Operations in Afghanistan

Corporal Brent John McCarthy and Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence confirms that Corporal Brent John McCarthy, Royal Air Force, and Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, were killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 12 May 2012.

Ministry of Defence crest
Corporal Brent John McCarthy, Royal Air Force, and Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies (All rights reserved.)
Corporal Brent John McCarthy, Royal Air Force, and Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards (All rights reserved.)

Corporal McCarthy and Lance Corporal Davies were killed by small arms fire while deployed as part of a Police Advisory Team to attend a meeting at the local Afghan Uniform Police headquarters near Patrol Base Attal in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province.

Their commanding officer was attending the meeting while Corporal McCarthy and Lance Corporal Davies and the remainder of the team were providing security.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:

I send out my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Corporal Brent McCarthy and Lance Corporal Lee Davies whose lives were cut tragically short by a cowardly act of aggression.

Both servicemen were performing an invaluable role, training and mentoring Afghan police, helping to ensure that Afghanistan will never again be a place from which international terrorists can launch attacks on our society. Their sacrifice will not be in vain and we will never forget them.

Corporal Brent John McCarthy  (All rights reserved.)
Corporal Brent John McCarthy (All rights reserved.)

Corporal Brent John McCarthy

Corporal McCarthy was born into a Service family on 18 February 1987 in Hannover Germany. At a very young age he returned to the Midlands of England where he attended Lilleshall Primary School and Orleton Park School in nearby Wellington. He was staunchly proud of the area and apart from the early years of his life, Priorslee, Telford was where he called home.

Following school he worked in a number of jobs before committing himself to a Service life with the Royal Air Force in August 2008. Following his training at RAF Halton and the Defence College of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park he began his career within the Royal Air Force Police. He was a man of many talents and diverse interests including football, playing drums in a band and representing the RAF at hockey.

He was assigned to RAF Brize Norton in July 2009 where he volunteered to deploy with 174 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment Royal Military Police as part of the Theatre Provost Group. During his pre-deployment training Corporal McCarthy showed an aptitude for mentoring and was a natural choice to embed with the Welsh Guards as part of the Police Mentoring Advisory Group.

Corporal McCarthy leaves behind his father John, mother Sarah, sister Jodie, his partner Sarah and his niece Miajay and nephew Kyron.

Corporal McCarthy’s family have paid the following tribute:

Brent was a loving sensitive young man. He excelled at sport and had the whole world in front of him. He loved his family dearly and will always be a hero to his niece Miajay. Brent will be sadly missed not only by us but also by his loving partner Sarah and her devoted family. Life will never be the same for any of us. We will love you always. God bless.

Lieutenant Colonel Dino Bossi, Commanding Officer, Police Mentoring and Advisory Group, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Corporal Brent McCarthy came to 1st Battalion Welsh Guards during our training for Operation HERRICK 16. Over a six-month period before the tour began he lived and operated with the men who he was to support in Afghanistan.

His intelligence, ready wit and his desire to muck in and take part in all aspects of communal life meant that he fitted seamlessly into an extremely tight team. Corporal McCarthy was extremely popular and hugely respected among the men with whom he lived and fought - not always an easy trick for a military policeman from another Service, but one he achieved with ease and some style.

Ever to the fore and sharing danger and discomfort, his light-hearted approach to life, easy going nature and cool professionalism made him a natural advisor to the Afghan National Police. On 12th May, alongside his comrade Lance Corporal Lee Davies, he was taken from us suddenly and violently.

All of us in the Police Mentoring and Advisor Group, whether Welsh Guards, Royal Military Police or RAF are devastated by his loss but resolved to press on in the memory of his sacrifice. To his family we extend our heartfelt sympathies and the knowledge that he will always be remembered among us.

Lieutenant Colonel Alex Potts, Commanding Officer, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

Corporal Brent McCarthy was doing a difficult and dangerous job and he did it well. He was a fine ambassador for The Royal Air Force and we will remember him for his professionalism, physical toughness, but above all, for his unbeatable smile and sense of humour.

Major Greg Sangster, Commanding Officer, Theatre Provost Group, said:

It is difficult to put into words what the loss of Corporal McCarthy means to both our unit in Afghanistan and his RAF Police colleagues back in the UK.

But our grief will pale in comparison to that felt by his family and friends and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. Corporal McCarthy exuded enthusiasm and ability; he was a young man who was trying to make a difference, mentoring his Afghan Police colleagues in very challenging conditions.

Both his unit and those Afghans he mentored are better for having known this talented policeman.

