Operations in Afghanistan

Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton, Lance Corporal David Ramsden, Private Alex Isaac and Private Douglas Halliday killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Colour Sergeant Martyn Simon Horton, Lance Corporal David Andrew Ramsden, Private Douglas Niall Halliday and Private Alex Isaac were killed in a vehicle incident near Gereshk, Helmand province, on Wednesday 23 June 2010.

CSgt Martyn Horton (top left), LCpl David Ramsden (top right), Private Douglas Halliday (bottom left) and Private Alex Isaac (bottom right) (All rights reserved.)
Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton (top left), Lance Corporal David Ramsden (top right), Private Douglas Halliday (bottom left) and Private Alex Isaac (bottom right) (All rights reserved.)

The soldiers, from 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), were members of a police advisory team travelling as part of a two-vehicle convoy on their way to attend an incident at a nearby checkpoint when their vehicle rolled into a waterway.

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:

I was greatly saddened to learn of the loss of these four soldiers. Their work with the Police Development Advisory and Training Team, bringing on the Afghan police force, is pivotal to the success of our operations in Afghanistan.

My sincere condolences go to the family and loved ones of Colour Sergeant Martyn Simon Horton, Lance Corporal David Andrew Ramsden, Private Douglas Niall Halliday and Private Alex Isaac.

These brave men, committed to protecting the security of our country, will not be forgotten.

Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton (All rights reserved.)
Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton (All rights reserved.)

Colour Sergeant Martyn Simon Horton

Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton was 34 years old and from Runcorn. He enlisted into the Army in 1992 and joined 1st Battalion The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment.

He has served in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Belize and Kenya, and on operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. Promoted to Colour Sergeant in June 2009 he assumed the role of Reconnaissance Platoon Second-in-Command.

Moving from Support Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), he served with B (Malta) Company during the preparations for, and initial deployment on, Operation HERRICK 12 in Afghanistan.

He was then selected to command a team to train, advise and mentor the Afghan National Police in Gereshk, Helmand province, in order to further develop their capabilities and promote security and the rule of law.

On 23 June 2010, following an attack on a police checkpoint near Gereshk, Colour Sergeant Horton’s team, along with the Afghan National Police, deployed as a Quick Reaction Force to provide support.

The vehicle in which he was travelling overturned into the Nahr-e Bughra canal and, at approximately 2208hrs local time, Colour Sergeant Horton died in the incident alongside three of his colleagues from the Police Advisory Team - Lance Corporal David Ramsden, Private Douglas Halliday and Private Alex Isaac.

Colour Sergeant Horton’s sister Caroline has made the following statement:

Martyn lived for three things - family, Army and Liverpool. He loved fighting for his friends and family. He was a loving dad, brother and son; he touched everyone he met. We will miss his cheeky grin. He will be fondly missed by everyone he knew and sadly died doing the job he loved. Once met, never forgotten.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Colour Sergeant Horton was one of our very best. He followed his stepfather into the 1st Battalion The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment and then post-merger served with the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire).

During his career he had served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as completing exercises in Canada, America, Belize, Jordan and Kenya.

”> As Second-in-Command of my Reconnaissance Platoon he was of course a highly professional field soldier, and he revelled in getting down and dirty and taking the fight to anyone who stood in the way of him or his men.

But he was a friendly and amusing man, always looking for the fun in life, and that he enjoyed his soldiering so much meant that he was rarely without a smile, even under a helmet and with a rifle in his hands.

On the night he died he was heading towards a police checkpoint that was under attack from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades; Colour Sergeant Horton and his team had had to do this a number of times in the previous days and they had developed a bond of trust with the men there.

He and his men had become known as the guardians of the Gereshk City Police, with the insurgents retreating every time they arrived.

The loyalty that he engendered in people was inspiring, and these Afghan policemen were no different. Colour Sergeant Horton died as he lived, with his fellow soldiers, and selflessly and courageously defending those who placed their trust in him.

He leaves a hole in the battalion that will be very difficult to fill, but I cannot imagine the loss that his nine-year-old son Ethan, his 17-year-old stepdaughter Bethany and girlfriend Gemma will feel, along with the other members of his family and his many military and civilian friends.

