Operations in Afghanistan

Craftsman Andrew Found killed in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Craftsman Andrew Found, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, serving with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys), was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday 16 June 2011.

Ministry of Defence crest
Craftsman Andrew Found (All rights reserved.)
Craftsman Andrew Found (All rights reserved.)

Craftsman Andrew Found, who was serving in Afghanistan with the Fitter Section, D Squadron (Warthog Group), Light Aid Detachment, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, was killed in an explosion while on an operation near Adinza’i in the Gereshk Valley area, within the northern Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

Craftsman Andrew Found

Craftsman Andrew Found was born on 8 November 1983. Hailing from Whitby, and a proud Yorkshireman, he was affectionately known by those in the squadron as ‘Foundy’.

He joined the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as a Recovery Mechanic on 11 December 2006, aged 23. Upon completion of basic and trade training he was posted to 4 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, then based at Bordon.

Prior to his arrival at the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, he served in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 10 in 2009. Joining D Squadron (Warthog Group) in August 2010 he conducted the full Mission Specific Training package for Operation HERRICK 14.

In April 2011 he deployed to Afghanistan with the Warthog Group, under the command of 30 Commando Royal Marines, taking part in a wide variety of operations across the Task Force Helmand area.

In the early hours of Thursday 16 June 2011, D Squadron deployed to target insurgents operating from an area in the north of Helmand province.

During the operation, a Warthog vehicle struck an improvised explosive device which disabled the vehicle and injured its crew. As the Recovery Mechanic, Craftsman Found was assessing the damage to the vehicle when he was caught in a secondary explosion in which he was fatally wounded.

Craftsman Found was married to Samantha and they had one son, Jaxson. He was also father to Michael from a previous relationship.

Craftsman Found’s wife, Mrs Samantha Found, paid the following tribute:

You’re my husband, my best friend and are my world. I cannot explain my pain and the hole you have left in all our lives. You are the best husband anyone could have wished for; a great dad, friend, and you have touched the hearts of many in your life.

You loved your job, your family and friends and always loved a good joke. You always made me smile. I will love you always and forever. You where my rock and my hero and always will be. I love you so much.

Craftsman Found’s parents, Jennifer and Alan Found, and his brother Simon Found paid the following tribute:

Andrew is our son, a brother, a husband, a dad, a nephew, a cousin, a grandson, a friend and a soldier.

Andrew died doing the job he loved. Even though we are all in pain now, we will remember the fun, the laughter and all the love he brought to all the people he knew and loved.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Biggart, Commanding Officer, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG), said:

Craftsman Andrew Found was an intelligent, selfless and brave soldier as well as a devoted family man. As a Recovery Mechanic within the Light Aid Detachment of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, which he joined in February 2010, his role was a particularly important one but his natural talent, dedication and commitment made him all the more unique.

His professionalism was not limited to his core role within the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; it was apparent in all that he did as a soldier, a craftsman and a brother-in-arms.

I first saw Craftsman Found shortly after he joined SCOTS DG training on the prairies of Canada in May 2010. Easily recognisable as one of the tallest men in the regiment, his soft Yorkshire tones completed the aura of a gentle giant.

He quickly fitted into his new regiment and became part of the close-knit team which is a Squadron Fitter Section. The strong impression he first made continued throughout the following year of training and into our deployment to Afghanistan.

Craftsman Found was killed by the blast of an improvised explosive device while doing the job he loved and was so very good at. He was coming to the rescue of his squadron comrades to recover a Warthog armoured vehicle damaged in an earlier blast.

Right up until his final moments, the example he set, together with his wit, kept his fellow soldiers going under very difficult and demanding conditions. His sacrifice was in the finest traditions of both his Corps and his regiment.

It was for others that Craftsman Found gave his young life, and his memory will live on, both within the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, whom he served so loyally and with such pride.

There is no more fitting a motto that that of his Corps - ‘Arte et Marte’, ‘by Skill and by Fighting’. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Samantha, their young son Jaxson and his elder son Michael.

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Stovin-Bradford Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 30 Commando Royal Marines, said:

Craftsman Andrew Found was essential to the efforts of 30 Commando in Afghanistan. He was a specialist, tasked with keeping the Warthog fighting vehicle on the road; a difficult and demanding job that he routinely carried out in the most challenging circumstances.

Craftsman Andrew Found was killed by the blast from an improvised explosive device while assessing damage to a vehicle stricken by an earlier device within the Nahr-e Saraj (North) area of central Helmand.

He had been operating there as part of a larger operation in support of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, on a task aimed at disrupting the activity of known high value insurgents in the area.

The Warthog Group has been involved in many high tempo operations at range and risk since the start of the tour and has become critical to the success of these difficult tasks.