Squadron Leader Carl Jeffery, Officer Commanding 7 (Royal Air Force Police) Squadron, Royal Air Force Brize Norton, said:

Cpl Brent McCarthy was fiercely loyal and courageous, exemplifying the character of the Royal Air Force Police. Cpl McCarthy was a young man with huge potential: intelligent, determined and extremely capable, he was a highly popular figure within his Flight and was firmly on the path to great success in his career.

Cpl McCarthy fully embraced all aspects of Service life, whether representing the RAF playing Hockey or getting his mates together for a beer, he was always a prominent figure who will be sorely missed by his friends, his colleagues and all those who had the honour of serving with him.

Dynamic and with an enormous sense of fun, Cpl McCarthy’s infectious enthusiasm could be relied upon to cheer those who were down, to inspire those who were lost and to comfort those in despair. It is great testament to Cpl McCarthy’s character that despite a few brief years in the Service, he can claim so many friends among his trade, his station and the RAF as a whole.

Cpl McCarthy’s family and friends should take great comfort in the knowledge that Brent was an exemplary policeman of whom they should be proud.

Captain Rob Bird, Second-in-Command, B Squadron, The King’s Royal Hussars, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

On behalf of B Squadron, The King’s Royal Hussars, I would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of Corporal McCarthy. An extraordinary character, he had become exceptionally close to a large number of the Squadron over the last few weeks.

He maintained an unfaltering sense of duty throughout his time with the Police Advisory Team. Utterly professional, he was an exemplary airman who was absolutely committed to the task his unit had been set with the Afghan Uniformed Police, who as we, are deeply saddened by his death. Our thoughts are with Corporal McCarthy’s family at this most difficult time.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Daniel Stephens, Company Sergeant Major, Theatre Provost Group, said:

Having worked previously with the RAF Police, Corporal McCarthy surpassed my already high regard for the commitment, dedication and capability of those RAF Policemen who volunteer to undertake this most difficult of roles alongside their Army brethren.

In the short time that I came to know Corporal McCarthy he showed courage, grit and leadership far beyond his years. His personality endeared him to all those around him and he embodied the very spirit of our motto, leading by example. I am truly honoured to have served with him and regrettably humbled by his sacrifice.

I am saddened beyond words at the loss for his family and loved ones who have my most heartfelt thoughts.

Staff Sergeant Terrance Ferguson, Platoon Staff Sergeant, Theatre Provost Group, said:

Coming from the same town of Telford there was an immediate connection between Corporal McCarthy and me. His sharp sense of humour and enthusiasm for a bit of banter was always welcomed and was a breath of fresh air.

During his time under my command he acted with the utmost professionalism, respect and embodied all of the qualities of an outstanding Service Policeman. At this very difficult time I would like to extend my condolences to his family and loved ones and my thoughts are with them. Rest in peace my friend.

Sergeant Rob Heath, Second-in-Command, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Corporal ‘Mac’ McCarthy was a true professional in every respect. He joined our Police Advisory Team a few months before our deployment. It was as if he had always been with us as he immediately got on with everyone.

He was an excellent ambassador for his unit as his skills and knowledge on police work seemed endless. He was very intelligent and loved his job. All who knew Mac will be feeling a great sadness right now none more so than his family.

Our thoughts go out to you all. The Welsh Guards his extended family will remember him forever. Rest in Peace Mac, gone but never forgotten.

Corporal Kriss Gray, RAF Police, Afghan Police Mentor, Theatre Provost Group, said:

Having known Corporal Brent McCarthy for some time now, both as a friend and a close work colleague, this comes as a massive shock, to those who served with him and the Service police as a whole.

Corporal McCarthy always put others before himself and had the strongest love for his family and would always go out of his way to see a smile on others faces before his own. I had the honour to have served with him and I am also very privileged to have been his friend.

My thoughts go out to his girlfriend and family at this time; he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Lance Corporal Tim Bennett, Adjutant General’s Corps (Royal Military Police), Afghan Police Mentor, Theatre Provost Group, said:

Although I have only had the pleasure of knowing Corporal Brent ‘Mac’ McCarthy since the start of our training last year and having lived and worked so closely together here, I feel l got to know him very well.

Brent and I were told early on that we would be Police Mentors within a Police Advisory Team with the Welsh Guards.

We conducted all of our training with the team working really well and building very close friendships with the boys. There was always banter about the amount of time ‘Paradigm’ Mac spent using welfare facilities and he used to check the incoming mail at least three times a day! Funny thing is, he rarely came back empty handed.

Brent will be sorely missed and my thoughts are with his family and girlfriend at this sad time.