Like a true Mercian Warrior he willingly took his place in the shield wall and stood firm to protect his fellows, striking hard whenever the enemy threatened. Our thoughts are with his son and his family at this very difficult time.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Darren Williams, Regimental Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Colour Sergeant ‘Bobby’ Horton was one of our most professional field soldiers but was never truly comfortable in camp where he was known for being a ‘camp tramp’.

He was the epitome of a reconnaissance soldier; extremely fit, robust, selfless, courageous, audacious and fiercely loyal with a leadership style that would inspire trust and courage in all around him to ‘Stand firm and Strike hard’.

Bobby was a party animal and was always at the centre of a wind-up or being the butt of the joke himself; he always did or accepted this with a big smile on his face and it is this that will be missed in the mess.

We have lost one of our true characters and professional soldiers, a great friend and colleague to all, who will be sadly missed. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.

Major Paul Dupuy, Officer Commanding Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said:

Colour Sergeant Horton, known as ‘Bobby’, was an exceptional soldier, truly dedicated and professional.

He was brave, completely committed to his men, and utterly selfless. He was always calm under pressure and his confidence brought reassurance to all around him whatever the situation. His sense of humour and grin never failed to lift our spirits even in adversity.

I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to serve with him - I could not have asked for more. His loss will be felt by us all. My sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go to his family at this most difficult of times.

Major Robin Barnbrook, Officer Commanding Support Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Colour Sergeant Bobby Horton was a true soldier, a valued friend and comrade-in-arms. An extremely fit and highly professional field soldier, Bobby was not happy unless he was in the thick of the action.

Rumour had it that he was frustrated when he first came to Afghanistan because he thought his role would be dull; that soon changed as he led his men from the front through countless incidents in Gereshk in support of the Afghan National Police.

He worked hard and played hard; in fact he played extremely hard and was known and loved for being a bit of a ‘social hand grenade’. But that was Bobby all over, a larger than life personality who was the life and soul of the party. He will leave a gap in the lives of those who had the privilege to know him.

Bobby often talked of his own mortality; the only solace that I can draw from this tragedy is that he died doing the job he loved amongst the many friends that he held so dear. My thoughts, and the thoughts of his comrades in Support Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), are with his family at the saddest of times.

Captain Ben Stephens, Intelligence Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Colour Sergeant Horton has left a void in the battalion that will be difficult to fill. He was the absolute epitome of a Cheshire and Mercian soldier.

Always involved in high jinx, he naturally became the core element of whichever group he was in. More than anything he was an extraordinary field soldier who inspired all around him, irrespective of task or hardship. In fact, Colour Sergeant Horton positively thrived in austere conditions, seemingly getting stronger as the surroundings got worse.

I had a natural affinity with ‘Bobby’ (a name bestowed upon him because of his father who also served with the regiment) and his propensity to find trouble. His unremitting love for his soldiers and deepest desire to provide for his family were traits which I truly admired.

I can honestly say those experiences I shared with Colour Sergeant ‘Bobby’ Horton in life and in death will stay with me forever. My deepest sympathies go to his family and many close friends for the sorrow they now face. Bobby, you were and always will remain in my memory as Ever Glorious.

Captain Grant Brown, Officer Commanding Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

I first met Colour Sergeant Horton a few years ago and soon realised what a character within the battalion he was. His sense of humour was legendary and he was the sort of person who was able to cause mischief whilst remaining completely professional.

It was not until we began working together that I realised how kind-hearted and caring he was. The welfare of the men he commanded was always his top priority and he was hugely respected as a result.

Through troubled times I relied on him more than he realised. I am eternally grateful for the assistance he gave me professionally, but, more importantly, I value the friendship we shared.

Martyn was a talented soldier with a huge amount of experience and his passing has left a hole in the lives of all those he came into contact with.

As the Second-in-Command of the Reconnaissance Platoon, he shared a close relationship with his soldiers and with me as his commander. It was an honour and a privilege to serve alongside him and he will be sorely missed by us all.

Captain Julian Clayton, Support Company Second-in-Command, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

I have known Bobby since he joined the regiment as a young tom, and I knew his father who served in the regiment before him.

I first noticed Bobby when I was Company Quartermaster Sergeant of A Company and he was sent to me as a very reluctant arms storeman. He hated every minute of it because to him it wasn’t front line and he wanted to be out there with the blokes. Me and Scooby Doolan used to rip him because his writing was shocking; happier days looking back.

