It is with deep regret that the MOD must confirm the death of Sergeant Sean Binnie from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, in southern Afghanistan on Thursday 7 May 2009.
Sergeant Binnie, aged 22, was killed during a fire fight with insurgents near Musa Qaleh in Helmand province, where he was serving as part of the Battle Group mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA).
Sergeant Sean Binnie
Sergeant Binnie joined the Army in 2003. Following basic training he joined his battalion in Warminster and moved with them to Belfast at the end of 2005, taking part in the operation to close down British Army bases in the province. He served with his battalion in both Iraq and the Falkland Islands. Sergeant Binnie passed the arduous Section Commanders’ Battle Course last year and took command of his section in time to deploy on Operation HERRICK in Afghanistan in March, living and working amongst the Afghan troops.
Sergeant Binnie was an enthusiast by nature, with a strong, determined streak not always seen in one so young. He loved his job and was always the first to volunteer for extra courses - often doing them during leave as he claimed that otherwise he simply got bored. He was very much his own man but also a team player, which made him an excellent JNCO (Junior Non-Commissioned Officer). He was very robust, both mentally and physically, and carried others along with his force of personality. He also had a great sense of humour and could laugh at himself as well as with others.
Sergeant Binnie’s wife, Amanda, said:
My husband, my hero - you have been so strong and brave. Our married life has been a short six months and I’m speaking for both of us in saying it was the best six months ever.
I know you have died a happy married man in doing what you loved. We’re so proud of you. God bless you babe. Your loving wife, Amanda Binnie.
Sergeant Binnie’s mother, Janette, said:
We are devastated at the loss of our son, Sean. We are very proud of him and he will be missed always. Sleep tight.
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, Commanding Officer of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS), said:
Sergeant Sean Binnie has given his life in service of others in the career that he loved. He died in the defence of his friends and his comrades in the Afghan National Army.
His death is a great blow for everyone in The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, but particularly for Delta Company who he was serving with in Musa Qaleh. He was part of a small team bound together by trust and self-respect, built up over their arduous training in the last year and in their first months here in Afghanistan.
Recently promoted and very much a career soldier with a great future ahead of him, Sean was full of life, always cheerful, and a loyal JNCO; he will be missed by us all but will not be forgotten. His loss will further serve to stiffen our resolve to see our task through this summer and we will not fail him. Our deepest condolences and prayers go to Amanda, his wife, and his extended family at this most tragic time.
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Banton, Commanding Officer of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Battle Group, said:
Sergeant Sean Binnie had been working with the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Battle Group responsible for the development of Afghan soldiers fighting alongside British soldiers to provide security for the Afghanistan people in Helmand province.
This role is unique and requires a special type of soldier to cope with the stresses and strains this employment throws up; Sean was one of those special soldiers. At every moment he displayed professionalism and purpose. He was calm under fire and dedicated to the soldiers in his team. He readily accepted the challenges of developing and fighting alongside the Afghan Warriors and approached the task with patience and good humour.
He was a very talented soldier who at 22 had already completed the arduous Section Commanders’ Battle Course and been promoted to Corporal. His toughness and selfless behaviour was admired and respected by all that met and worked with him.
It was no surprise that when Sean was taken from us he was leading from the front, setting the example and taking the fight to the enemy. We will remember his bravery and that he had the mental strength and physical courage to take the difficult decisions and walk the hardest path. His wife, Amanda, will be distraught at her loss. We share her grief.
Major Angus Philp, Officer Commanding Delta (Light) Company, said:
I remember very clearly first meeting Sergeant Sean Binnie during my tenure as his Company Commander. We were hill-walking during an Adventurous Training Camp in 2007, and his physical strength and enthusiasm stood out all week.
He was obviously a young man with a mature head on his shoulders, who had ambition, resolve and energy. He loved his work and he was going to do his best to make the most of his chosen career.
He volunteered for numerous courses and excelled on all of them, most recently the arduous Section Commanders’ Battle Course in Brecon. However, it was far from being a case of all work and no play. Sean was a sociable man with a deprecating sense of humour and a wide circle of friends. His soldiers liked him, but they also respected him - as we all did.