As an integral member of the patrol, as well as a specialist, Craftsman Andrew Found knew the vital nature of his job only too well, and as part of a small committed group ensured that these battle-winning vehicles were always available to support operations.

The untimely loss of this first-class soldier and committed family man reverberates deeply, but we will continue as he did, undeterred. His commitment to his job and his family was absolute. Our thoughts are with them at this time.

Major Jonathan Williamson, Officer Commanding D Squadron (Warthog Group), Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Andrew Found was preparing to extract a stricken Warthog vehicle from the scene of an improvised explosive device blast when he lost his life. He was dismounted and assessing the damage, and typically doing so without a thought for his own safety.

It is testament to his bravery that despite having been involved in previous improvised explosive device events on Operation HERRICK 10, he was still one of the first on the scene of this blast. His actions were exactly what I would have expected of the very highest calibre of soldier.

Craftsman Andrew Found joined D Squadron in August 2010 as a recovery mechanic for the Warthog Group. A strikingly tall man, always smiling, he made an immediate positive impact and I well remember, on a squadron run, marvelling at how such a tall man could run so quickly and apparently without effort.

He was a true character, never afraid to make his opinions known. He was mature, a dedicated family man, and when he spoke it was worth listening.

It is extremely hard to put into words the profound sense of loss amongst the officers and soldiers of D Squadron at the tragic death of Craftsman Andrew Found. The link between armoured soldiers and their recovery mechanics is always strong and cap badges quickly become irrelevant.

Craftsman Andrew Found was one of our own and we miss him keenly. My thoughts are with his wife Samantha, his children Michael and Jaxson, and with his family.

Captain Andrew Mackay, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Officer Commanding Light Aid Detachment, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Andy Found joined the Light Aid Detachment in February 2010. Deploying in short order to Canada on exercise in support of Challenger 2 tanks on the rolling plains of Alberta.

As a Recovery Mechanic, Craftsman Found spent countless hours on the ground conducting tireless back-breaking work recovering stricken or bogged in vehicles; often in the snow and rain, often covered in mud, but always with a smile.

He took particular pride in recovering the then Officer Commanding who rolled his vehicle in treacherous weather conditions. Craftsman Found seized the opportunity to get one-up on his ‘boss’, with his tales of the affair and witty quips earning him great kudos with the other blokes. He was one of the few who could get away with it.

Throughout his deployment to Canada, Mission Specific Training for Afghanistan, and this deployment to Helmand province, Craftsman Found took everything in his stride.

In the rigours of Helmand he came into his own, cementing his Fitter Section with his calming influence and leading by example with his selfless bravery. He was a uniquely easy-going character, who I never saw fazed, and who tackled life as a consummate professional with a beaming smile.

Craftsman Found will be remembered as a towering, grease- and oil-covered, fiercely proud Recovery Mechanic, and, above all, a staunch family man. My thoughts go out to his wife Samantha, his sons Michael and Jaxson, his family, and the wider Recovery Mechanic brotherhood. He will not be forgotten. Arte et Marte.

Captain Jamie Irwin, Second-in-Command, D (Warthog) Squadron, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Found was a cornerstone of the D Squadron Fitter Section and the squadron itself. He was reliable, steadfast and a true credit to his cap badge and the squadron with which he served. Never failing in his duty to his colleagues and friends, he demonstrated leadership and a knowledge that far exceeded that expected of his rank, and which clearly marked him out for greater things.

The loss of D Squadron’s ‘Gentle Giant’ has been felt acutely by all ranks. He was an inspiration not just to his colleagues in the squadron Fitter Section, but to all he worked with. Never complaining and always taking on any task with relish and enthusiasm, he applied himself fully to the job in hand, whether he was elbows-deep in an engine, or working out of role as a troop dismount.

We have lost a true hero. Craftsman Found will be forever remembered as the epitome of professionalism, and will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, wife and two young sons at this very difficult time.

Second Lieutenant Alistair Reith, Second Troop Leader, D (Warthog) Squadron, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Found was an exceptional soldier who loved his role as a Recovery Mechanic. He took great pride in his job and conducted himself with the utmost professionalism. He had a sharp wit and maintained his sense of humour at the toughest of times. Craftsman Found will be greatly missed by every member of Second Troop.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Ian Lamb, Regimental Sergeant Major, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Found’s death will be deeply felt by all members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. He will be dearly missed by all who have had the privilege of meeting and working with him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

Warrant Officer Class 1 John Buck, Artificer Sergeant Major, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), Light Aid Detachment, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Andy Found was a very shy, polite, quiet and unassuming guy, rather unlike most Recovery Mechanics. He absolutely loved his job and was completely trustworthy and professional in whatever circumstance, be it out on operations, on exercise or in barracks.