Both of us have moved on since then, and it was to my great satisfaction that I found him as the Reconnaissance Platoon Second-in-Command when I took over as Support Company Second-in-Command.

Reconnaissance is a job which always suited him. Small teams, maximum responsibility, reduced supervision, and the chance to do things your own way - that was Bobby’s style. He was happier in the field than in camp, a true recce soldier with an astute tactical brain.

He was also without doubt one of the fittest soldiers I knew, able to tab with extreme weight despite his size, and also run with the very best in the regiment - he had it all. To lose anyone is terrible, but when you start losing people like Colour Sergeant Horton, there just aren’t the words.

He had such a bright future ahead of him. My thoughts and sympathies go out to his family and friends back home; he will be remembered and acutely missed by us all. God Bless. Sleep well Colour.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Matt Henry, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

I have known Bobby since he joined the battalion, more so when I joined A Company in 2000 and we were in the same platoon.

I will always remember Bobby as the life and soul of the party. He was a massive character in the mess and a night in the bar was not the same without him.

I will remember you as a man who always had a smile on his face, who loved to have a laugh and loved the banter. You will be really missed and my thoughts are with your family.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Anthony Higginbottom, Company Sergeant Major, B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

What can I say about Colour Sergeant Martyn ‘Bobby’ Horton. He had three loves in his life - his kids, Liverpool FC, and living in bushes. Bobby was a true professional infantry soldier. He loved his job and always wanted to be in the best platoon. Bobby was like a wildcat, he loved living in bushes.

He was a Team Commander in Close Observation Platoon for two years and then became Platoon Sergeant and Second-in-Command of the Reconnaisance Platoon. He was not one for the parade square but put him in a bush and he would be in his playground. Bobby, you will always be admired for your courage, robustness and professionalism.

I will always remember you and recon will not be the same without you. The Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess will be a very quiet place without you propping up the bar. You will live on in our memory, but for now, you rest mate.

Colour Sergeant Neil Vickery, Second-in-Command Fire Support Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

I’ve known Bobby since I first joined the battalion in 1994. Right from the start, he was and always will be a constant source of inspiration to me. An ‘A1’ soldier, second-to-none.

Sergeant Scott Jessop, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

I’ve known Bobby well for about 10 years. When I first met him he gave the impression of a ‘jack the lad’, and that was one of his many qualities.

He always wanted to joke around and he made other people laugh; a morale-booster who was good to be around. I had the pleasure of working alongside Bobby in Ballykinler, Northern Ireland, and he was one of those characters who was well motivated and professional.

He was never the best turned out but that was part of his overall persona. What he lacked in dress sense, he made up for in professionalism. If I was half as good as Bobby, I would be happy.

Even though I was older than him, I looked up to him as an exceptional leader who will be sorely missed. You will never be forgotten, and you will always be in my thoughts.

Sergeant Richard Kershaw, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

I first met Bobby when I joined the battalion in 2001. He was a Lance Corporal at the time and straight away Bobby was someone I looked up to and still do to this day.

He was a great friend and someone you could always talk to, whatever the problem. I will miss him very much and I will never forget him; a true friend.

My heart goes out to his family, especially his children Ethan and Bethany. I hope in time they all get over this tragic loss. I will miss you Bobby.

Sergeant Mark Lomas, Sniper Platoon, Fire Support Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

When I first heard of your loss, my heart sank low. You were always having a laugh and were always game for anything. You were a true battalion character who everyone got to know and love.

The banter with you was second-to-none and you were always there to cheer lads up who were down. You were a proud father and you loved your white van too. I will miss you. Rest in peace friend, always in my heart.

Sergeant Andy Hawkins, Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Bobby Horton was an honest man who would tell anyone how it really was. If he had something to say then he would just say it. Bobby, I have known you for many years and you have been like a big brother to me as of late.

You always stayed focused when times were hard and always made me laugh when the chips were down. Now, unfortunately, you cannot do that anymore, but don’t worry Bobby as I will try my best to be as good as you. My recon hero, my 2IC [Second-in-Command], my mate Bobby. Rest now brother.

