Operations in Afghanistan

Craftsman Anthony Lombardi killed in Afghanistan

It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Craftsman Anthony Lombardi of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), attached to The Light Dragoons, in Afghanistan on Tuesday 4 August 2009.

Craftsman (Cfn) Lombardi was killed in Babaji, in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province. He was attached as a vehicle mechanic to Emsdorf Troop, a CVR(T) [Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked)] group from The Light Dragoons serving with A Company, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters & Foresters) (2 MERCIAN).

Craftsman Anthony Lombardi (All rights reserved.)
Craftsman Anthony Lombardi of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (All rights reserved.)

Cfn Lombardi was driving a CVR(T) Spartan as part of an escort for a Viking supply convoy, moving between the company’s two locations when the vehicle was hit by an explosion.

Craftsman Anthony Lombardi

Cfn Lombardi was born on 8 October 1987 and grew up in Scunthorpe, South Humberside. He joined the Army in September 2004 and finished training at the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Bordon in February 2006. He was then posted to 15 Equipment Support Company, 19 Light Brigade Combat Service Support Battalion, as a vehicle mechanic where he furthered his knowledge of the trade. After qualifying as a Class 2 mechanic, he was posted to The Light Dragoons Light Aid Detachment (LAD) in July 2008.

Known as ‘Lombo’ to his friends, Cfn Lombardi was a talented sportsman and represented the Army Youth Team and the REME at football.

He is survived by his parents, Helen and Walter, and his fiancee, Ellie, with whom he had a one-year-old son, Harvey.

Anthony’s family paid the following tribute:

Anthony was a loving son, brother, father, uncle and fiance. Everyone who loved Anthony is proud of him for who he was and for what he was doing in the Army.

Everyone is gutted that such a talented, wonderful and popular person is now missing from their lives and his son will never grow up and understand what an amazing star Anthony was. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

Lieutenant Colonel Gus Fair, Commanding Officer of The Light Dragoons, said:

Cfn Lombardi had all the qualities one would expect of a REME soldier - intelligent, driven and a brilliant mechanic. More than that, though, he was the life and soul of his peer group. Always at the centre of any social event, he applied the same vigour and enthusiasm for life to his work. No matter how little sleep he had, or how complicated and lengthy his repair was, Cfn Lombardi would have a smile on his face and an infectious enthusiasm that carried his section forward. He was hugely popular and undoubtedly had the potential to go far.

We have been privileged to have a soldier of this singular quality attached to the regiment and we, along with his many close friends in the REME, will feel his loss deeply. All of our thoughts remain with his family; his parents, Helen and Walter, and his fiancee and their young son, Harvey. We are desperately sorry for this terrible loss.

Captain Dave Bunker, Officer Commanding The Light Dragoons’ LAD, said.

Cfn Lombardi, or Lombo to his many friends, was an inspiration. I first met him on Salisbury Plain in June 2008 where he was attached to the LAD from 15 Equipment Support Company. It was there that I first saw the quality of this young and talented man. He was the perfect tradesman; fit, bold, cheerful and incredibly bright. He was desperate to come to The Light Dragoons and with his ability and character he was welcomed with open arms.

He touched so many people during his life. His beaming smile and sense of fun lit up the lives of all who he encountered. His very presence motivated everyone to give their best. His prowess with a spanner was only matched by his skills on the dancefloor where he truly astounded us all. He was an avid footballer who played for the Army Youth Team and at every other opportunity.

Cfn Lombardi was an expert on CVR(T) and he kept his troop moving through thick and thin. I was utterly confident in knowing that when he was with the troop, that the job would be done to the highest of standards and in record time. Cfn Lombardi died [while serving] with his friends, while doing a tough job with determination and considerable style.

He was truly marked for greatness and had an abundance of artificer qualities. He was a true credit to the REME and the gift of his presence amongst us can never be replaced.

The loss of Cfn Lombardi has been felt deeply by his many friends and he will always be in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and, in particular, his much loved fiancee, Ellie, and their son, Harvey.

