battle School and he was rightly proud of his well-earned reputation as a tough combat soldier. He had proven his credentials on 2 previous tours of Afghanistan and we considered him a leading light amongst the corporals in the battalion and regiment.

Corporal Savage’s composed and professional approach had a calming influence on his platoon and he was seemingly unaffected by the dangers he faced daily in Afghanistan. He was unflappable and this example inspired his fellow soldiers. In a similar manner his bright personality lifted the spirits of those around him, particularly during difficult times.

Corporal Savage also played a full and vibrant part in wider battalion life; whether it was growing an extravagant moustache for charity or organising social events in the Corporals’ Mess, he was always at the forefront of the fun. He was very popular with us all, but particularly with our junior soldiers because of the compassion and understanding he showed them.

The loss of Corporal Savage has been a hammer blow to the battalion and the regimental family. We are all immensely proud to have known him and we will miss him dearly. He will always be remembered as a brilliant soldier and a remarkable man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lyndsey and his family at this tragic time.

Lieutenant Colonel Jon Swift, Commanding Officer, First Fusiliers Battle Group, Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj, said:

The loss of Corporal William Savage will be keenly felt by all in the First Fusiliers Battle Group. He arrived in Afghanistan only 7 weeks ago but he had already made a tangible difference to the combat effectiveness of his section. He was an outstanding leader who took pride in inspiring his men to follow his lead; he demonstrated compassion and courage in equal measure.

Corporal Savage’s sacrifice has deepened our admiration for the courage of those who so willingly risk their lives in order that others may hope to live in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times.

Major Stephen Dallard, Officer Commanding B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

Corporal William Savage joined B Company in January 2013 after the company was reroled to take over Forward Operating Base Ouellette. He made an immediate impression on me; relaxed in character and yet utterly professional.

Deploying on Operation Herrick 18 with a section consisting of many new Fusiliers, he led by example and managed his section with warmth and compassion; it was clear from the start that Corporal Savage was hugely popular with the men he commanded. Since arriving in Ouellette he has been a pillar of strength to his section, leading and guiding them through the initial difficult few weeks of deployment.

During the company’s final training in Camp Bastion I was able to see much more of Corporal Savage than I had managed in pre-deployment training. It was evident he was immensely respected by his peers, with most looking up to him and seeking his advice and guidance. It has been a real privilege to have commanded a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer of such quality, a man finessed with a genuine and sincere character.

Despite only serving in B Company for 4 months, he had integrated fully and become part of the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) fabric that underpins the company. His loss is deeply felt by all and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, in particular his wife Lyndsey, at such a devastating time.

Lieutenant Robin Hold, 1 Platoon Commander, B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

Corporal Savage was a charismatic and enthusiastic individual. He possessed the ability to inspire those under his command due to his competence and professionalism as a soldier and through his confident personality. He was always thoughtful and caring, putting the needs of the platoon before his own.

I have worked with Corporal Savage for 6 months and during that time his diligence and ability impressed me on every level. He had so much potential to succeed in his career and I have no doubt that he would have excelled on any path he wished to take. Words cannot describe the impact that his loss will have on the platoon.

He will not only be missed as an excellent soldier but also as a well-rounded and amicable character. My condolences go out to his wife and family at this emotional and difficult time.

Warrant Officer Class One Billy Garrick, Regimental Sergeant Major, 2 SCOTS, said:

Corporal William (Sav) Savage will be remembered as a true Jock, never stuck for words and quick to reply with humorous banter. His manner was such that warming to his wide smile and endless enthusiasm was easy to do regardless of rank. My first impressions were of a man with so much to give and the bright future ahead of him was evident from the first day I met him.

He was that true Scottish soldier, never phased by the challenges that were brought upon him and quick to help others when required. A truly talented Junior NCO who led by example in all that he did; excelling at every opportunity both in the barracks and on operations. He was a true friend to those who served alongside him.

There will be a gap, not only in the Corporals’ Mess, but battalion-wide. My thoughts are with his wife, Lyndsey, the future of his child, and his family and friends at this time.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Stevie Main, Company Sergeant Major, B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

Corporal Savage was an outstanding soldier, professional throughout, and set the high calibre of Junior Non-Commissioned Officers within B Company. A true friend to all ranks within our company and across the whole battalion. My thoughts are with his wife Lyndsey and their families. You will always be in my prayers mate.

Sergeant Saisi Vono, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

Sav was a good friend and comrade within the B Company Group. I have known him for years; he was a good humble person and very well respected by his peers. My friend, may your soul rest in peace and my heart goes out to your family mucker. May God bless your soul.

Corporal Connor Grant, 2 Section Commander, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

A true professional and a true friend. I am proud to have known him; he was taken far too soon.