Sergeant David Davies, B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton was such a good friend to me from the first time that we met; he would always go the extra mile. He was one of the straightest talking, most professional men - a true field soldier. Martyn’s sense of humour was one of his strong points and he would always lift the lads and get the absolute best out of them.

Everyone will miss you so much Martyn, you are a battalion personality and your passing will be a loss to every single person who has had the privilege to meet you. My thoughts are with your family, I will never forget you. Rest in peace my friend.

Corporal Simon Done, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Bobby was an inspiration to everyone in and out of work. A devoted father and someone I’ve looked up to throughout my career. You were always there to talk to and your cheeky grin made everyone smile; it also meant you were usually up to something, being the prankster you were.

You were the friend everyone wanted to have around, and the leader to have when things were hard. You are the heart of the battalion, the perfect warrior, keen, robust and always positive. It was my absolute honour and privilege to call you my friend.

Loved by many, respected by all, you will never ever be forgotten my friend. Rest in peace, ‘til we meet again.

Corporal Richard Billows, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Colour Sergeant Horton was and still is one of the few men I could call a true friend. I first met Bobby, as he was known to us all, when I joined the battalion in Cambridge. Bobby was full of life and nothing and no-one would ever faze him.

He was always one for a laugh and a joke but knew when to turn it on when it came to work; a true professional. Bobby was a devoted father to his children Ethan and Bethany. You could see how proud he was when he spoke of them. My heart and prayers go out to his family at this sad time.

I will never forget you Bobby and I know I will see you again one day. RIP my friend.

Corporal John Dare, Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton was not just my Platoon Second-in-Command, he was a loyal friend who took time to look after me when he didn’t need to; that was the man he was. Scruffy in work, but the most professional soldier that I have had the privilege to know.

When I think of you, I think of all the times that you have made me laugh; this is how most people will remember you.

A straight-talking man who always said what he felt, but knew how to put it. I remember last year both of us on the Reconnaissance Commanders’ Course; we complained from start to finish but along the way we had a lot of good times. Martyn my friend, I will always remember you.

Lance Corporal Alexander Vickers, Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Martyn ‘Bobby’ Horton is someone who I have always aspired to be like after working under his command and alongside him for most of my career. Not a barracks soldier, he lived to be out in the field; confident, calm and commanding the natural respect of his men, who would follow him anywhere.

He devoted his life to the Army and his children who he would talk about endlessly with great pride. Without doubt the best soldier I have ever had the privilege to serve with and a great friend who looked out for me during hard times. You will be missed by us all that knew you.

Lance Corporal Shawn Mills, Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Bobby, I remember the first time I met you, I was a candidate for the Non-Commissioned Officers’ cadre at the end of Op TELIC 4 and I was placed in your section. I immediately thought of you as someone who could teach me the no-nonsense way of doing things, and give me more confidence to become a professional soldier, a better soldier.

Going out on the town was always bound to be eventful with you around, no matter where it was. I remember the way that you never liked being told you were wrong or losing a bet (especially when it involved 20 quid on the Derby - thanks).

However, there were always a good number of times that you were right. I just wish you were right when you used to say that you would die when you were older.

Bobby, I will always remember the friend that I once had that would always be there for me whether it was for a lift home, or for some Mercian shorts.

Bobby, I will always remember the friend I spent three weeks getting drunk with in Australia, and also on a New Year’s Day hiding on some hill in Ireland, both complaining that it was very cold for five hours.

Bobby, you were a great inspiration in my life so far, you have made me a better man just by being you. I am pleased to be able to say I worked alongside you, and I am honoured and proud to have called you my friend. Bobby, I will always remember you.

The Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Bobby was an outgoing, friendly guy with a great sense of humour. Always up for a laugh, Bobby could make light of any situation and never failed to provide morale.

Never one to stand back on the sidelines, he was a highly professional and pro-active commander who wanted to take the fight to the enemy and win.

He was a man who was always ready to make the most out of any situation and always led from the front. Stand Firm, Strike Hard!

Lance Corporal David Ramsden (All rights reserved.)
Lance Corporal David Ramsden (All rights reserved.)

Lance Corporal David Andrew Ramsden

Lance Corporal David Ramsden was 26 years old and from Leeds. He joined the Army in January 2002 and, following attendance at the Army Training Regiment Glencorse and the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, joined 1st Battalion The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire in July 2002.