He even earned respect from his highly experienced boss which was no mean feat. As a tradesman he far surpassed the qualities required as a Craftsman who would always go the extra mile and was one of the shining stars within the Light Aid Detachment and the Corps. He was set to go far.

The first time I met Andy was in Canada on exercise. This big six feet six inches tall wiry bloke with a massive smile beaming from his face approached me and as we chatted we discovered we were both from Whitby.

This led to much banter about which was the best school and the best side of town to live. Obviously neither of us would back down and it cemented our friendship.

He was devoted to his beloved wife Samantha and his baby son Jaxson. Our thoughts go to them and his parents during this tragic time. He will be sorely missed by all his REME brothers at SCOTS DG Light Aid Detachment but never forgotten. Arte et Marte.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Damian Lockwood, D Squadron Sergeant Major, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Found constantly caught my eye during squadron parades, standing head and shoulders above the remainder of the Fitter Section. He often stood bolt upright, with the sun in his eyes and with a cheeky grin, deliberately avoiding my stare.

He was a hardworking individual who enjoyed nothing more than getting stuck into the job at hand. He had already served in Afghanistan, which made him one of the more experienced soldiers within D Squadron.

He was a devoted family man who in conversation would constantly refer to his beloved family. He will be sadly missed in D Squadron. My thoughts go out to his wife Samantha, his two children, and to the rest of his family at this terrible time of loss.

Staff Sergeant Scott Percy, Second Troop Staff Sergeant, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Found was a credit to his Corps. His attitude and approach to every situation was of the highest standard. Although a Recovery Mechanic, he helped with all REME tasks and described himself as the Troop’s ‘Track Specialist’, much to our amusement. A larger than life character who will be sorely missed.

Staff Sergeant Philip Graham, Artificer Vehicles, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Andrew Found was held in the highest possible regard by all in the Fitter Section for his good humour, dependability and no nonsense approach. His physical stature, all six feet six inches of it, couldn’t match the size of his personality and fine humour.

A proud Yorkshireman by heart, he was straight-talking and went about his business in a pragmatic manner. As a Recovery Mechanic he had my full confidence, trust and most importantly respect. This was in no small part due to his professionalism, experience and frank assessment of a situation.

Having already served in Afghanistan he was an inspiring figure for junior members of the Fitter Section and squadron and helped in their preparation for deployment on Operation HERRICK 14. This inspiration was never more evident than in his final moments. Outside the camp gates, Craftsman Andrew Found was an indisputable family man.

He was utterly devoted to his wife Samantha and his children. He treasured the time spent with them and was always happiest when in their presence. Our hearts and thoughts are with them during this time of unimaginable grief and uncertainty. On our behalf Andy, goodnight and God bless you. You made us all proud.

Staff Sergeant Matt Chisholm, Artificer, Light Aid Detachment, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Andy Found was one of life’s characters; large in presence and in personality. My enduring memory of him without a doubt will be his huge grin; regardless of what was going on around him, Andy’s sense of humour always seemed to shine through.

Be it wading through rivers on the Confirmatory Field Exercise, or pulling vehicles out of ditches, whatever he was doing, he was the consummate professional.

He will be sorely missed by all of us and my thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family. Safe onward journey my friend.

Sergeant Deian Roberts, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

In my eyes, Andy was ‘The REME Soldier’ personified. Many a time he demonstrated this by his willingness to go the extra mile, regardless of the situation. He epitomised the ethos of the REME, and will always be remembered as a fun-loving and hardworking soldier. My thoughts go out to his family that are left behind at this sad time. Farewell my friend.

Corporal Iain Mackenzie, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

To me, Andy was a great tradesman, always willing to learn new things and often coming up with very good solutions to problems we encountered on the ground. He was a very strong character and always knew how to get the best out of a bad situation. He had a great sense of humour and knew how to use it well.

I know that he was a great husband and father because, whenever he got the chance, he was on the phone to his wife and newborn boy, always ending the call with ‘I love you’, even in front of the lads. He was a great friend and colleague and will be sadly missed by all.

Corporal Bernie Smyth, Light Aid Detachment, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

In the short time I spent working with Craftsman Andy (too tall) Found I found him to be one of the hardest workers I’ve come across. His knowledge of his trade was well above what was expected of such a young man. He would no doubt have flown up the ranks.

He was quick-witted and had a surprisingly gentle character for a man of his size. A dedicated family man he would always be the first out of the gate to be with his young family. The last time I saw him he was showing off his new baby and I have never seen such a proud father.

I, along with the entire Recovery Mechanic fraternity, am gutted and we send our deepest condolences to all his family and friends.