Corporal Mark McLaren, 1 Section Commander, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

A kind, considerate and professional soldier, I feel proud and privileged to have served with him for so many years. He will be truly missed.

Lance Corporal Andy Dunsmore, Second-in-Command, 1 Section, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

It was a pleasure and honour having Sav as a friend and part of 1 Platoon. He was a true friend that you could rely on for any help or advice. Gonzo will be sadly missed but never forgotten.

Fusilier James O’Brien, Rifleman, 2 Platoon, B Company, 2 SCOTS, said:

Mrs Savage, it hurts me so much to write this to you on this day. I can’t begin to think how you feel right now. On 20 April, myself and William got tasked to help some contractors make the area safe. It was just me and William most days and each night for a week. We talked and laughed about so much.

He had some amazing advice which helped me so much and made me a better person and I will always be grateful for the time we spent together out in the desert, in camp or on courses. I will never forget him or the time we had together; he was the perfect man. I am so sorry for his wife Lyndsey, the baby and the family. I will never forget him.

Fusilier Samuel Flint, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

Fusilier Samuel Flint

Fusilier Flint was born in Blackpool on 19 May 1991 and joined the British Army in November 2011. Following his recruit training he joined 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland in June 2012 as they began their Mission Specific Training for their deployment to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 18. He approached this training in a hugely enthusiastic and motivated manner. He was an extremely fit soldier who, although quiet, was full of humour and popular with his peers.

Fusilier Flint deployed to Afghanistan on 9 March 2013. He was a member of 3 Section, 1 Platoon in a District Enabling Company composed of Bravo Company Group, 2 SCOTS , part of the First Fusiliers Battlegroup. He was based in Forward Operating Base Ouellette in the Northern Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Fusilier Flint was a motorsports enthusiast and an avid Manchester City fan. He was dedicated to his family and spent his spare time at home in Blackpool or socialising with friends in Edinburgh.

Fusilier Flint was a vastly impressive infantry soldier and it was clear that he had an extremely promising future ahead of him. His loss has been felt deeply by all who knew and worked with him and he will live forever in their memories.

The Flint-Broughton family have made the following statement:

The whole family is completely devastated. Everyone should know that Sam loved his job and made his whole family and everyone that knew him very proud.

Sam was always the life and soul of the party, a real ladies man, witty funny, the real cheeky chappy. He was a loving son, the protective brother, courageous nephew, the caring uncle, the loyal grandson that anyone would wish to have.

We want to thank everyone for the kind tributes and strong support.

“Always in our hearts and minds, we love you Sam.”

Lieutenant Colonel Robin Lindsay, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Fusilier Samuel Flint arrived at the Battalion at the very beginning of Mission Specific Training in June 2012 and made an immediate impression as a fit, enthusiastic, motivated and capable soldier who was quick with a smile and a laugh. Despite his young age and relative inexperience it was clear to us all that he was a soldier brimming with skill and ability. He excelled during the many exercises that his Platoon took part in during the build-up to operations and had been identified as a potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer following the tour of Afghanistan.

Perhaps more importantly, he was quick to form deep friendships with his fellow Jocks and he was always one to help others around him and to give of himself for the benefit of his Section and Platoon. Fusilier Flint was not only committed in military life but revelled in outdoor pursuits and activities such as climbing and mountain biking. He approached everything he did with total motivation and it was clear that his ability matched his ambition. A bright future lay ahead for Fusilier Flint and it is cruel to see that future taken away from him.

We have all been immensely proud to have known and worked with Fusilier Sam Flint and he will forever be in the memory of the Battalion and of the Regiment. We bid him farewell and promise to continue his work in Afghanistan and to commemorate his sacrifice. All of us in the Battalion offer our deepest condolences to Fusilier Sam Flint’s parents, brothers, sisters and wider family during this hard and tragic period, but in particular to his brother David who serves with us in the Battalion.

Lieutenant Colonel Jon Swift, Commanding Officer, First Fusiliers, Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj, said:

The loss of Fusilier Samuel Flint will be keenly felt by all in the First Fusiliers Battlegroup. Despite being a young, operationally inexperienced Fusilier on his first tour of Afghanistan, he had settled quickly into life on the frontline. He was a real character and a professional soldier with a bright future. Fusilier Flint’s sacrifice is a stark reminder that we should be so very proud of those who risk their lives so willingly in the pursuit of peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times.

Major Stephen Dallard, Officer Commanding B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Fusilier Sam Flint joined B Company in January 2013 and during the final stages of pre-deployment training, Fusilier Flint made a real impression on his new Platoon. Despite having only joined 2 SCOTS in June 2012 he demonstrated a real aptitude for soldiering, a trait continued into his deployment on Op Herrick 18.