He served in the United Kingdom and Belize and on operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, and finally Afghanistan. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in October 2005 and left the Army in 2007 to pursue a career as a civilian.

Following mobilisation as a Regular Reservist, Lance Corporal Ramsden joined 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) in January 2010 and completed Mission Specific Training in readiness for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

He deployed to central Helmand in April 2010 and joined the Police Advisory Team, working from the Afghan National Police headquarters in Gereshk, southern Afghanistan.

His team was responsible for advising the Afghan police in the area in order to ensure that they are better able to deliver more effective security to the city, whilst reinforcing Afghan rule of law and creating the conditions for economic development.

On 23 June 2010, following an incident at a nearby police checkpoint, Lance Corporal Ramsden’s Police Advisory Team, along with the Afghan National Police, deployed as a Quick Reaction Force to proivide support.

The vehicle in which he was travelling overturned into the Nahr-e Bughra canal and, at approximately 2208hrs local time, Lance Corporal Ramsden was killed in the incident alongside three of his colleagues from the Police Advisory Team - Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton, Private Douglas Halliday and Private Alex Isaac.

The family of Lance Corporal Ramsden - his mum Shirley, dad Eddie, and brothers and sisters, Zoey, twin Emma, Matthew and Jeremy -made the following statement:

David lived life at 1,000mph. He loved Army life and his job, and as a teenager was in the Army Cadet Force.

His friends called him ‘Lizard’ due to him keeping two iguanas which he rehomed before he left for Afghanistan. He was a normal young lad who would always cheer you up and often did things for a laugh.

He loved socialising with his mates both in and out of the Army. We all loved him so much - he was very generous and he would do anything for his family and friends.

Although we didn’t see much of him due to Army life, when he arrived back his personality lit up a room and we knew he was home and we will miss him so much.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Lance Corporal Dave Ramsden enlisted into the 1st Battalion The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire in January 2002. During his time with the battalion he served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq, before leaving the Army in 2007.

We were fortunate that when he returned to the Colours this year he chose to join the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) for our tour of Afghanistan.

As an experienced hand he had an immediate impact on those around him, calming nerves and helping the junior men to cope with the demands of operational service. As a proud Yorkshireman he told it the way it was, but he fitted in well with his new adopted regiment and the men of the North West.

Known as ‘Lizard’ in both regiments, he will never be forgotten. He lived the values of the Yorkshire Regiment, being honest, fair, gritty and proud.

I am privileged to have had him under my command and know that he stood firm and struck hard to the last. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, Edward and Shirley, his family and many friends.

Major Paul Dupuy, Officer Commanding Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said:

In the short time I have known and had the privilege of commanding Lance Corporal Ramsden, ‘Lizard’ to his colleagues, he proved to be a highly professional and competent soldier.

He was always keen to get stuck into any task and he had numerous good ideas which I often implemented to improve the way in which the team mentored the Afghan police.

An inquisitive and engaging individual, I will always remember the frequent conversations we had discussing politics and strategy. His loss will be felt by us all.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this most difficult of times.

Captain Ben Stephens, Intelligence Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Lance Corporal Ramsden possessed a quiet and sincere disposition. He executed his duties with a consideration for others not always seen in soldiers.

As a reservist volunteer for operations in Afghanistan I had the utmost respect for him and his dedication to the cause. He was highly committed to his job and hoped to re-enlist back into the Regular Army to continue his career. It was for these reasons he was such a popular figure amongst his peers.

His passing will not be forgotten amongst those who served with him. My honest and heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and friends whose loss we cannot comprehend. Stand Firm and Strike Hard ‘Lizard’ Ramsden, your memory lives on.

Ranger Sammy Macauley, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Dave, what can I say? He was one of a kind. I first met Dave in January 2010 when all the Territorial Army and Regular Reservists met to do a two-week mobilisation package in Chilwell before moving to our receiving units.

Dave was always the joker and always up for a laugh. He was so laid back, any more and he would have been lying on the ground. Dave was always up for a drink and having a good time. It didn’t matter what day of the week it was, he always made sure everyone, including me, enjoyed life to the full.

The best thing about Dave was that he was always smiling; it didn’t matter what the situation was, he would always boost morale with his smile.