The manner of his tragic death was typical of the man. The ANA he was mentoring were in trouble and, with no thought for his own safety, he went forward to engage the enemy and get his comrades out of danger.
It was an act of great courage and selflessness, in the finest traditions of The Black Watch Battalion, but no less remarkable for that and for which he made the ultimate sacrifice. I feel privileged to have known him and served alongside him. All our thoughts are now with his wife Amanda and the rest of his family during this difficult time.
His Company Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Scott Shaw, said:
The first time I got to know Sergeant Sean Binnie was upon taking over the company as Sergeant Major. He was one of the company physical training instructors and one of the characters within the company.
He was respected by all ranks and had many friends within and outside the company. Sean led from the front and his troops trusted him and would follow him to the ends of the earth. Sean will be sorely missed by myself and all the members of the company. All our thoughts are with his wife and family; we will always remember him.
His Platoon Commander, Captain Olly Lever, said:
Sergeant Sean Binnie was a fine man; he typified every possible characteristic a soldier should have. Brave, determined and totally selfless, he was an individual of the highest calibre.
Sergeant Binnie was a strong willed NCO [Non-Commissioned Officer] and he had his sights set firmly on the top; second best just wasn’t good enough. He died as he lived in the thick of the action and totally committed.
Sergeant Binnie also however had a softer side. He was truly devoted to his wife and his family circle; he spoke of little else. Sergeant Binnie will be remembered as a hero by all who knew him and all who had the privilege to serve shoulder to shoulder with this great man.
Captain Russell Doughty said:
Sergeant Sean Binnie was a section commander in my platoon prior to Delta Company restructuring for the OMLT [Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team] task. He was keen and very serious about soldiering, always and always striving to be better. I had constantly seen him improve. I know he was very happy to be married and my thoughts are with his wife.
Captain Tom O’Sullivan said:
Sean was a good man, friend and husband. He was well known within the company and had lots of comrades and nicknames. Above all, he was a good bloke. We will all miss him and he will never be forgotten. All of our thoughts in AMBER 33 go out to his family and wife; we feel for you all. Our deepest sympathies and all our love.
Lance Corporal Duncan Milne said:
Binnie was one of my closest Army friends. We were in the same platoon when I came to the battalion and we were soldiers side by side ever since. Binnie was an effortlessly good soldier, he never struggled with anything.
The key to his soldiering ability was his unmatchable determination. Binnie and I had a healthy rivalry, competing on all fronts. We grew to be close friends through many nights out. These memories are what he was legendary for.
Binnie was about being the best and was an inspiration to myself; he made me try harder and want to go further. I will always remember him as a brilliant commander and an even better mate.
Lance Corporal Charles Brady said:
He was not just a soldier but a hero to the end. I am proud to say I knew him, a comrade, a friend fearless in battle, and a true leader of men. The bravest of warriors, our fallen brother Sean, RIP from all your friends in AMBER 32.
Private David ‘Ned’ Kelly said:
I knew and worked with Sean Binnie for a few years. He was one of the most professional soldiers I have ever worked with, always keen to get the job done and done well. We have two things in common: our passion for chess and our bigger than average waistlines. We were pretty even on the first but I think I won the last. He was a good guy and a good soldier.
Lance Corporal Jimmy Hutton said:
The thing that reminds me about Sean was his very sweet tooth. There was hardly a time I saw him without a packet of sweets or chocolate bars on him or in the vicinity.
Lance Corporal Sam Watt said:
I have known Sean since AFC [Army Foundation College] Harrogate and had the pleasure to serve with him in the same platoon since we joined the battalion. I always found him to be a good friend and he could always be depended upon to lift spirits. He will be sadly missed.
Defence Secretary John Hutton said:
Sergeant Sean Binnie of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was clearly an outstanding soldier - determined, enthusiastic and brave.
I know that he was held in high regard not only by his comrades, but also by the Afghan soldiers he was training, and he died defending them. He clearly had a promising career ahead of him, and it’s desperately sad that it was cut short like this. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Amanda, his family and friends.