Lance Corporal Kyle Williams, Combat Medical Technician, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Although Mac wasn’t attached to us for long, he was well and truly one of the boys. He loved the banter and also loved working with the infantry. He often said how lucky he felt to be doing this job and how envious the RAF Regiment would be at him for being so far forward!

Mac, you were one of the boys and we will always remember you.

Guardsman Jo Price, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

“I did not have the pleasure of meeting Corporal McCarthy until he was attached to us just over a month ago. In the short time that I got to spend with Mac we developed a very close bond, both out on patrol and in the Patrol Base chilling out.

Mac was a tremendous man, with a heart of gold and loved by everyone. He will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. I, and the rest of the Team will ensure that we finish the job that we and Mac came out here to undertake. He will forever be in our thoughts.

RAF Brize Norton Station Commander, Group Captain Dom Stamp, said:

It is with great sadness that I have received the news of the death of Corporal Brent McCarthy, a serving RAF policeman based at this station who was killed whilst on duty serving in Afghanistan.

Corporal McCarthy had been stationed at Royal Air Force Brize Norton for the last two years and was a popular and exceedingly professional airman. He will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues and the station’s thoughts are with Corporal McCarthy’s family and friends at this very sad time.

Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies (All rights reserved.)
Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies (All rights reserved.)

Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies

Lance Corporal Davies deployed to Afghanistan on 21 March 2012 as part of a Police Advisory Team within the Police Mentoring and Advisory Group. He was based in Patrol Base Attal in the Lashkar Gah District of Helmand Province.

Lance Corporal Davies was born on 15 October 1984 in Carmarthen. After school he was self employed before starting his career at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick in October 2009. He successfully passed out from Catterick in April 2010, joining the Welsh Guards.

On 10 May 2010 he was posted to 1st Battalion Welsh Guards at Lille Barracks in Aldershot. During his time in the Battalion he quickly stood out as a natural leader and he was selected to attend the Lance Corporal promotion cadre, subsequently promoting in December 2011.

Lance Corporal Davies was an exemplary member of the Welsh Guards. He was an extremely popular and respected member of his company and platoon. A gifted junior non-commissioned officer, he had earned the respect of all he worked with.

Lance Corporal Davies had a bright future ahead of him - his professionalism, leadership and unswerving sense of duty would have carried him far. He will, justly, be remembered among the ranks of the bravest of the brave.

The family are devastated at the loss of Lee and wish to be left alone to grieve at this time.

Lieutenant Colonel Dino Bossi, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Lance Corporal Lee Davies loved being a soldier - it was who he was. He passed out from the Infantry Training Centre Catterick in April 2010. He swiftly made a name for himself for his enthusiasm, fitness and professionalism as an infantry soldier and in less than two years was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.

To have made such a profound impact so early in his Army career speaks volumes about the quality of the man we have lost today. Lance Corporal Davies was very much the up and coming Junior Non-Commissioned Officer; he had big plans and the personal qualities to make his ambitions a reality. He was a sports fanatic, both watching and playing and would throw himself into any outdoor activity.

His passion for motor-sports would see him up until all hours to watch a rally or a grand prix. In his personal life Lance Corporal Davies was a live wire who enjoyed nothing more than a night on the town. He was the living embodiment of the Army’s work hard, play hard ethos.

On duty he was a consummate professional; whether ‘strutting his stuff’ on public duties in London or on operations here in Afghanistan. It is in Afghanistan that the depths of his talents became obvious to all.

He was a formidably talented team commander, in his element in this complex and unforgiving environment. The Welsh Guards have lost a man of inestimable promise, a fine Guardsman who lived and breathed the values and standards of the Foot Guards. He will be missed by all of us. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family.

Lieutenant Colonel Alex Potts, The King’s Royal Hussars, Commanding Officer Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

Lance Corporal Lee Davies was a key figure in a thoroughly professional and successful Police Advisor Team, who are working at the very heart of our mission. His contribution has been significant and the team are rightly proud of what they have achieved. We will continue his good work with the determination that was his trademark.

Major Julian Salusbury, Company Commander, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Lance Corporal Davies was an outstanding Welsh Guardsman. Newly promoted after little more than two years service, he made the jump from guardsman to junior non-commissioned officer with characteristic flair, professionalism and not a little good humour.

And that marked him out as a man - cheerfulness in the face of adversity; a ready smile and a friendly word. His catch phrase, first heard by me in the pouring rain and cold of Aldershot training area, ‘I love my job’, was not only said to raise his friends’ morale but it was also the truth. Lance Corporal Davies loved being a guardsman and was the proudest of proud Welsh Guardsmen.