I will miss Dave very much; he was as good a friend as he was a good soldier. Everyone that knew him will miss him very much. You will never be forgotten my friend. My thoughts go out to your family and friends. Rest in peace, we will always remember you.

Fusilier Jason Palmer, Private Benjamin Yandell, Fusilier William Dawson and Private Paul Lowden, A Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

We first met Lance Corporal Ramsden at the Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre Chilwell in January during our mobilisation phase. A likeable Yorkshireman, friendly and funny, a committed soldier, and one of a trio of socialites.

His dedication and commitment proved an inspiration to us all. You will be sadly missed and somebody we would all be proud to call a brother. God bless you Rammie.

Private Daniel Neale, Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Lizard and I met when we deployed and we instantly became friends. He was like my younger brother. He was naturally friendly and outgoing and could get on with anyone he met. He was happy to chat to anybody around him and always had them smiling in seconds.

Lizard had a unique character and sense of humour and these things made him the person he was. He always wanted to get his point across and stood by the things he said and believed in.

He was always happy and willing to help with anything and, whether he liked what he was doing or not, he would always do it anyway. He would do anything to help the team and to make people’s lives better in any way he could.

He was a truly selfless person. I miss him very much and wish to pass on my condolences to his family and friends. I am truly sorry for their loss and he will always live on in my memories.

The Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), said:

Lizard was a unique character with an equally unique sense of humour. He was never afraid to speak his mind and his friendly nature endeared him to everyone who met him. He always went out of his way for the team and was driven to making everyone’s lives easier.

His chirpy and outgoing nature meant that he naturally clicked with everyone he met. He was always happy and approached everyone with a huge smile on his face.

Lizard was a valued member of the team whose natural confidence and ability always meant that he took things in his stride.

Private Douglas Halliday (All rights reserved.)
Private Douglas Halliday (All rights reserved.)

Private Douglas Niall Halliday

Private Douglas Halliday was 20 years old and from Wallasey, Merseyside. He joined the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) on 28 January 2008 following basic training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick.

He started his career in B Company and then moved to C Company. He served in Northern Ireland, Kenya and on operations in Afghanistan.

He undertook extensive Mission Specific Training in both the UK and Kenya in preparation for the deployment on Operation HERRICK 12. He moved back to B (Malta) Company and was assigned to the Police Advisory Team in Gereshk, Helmand Province.

His team has been advising the Afghan National Police in order to further develop their capabilities and promote security, governance and the rule of law.

On 23 June 2010, following an attack on a nearby Police Check Point, Private Halliday’s team, along with the Afghan National Police, deployed as a Quick Reaction Force in support of their colleagues.

The vehicle in which he was travelling overturned into the Nahr-e-Bughra Canal.

At approximately 2208hrs local, Private Douglas Halliday died in the incident alongside three of his colleagues from the Police Advisory Team - Colour Sergeant Horton, Lance Corporal David Ramsden, and Private Alex Isaac

The family of Private Halliday have made the following statement:

Dougie was deeply loved by all of his family and friends for the love and laughter that he brought into their lives. Dougie was always the life and soul of the party and will be missed by all.We are all extremely privileged to have shared his short life.

Dougie loved his job in the army and his comrades; he would have done anything for them. He was that special type of man. We were all so proud when he was voted top cadet in his passing out parade.

He did us all proud and lived by the family motto; Sis Justus nec timeas.- be just and fear not.

We remember Dougie for his charm, the special times together and his humour. He will never be forgotten.

At this sad time for his family, we also send our condolences to the families of his comrades who also gave their lives so that we may live in freedom.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Dougie Halliday was a highly capable and competent soldier who thrived on the challenge and camaraderie that Army life brought.

He joined the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) in 2008 and served in the Falkland Islands and completed a number of arduous exercises before deploying to Afghanistan with the Battalion.

Initially serving with B Company, he was selected as a member of the Gereshk City Police Assistance Team under the command of Colour Sergeant Bobby Horton.

A spirited man with a big heart he was totally committed to this difficult and often dangerous mission and interacted extremely well with both the police and the civilian community.

Just two days before this tragic incident, he had whipped me soundly playing bowling on the Wii, much to the amusement of others.

He was a fit and strong soldier and was willing to shoulder any burden to assist the team’s performance.