Corporal Greg Main, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Farewell Big Andy. You will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to your family. I know you will be looking over us all.

Lance Corporal Kevin Anderson, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

‘Too Tall’, ‘Big and Daft’, ‘Egor’, ‘Stretch’, ‘Avatar’ and more recently ‘ISTAR’. The man had more nicknames than any other man in NATO. His size made him an instant legend, only matched by the size of his heart and his smile. He was a true gentle giant.

I’ve known him for four years. He was a fantastic friend who would do anything for anyone. We deployed on Operation HERRICK 10 together as part of 10 Armoured Company Recovery Platoon, when Andy managed to walk away after hitting an improvised explosive device in his Support Vehicle Recovery.

He was an outstanding tradesman; a Class Two Recovery Mechanic who was head and shoulders above his peers, not only in height, but also knowledge, professionalism, experience and maturity. He was a very popular guy in and out of work, and was an instant hit with anyone who met him.

Lance Corporal Stu Little, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Andy, what an amazing bloke, a true character and always up for a laugh. You will be dearly missed always. My thoughts go out to your family. PS ‘Keep winching’.

Lance Corporal David Brawn, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

I worked alongside Andy for the last 18 months. He was the Recovery Mechanic on our vehicle in Afghanistan and a massive character. Even when he didn’t get enough sleep, and was a really grumpy bugger, he still managed to make us laugh. He always had a sarcastic comment no matter the subject, especially when he had no knowledge of the subject itself.

He was a fantastic friend to me. No matter how down I got with the workload he’d still manage to make me laugh with a simple one word comment. He was a big part of my life. I was the one who lovingly gave him the nickname ‘Avatar’ as if you were to paint him blue he’d pretty much be one.

I was there with Andy at the end. He was doing what he loved: his job. Professional to the end and a fantastic friend, I loved him like a brother. I send my love and support to his family in their time of loss. Our prayers are with you. All my love.

Lance Corporal Matty Essex, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

In the War on Terror, many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands and wives. Two families share this loss on two different front lines. Home or away, we are united by these people, our heroes forever in our hearts and our minds.

Don’t remember the sound of the stillness. Remember their smile and laugh as they live on inside us all. Andy always missed, never forgotten. Watch out over your family as we all think of them.

You were always a good mate and the first to start the banter with anyone in the area. You loved your job and pushed anyone out of the way to do it. Loved you mate. Will never forget you.

Trooper Ruraidh ‘Watty’ Watson, Second Troop, D Squadron (Warthog Group), Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Andy, where to start? I’m going to miss you mate but never forget you. I’m going to miss our constant banter battles when I was trying to do some ‘spannering’. You were one in a million.

My thoughts and prayers are with your family, and wee Michael and Jaxson will grow up to be so proud of you. You are a hero. Sleep tight buddy.

Trooper Lewis ‘Wrighty’ Wright, Second Troop, D Squadron (Warthog Group), Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Andy, Andy, Andy. What a brilliant guy. You were always the heart and soul of the 21 Packet as our TS or ‘Track Specialist’. You were an amazing friend and an even better dad. Your kids will be so proud of you. My deepest sympathy is with your family and friends. RIP Big Man. All my love.

Trooper Danny ‘Archie’ Gemmell, Second Troop, D Squadron (Warthog Group), Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Andy (Avatar), going to miss you mate. My thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to all your family and friends. You were a great soldier and an even better friend. You will be missed mate but, rest assured, never forgotten. Love you loads Track Master.

Craftsman Ieuan ‘Ginge’ Davies, D Squadron (Warthog Group) Fitter Section, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

You were an amazing mate. It was a privilege to know and work with you. You were always up for a laugh. I remember us play fighting on ranges even though you’re like seven feet tall and I’m like four feet. RIP Big Man. You’ll be missed but never forgotten. My deepest sympathy to all your family. All my love.

Trooper Harry Chadwick, Second Troop, D Squadron (Warthog Group), Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, said:

Craftsman Andy Found was a great friend and colleague and was a morale asset for the squadron. Known for his great height, he was still the hardest working Craftsman in NATO.

Whether he was dragging your wagon out of a lake which looked like a puddle, or pulling you off a collapsed bridge, he was always ready to put 100 per cent effort in. He will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with his wife and sons.

Andy Found, gone but never forgotten. We loved him but God loves him more.

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

I was very saddened to learn of the death of Craftsman Andrew Found, a soldier whose professionalism, talent and dedication to duty is very clear from the warm tributes paid by his colleagues and commanders.

His loss will be felt by all those he worked alongside. My thoughts and prayers are with Craftsman Found’s family and friends at this very difficult time.

Published 17 June 2011