Committed, capable and thoroughly dependable, he well understood his role in Afghanistan. He could not have been more suited to helping the Afghan police achieve a better, safer life for the Helmandi people. Considerate and utterly selfless, Lance Corporal Davies accepted the inherent risks of being a soldier and has paid the ultimate price.

I am proud and humbled to have commanded such a fine, decent and compassionate man. Our sadness is the keenest felt by a soldier and our thoughts and prayers are with Lance Corporal Davies’ family and friends. His good work lives on - he will not be forgotten. Cymru Am Byth.

Lieutenant Ben Bardsley, Police Advisory Team Commander, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Lee, ‘27’, ‘Twent’ - as Lance Corporal Davies was often fondly referred to, Police Advisory Team 3 knew that the same helpful, friendly and endearing face would respond. He was willing to help, always showing selfless commitment at every opportunity.

Having recently promoted in time to deploy on Op HERRICK 16, he quickly assumed his important role in the team with ease. In the month since arriving at Patrol Base Attal, Lance Corporal Davies not only carried out his duties to the highest standard but continued to excel and make the role his own.

In camp he was a rock for not only the Guardsman and NCOs but also for me. On the ground he showed all the skills, communication, grip and determination expected of an Infantry section commander and in doing so he commanded those around him to the highest of standards.

As well as being a highly competent soldier who I am proud to have called my own, he was a kind and gentle man who has left a big whole in our lives - he is sorely missed.

At this difficult time my thoughts go out to his family and friends for whom such a tragic event is so difficult to bear. However, they can take strength knowing that Lance Corporal Davies gave his life doing what he loved amongst those who held him in the highest of regards.

A regimental brother has been lost. May he rest in peace. Cymru Am Byth.

Captain Rob Bird, Second-in-Command, B Squadron, The King’s Royal Hussars, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said:

On behalf of the whole of B Squadron, I would like to convey our sincerest condolences to the family of Lance Corporal Davies. A giant of a man, he was an integral part of the Welsh Guards Police Advisory Team who had become fully absorbed into the Squadron over the last few weeks.

He had an unfaltering sense of dedication towards his job, particularly maintaining the close professional bond between the Police Advisory Team, B Squadron and the Afghan Police, who as we are, are deeply shocked by the chain of events which led to his death. He was a lynchpin of the tight-knit bond the Police Advisory Team had developed and our thoughts are with his family at this troubling time.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Paul Dunn, Company Sergeant Major, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Lance Corporal Davies was a truly professional soldier, a true leader who his men looked up to. I am proud to have served with him and we will all miss him so much. My thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in Peace.

Sergeant Rob Heath, Second-in-Command, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Lance Corporal Davies made my job as a Platoon Sergeant very, very easy. Give him a task and it would be completed to the highest standard. Give him a problem and he would always find a solution that many would struggle to think of. He was diligent, fit and always led from the front.

He played a key part in our team and will be missed from now and forever. We have lost our dear friend and one of the best Lance Corporals to have ever worn the cap badge of the Welsh Guards. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time. Rest in peace my friend and fellow NCO. Cymru am Blyth.

Guardsman Matthew Jones, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

For someone I hadn’t known that long I felt like I’d known him for ages. He was funny, smart and rarely complained about anything. However when he did we always ended up in hysterics. No matter how big or small the jobs that came his way were he always gave 100% and got the job done. He was definitely and always will be one of the lads. Our thoughts are with his family and friends back home.

Guardsman Josh Foley, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

I’ve known Lance Corporal Davies for just over a year now and in that time I have gathered some really good memories of him. He was always there to help with anything that you wanted. I will never forget the day that I had to service my vehicle and he got straight in there and rounded up some of the lads to help.

We managed to get the job done even though it took all day but we did it. Lance Corporal Davies was very good at his job and was a good friend. He will never be forgotten.

Guardsman Timothy Roe, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

There’s only one word to describe Lance Corporal Davies: Legend! He was one of those lads that anyone could get along with. He was such a good lad to have around and full of banter. He is going to be truly missed by everyone especially in the Police Advisory Team. My thoughts are with his family at this time.

Guardsman Jonathon Reeves, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said:

Words cannot express how I feel at this sad time. Lance Corporal Lee Davies was a very good friend, a great leader and an astonishing soldier. His loss is huge to me, the boys and the Battalion. Most of all though is the loss to his family who my condolences go out to. Our thoughts are with you at this time. Rest in peace, mate.

Published 14 May 2012