He was positive in his approach to service in Afghanistan and to his chosen profession.

He had a bright future ahead of him. His loss will be deeply felt and he will never be forgotten. He was a true Mercian Warrior and our thoughts are with his family and many friends.

Major Paul Dupuy, Officer Commanding Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said:

Private Halliday was a young, fit and able soldier. In the short time I have known him he proved to be a constantly positive and determined character.

He always gave his all, was a dependable colleague and very much a team player.

He was young man of much potential who will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this most difficult of times.

Major Chris Wood, Officer Commanding C Company 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Doug Halliday was the archetypical Infantry soldier. He lived for being in the field and was very much looking forward to going on his first operational tour.

In camp he was a nuisance, taking up far too much of the Company Sergeant Major’s time as he strived to find more interesting things to occupy his time - but he looked forward to deploying to Afghanistan and this had given him renewed focus as he shone during pre-deployment training.

He was a strong, fit and very capable individual with a bright, if mischievous, future.

He will be a loss to the Battalion which has lost one of its real characters.

This is, however, nothing compared with the loss his family and friends are feeling now.

Our thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times.

Captain Ben Stephens, Intelligence Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Private Halliday possessed a boldness and confidence of someone far more senior.

He completed all tasks set for him with a smile and aplomb. His positive nature was infectious and this will leave a hole in his team that will not easily be filled.

The fact that he went about his duties with such competence and a positive outlook, was testament to his courage and character.

He will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues in the Battalion but we know that this pales into insignificance compared to the feelings of his family at this difficult time.

I wish you God’s Speed Doug Halliday, you will not be forgotten. Stand Firm and Strike Hard our Mercian Brother.

Lieutenant Dave Payne, Officer Commanding 6 Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Private Dougie Halliday was a courageous young man. He was most at home on exercise, free from distractions and surrounded by his mates; this is where he excelled the most.

It had always been his dream to serve on combat operations with his County Regiment.

He realised this dream when he deployed on Op HERRICK 12. It will be truly difficult to come to terms with the loss of such a popular character.

Our thoughts and prayers go to both his friends here and his family back home.

Private Thomas Daignton-Rogers, C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Dougie, you were a good friend with a heart of gold. You will be sorely missed and never forgotten.

They say everything happens for a reason, but not this time. Take it easy Doug, sleep tight. Rest in Peace.

Private Ian Williams, A Company, 1St Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

I first met Doug Halliday on a train as we travelled to Catterick for initial training and he was in my Section throughout.

He was a very cheeky lad who loved to pull pranks on anybody.

He was a close friend of Private Alex Isaac and the two of them would often be together, trying to chat up the girls in ‘Bar 28’, Catterick.

He would always greet me with a grin on his face and this is how I will always remember him.

I know you and Alex will be getting up to pranks together in heaven, RIP mate.

The Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Dougie was a quiet man, but beneath this lay a huge amount of confidence when he was out on the ground.

He was a professional soldier through and through. Dougie was never afraid of getting stuck into any situation and his professionalism and ability was clear to see to those around him.

He was selfless and would always put the needs of the team before his own.

Dougie never lacked motivation and his endless enthusiasm and energy served to keep the team going when times were tough.

Private Alex Isaac

Private Alex Isaac was 20 years old and from the Wirral. Following training at the Army Training Regiment in Bassingbourn and the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick he joined the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) on 12 May 2008.

He served in the United Kingdom and Kenya and on operations in Afghanistan.

Following Mission Specific Training in readiness for deployment on Operation HERRICK 12, he moved from C Company to B (Malta) Company.

Soon after deployment he formed part of a team tasked with advising the Afghan National Police in Gereshk City, Helmand Province. The Police Advisory Team has been providing assistance to the Afghan Police in order to enhance their effectiveness and promote local security, economic development and the rule of law.

On 23 June 2010, following an incident at a Police Check Point near Gereshk, Private Isaac’s team, along with the Afghan National Police, deployed as a Quick Reaction Force in support of their Afghan colleagues.

The vehicle in which he was travelling overturned into the Nahr-e-Bughra Canal. At approximately 2208hrs local, Private Alex Isaac died in the incident alongside three of his colleagues from the Police Advisory Team - Colour Sergeant Horton, Lance Corporal David Ramsden and Private Douglas Halliday.