A gregarious character, Fusilier Flint was often found to be the centre of any prank and had the ability to make people laugh at any time with his keen sense of humour. Genuine and loyal he was the epitome of the selfless commitment and dedication that is expected of our young soldiers today. A true friend to those serving with him, Fusilier Flint will be sorely missed by B Company. His loss is deeply felt by all of us and our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.

Captain Euan Eltringham, Officer Commanding Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

I had the pleasure of taking Fusilier Flint through his basic training at Infantry Training Centre Catterick. Very quickly after starting he stood out amongst his peers - bright, enthusiastic, fit and with a keen sense of humour. It is no exaggeration to say he was an utter joy to train and work with as he displayed a real aptitude for soldiering.

There will be many others who will be able to comment upon this aptitude, but what I found most endearing and what I want to bring out was that he was that wonderful phenomenon of a genuine, honest young man. He never had a bad word to say about anyone and upon his face would always be a beaming smile accompanied with a cheerful ‘Good Morning Sir’ whenever I ran into him. His loss will be keenly felt by the Battalion and I will miss watching him develop from the young man I met in Catterick. My thoughts go out to his family at this most difficult time.

Lieutenant Robin Hold, 1 Platoon Commander, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Fusilier Sam Flint was one of the most genuine individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. There was not a single instance when I saw him other than when he was full of laughter and happiness. His personality was contagious, affecting all members of the Platoon. Although he had only been in 2 SCOTS for a short time, he had made a huge impact with his peers and his chain of command.

He intended to make a career in the Army and I have no doubt that his acute sense of judgement, determination and willingness to involve himself in every aspect of Army life would have ensured the greatest of successes. I speak for the whole Platoon when I say his loss will have an immeasurable impact. His ability and personality will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends who are suffering from such a tragic loss.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Stevie Main, Company Sergeant Major, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Fusilier Flint was a Jock that you could always trust. He was very keen to learn, hard-working and always offered to help others. He had a can do attitude and he would never let you down. Sam Flint epitomised everything that being a Fusilier in the Royal Regiment of Scotland is all about.

Lance Corporal Clinton Prime, Second in Command, 3 Section, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Today is a very sad and heartsore day for anyone who knew Sam Flint. He was a great soldier and a great friend. He was always kind and polite and it was an honour to have him in my Section. He will be sadly missed; my regards go to his family.

Lance Corporal Stewart Lyons, Fire Support Group, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

You brought a smile to my face no matter how bad a day I had and drove me nuts fixing that car. Our banter with David and Bez can never be repeated. You made us all proud. It has been an honour working alongside you and calling you my friend. You will be forever missed.

Fusilier Kieran Campbell, Rifleman, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Sam was fun to be around, I always gave him stick for being English and joining a Scottish regiment but it never bothered him. Sam used to spend most weekends in camp as travelling home was a bit of a graft for him, I stayed some weekends to keep him company and we had a few good nights in Edinburgh.

Sam was a great friend and soldier. We both joined the Army at the same time and passed out from Infantry Training Centre Catterick on 25 May 2012. We joined the same battalion and we both found ourselves in A Company. We were lucky enough to be chosen to go to Afghanistan and even luckier to be in the same platoon and section. It is mad to think we came from Catterick to Afghanistan; I’m just sorry we can’t finish our tour together.

Flint was well-liked in our Platoon, 1 Platoon, B Company. We came to the Platoon with a new bunch of lads from another company and within the two months here we had clicked. Sam was morale for the Platoon, daft at times but always happy unless you threw anything with more than two legs in his bedspace. I can’t express in words how much I’ll miss him and how much of a loss he is for the Platoon, the Company and 2 SCOTS as a whole. We have lost a great soldier and a great friend. Rest in peace, buddy.

Fusilier Ross Fletcher, Rifleman, 3 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Today myself and the rest of 2 SCOTS lost a valued member of the team. Flint was a brilliant soldier and an even better mate. After being with him through training at Infantry Training Centre Catterick and onwards to A Company in the 2nd Battalion, I knew Flint’s funny and friendly nature. He has been side by side with me and Fusilier Campbell and we have had some great laughs, whether it’s dancing about doing block jobs at Catterick or having to drive seven hours to Blackpool one night because he forgot his Service Dress.

He has been a trustworthy and close friend for two years and words can’t describe our feelings. It is as if it hasn’t happened and we’re expecting to see him tomorrow saying, ‘Ay up Treacle’. Me and the rest of the boys send our greatest sympathies to Sam’s parents and his brother David but I know that he passed away doing a job he truly enjoyed. He buzzed for this job so that gives me some peace of mind.

Fusilier Robert McSkimming, Rifleman, 1 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

Today I lost a good friend. There was never a dull moment living and working with Sam, he was always smiling and laughing and making everyone do the same.

The eulogy for Private Robert Hetherington has been withdrawn at the request of his family

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