The family of Private Isaac have made the following Statements

Mother; Mrs Annette Isaac, said:

My beautiful darling son who was a fighter, and so brave, you will always be in my heart, my soul and my thoughts. God bless.

Father; Mr John Isaac, said:

I will miss you always my brave son Alex, you now live on in my thoughts and my heart.

Brother; Mr Chris Isaac, said:

Alex, my little brother, will always be remembered for his bravery and huge personality.

Brother; Mr Robert Isaac, said:

Alex, I am very proud to be your brother; your strength will live on in all of us.

Girlfriend; Miss Megan Anyon, said:

I will always love you, you brave boy.

Grandmother; Mrs Elizabeth Isaac, said:

Dear Alex I will miss your smiling face.

Grandmother; Mrs Vera Delamare, said:

Alex was a wonderful grandson and he will be sadly missed.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Alex Isaac joined the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) in 2006, coming to us straight from school.

His age prevented service in Iraq with the Battalion but he was soon deployed to the Falklands and Kenya for training exercises and demonstrated a high level of competence during pre-deployment training for Afghanistan.

He was keen to serve overseas with his mates and was a capable soldier.

He came to Afghanistan initially with B Company, but was soon selected to move to Gereshk City to help form a Police Advisory Team under Colour Sergeant Bobby Horton.

He responded well to the dynamics of this small team and, as a strong and energetic man, he was an ideal role model to the emerging police force that he was mentoring.

Alex was popular with all and respected for his work ethic and determined nature.

He was a Mercian Warrior, standing firm to protect those in need and striking hard to defeat their enemies.

He will always be remembered as one of our heroes, but the loss to his partner Megan, his parents Annette and John, and his family and many friends will be deeper even than ours.

Major Paul Dupuy, Officer Commanding Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery said:

Private Isaac was a strong, fit and always cheerful young man. A dedicated and professional soldier he could always be relied upon in any situation.

He had a great sense of humour and he was a pleasure to work with.

In the short time that I had the privilege to command him, he proved to be a man of much potential.

He will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this most difficult of times.

Major Chris Wood, Officer Commanding C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Alex was a great personality to have in the Company; a big, gregarious man who always wore a ready smile.

He was the sort of soldier who, despite his relative inexperience, could be relied upon to always get the job done. He had a great future ahead of him and would have achieved anything he set his mind to.

His loss is keenly felt across the Company and our lives will be poorer without him.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult of times.

Captain Ben Stephens, Intelligence Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Private Isaac was an enormously likeable character. His quiet nature, wry smile and willingness to complete all that was asked of him marked him out as one to watch.

It is such a tragedy that his future has been stolen from him. His passing will be felt keenly by his friends in the Battalion, many of whom grew up with him in the North West.

I extend my most sincere condolences to his family; I know your son was a man of courage and honour who fought with great spirit. He will not be forgotten by those who knew him. Stand Firm and Strike Hard Alex Isaac.

Lieutenant Dave Payne, Officer Commanding 6 Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Private Alex Isaac was one of the most complete soldiers I have ever had the privilege of working with.

His determination and robustness are a testament to his character.

He was always one of the first to show his hunger for a challenge even in the most adverse of situations. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this tragic time.

Private Ian Williams, A Company, 1St Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

I met Alex Isaac when he joined my platoon in training 2 years ago. He was a great lad who always had a smile on his face even when the rest of us ‘snapped’ as things got tough.

He always helped me when I needed it. He was a great character and when he arrived at the Battalion he got himself into some funny situations as only he could, but he always kept on smiling. You will be missed my friend.

Private Thomas Daignton-Rogers C Company, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Ally Isaac, you were the comedian of the group and always had us in stitches.

You, me, Dougie, Pay, Pete and the rest of the lads - there are loads of good memories that will be remembered. You will not be forgotten. Sleep tight. Rest in Peace.

The Police Advisory Team Gereshk, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said:

Alex was an excellent young soldier with lots of potential who was always ready for anything.

You could always recognise him as he was someone who wasn’t afraid of being an individual and to stand out from the crowd.

His friendly ‘can-do’ attitude meant that he was a hit amongst his team mates.

His natural sense of humour always shone through and he could see the comical side of any situation.