Major Paddy Ginn, Officer Commanding A (Grenadier Company), 2 MERCIAN, said:

Cfn Lombardi was in Emsdorf Troop, attached to A (Grenadier) Company for Op HERRICK. As his Company Commander I was amazed by his abilities both as a soldier and a skilled craftsman. He had the rarely seen ability to be the master of both trades. Truly selfless, he would think nothing of working through the night to repair the CVR(T) vehicles that the company relied on for support. That the vehicles never failed is a direct result of his awesome capacity for hard work.

Always cheerful, he was never fazed by the engineering problems that the lads of Emsdorf Troop presented him. But he could also soldier with the best of the infantry, and would volunteer for the toughest patrols and operations. His cheerful character and good humour were a source of comfort in the tough times that the company has faced on this tour.

However bad the lads feel at his loss, it is nothing compared to the feelings of his family and fiancee. Our thoughts are with them in this most difficult of times. He was a top lad who will be sorely missed by all that had the privilege of serving with him. God rest, Lombo; you made a mark on all of us that will never be forgotten.

Lieutenant Tresham Gregg, Emsdorf Troop Leader, said:

Cfn Lombardi, ‘Lombo’ for short, had an infinite amount of enthusiasm for life. He was a devoted partner to his fiancee, Ellie, and a loving father to his son, Harvey, whom Lombo was always keen and proud to talk about. He was also the most extremely talented soldier with an exceptional knowledge of his trade. I know this first hand having tested his ability to fix my vehicles on numerous occasions during these last four months in Afghanistan. He never failed to come up trumps no matter how hard I tried!

Lombo was a soldier who never complained no matter what was asked of him. He seemed to excel when put under pressure and offer advice and help as and when it was needed. I could not have asked for a better individual to have had in my troop. He had an incredibly caring character that was able to enthuse morale back into the whole troop in all situations.

It was a distinct pleasure to have known and worked with Cfn Lombardi and a real privilege to have had such a professional soldier under my command.

Whilst in Afghanistan I had a number of conversations with Lombo during which he told me that he had plans of buying a house with his fiancee and that he could not wait to see his son Harvey on his return from theatre. I had so much admiration for his dedication and love towards his friends and family. For this reason my heart goes out to all his loved ones during this terribly sad time.

This disastrous loss of Cfn Lombardi will always be in my mind. He was an individual with so much to offer in everything he did and thus was destined to be a success both in the Army and at home.

Speaking for the whole of Emsdorf Troop, we will always cherish the short time we knew this remarkable individual. Lombo, our friend, you will never be forgotten. Rest in peace.

Warrant Officer Class Two Willy Willcoxson, Light Dragoons’ LAD Artificer Quartermaster Sergeant, said.

I first met Cfn Anthony Lombardi (Lombo) when he was part of a Forward Repair Team from 19 CSS [Combat Service Support] Battalion and was attached to The Light Dragoons during regimental training in 2008. He was one of those irrepressible vehicle mechanics who were never really happy unless he was tired, dirty and elbow-deep in an engine. He impressed the LAD so much that when he suggested that he wanted a posting to us, we simply had to have him.

On arrival he was immediately within his element, deploying all over the UK training and supporting the regiment’s training. His cheerful and exuberant character immediately bonded him into a close-knit Squadron Fitter Section and LAD.

Lombo was an Army Youth Team footballer and also represented the REME. He was ‘Mr Entertainment’ at social functions and never declined the challenge of a dance-off. He was fiercely proud of his fiancee, Ellie, and his son, Harvey, who was his pride and joy.

His passing is felt tremendously within The Light Dragoons family and especially the LAD who recognised a soldier and friend who was always in the thick of the action.

Staff Sergeant Baz Hall, C Squadron Artificer, said.

Cfn ‘Lombo’ Lombardi was a young man with a very promising future ahead of him. His ‘work hard/play hard’ attitude made him very popular both in and out of work. I am very proud to have known him, to have worked with him and to have called him a friend. Words cannot describe the loss that we all feel because such an outstanding friend, soldier and tradesman has been taken from us.

Our thoughts go out to his family, especially his fiancee, Ellie, and baby son, Harvey, who will now never experience the love that he had for him. Rest in peace Lombo.

Sergeant Shaun Stockley, C Squadron Sergeant and Cfn Lombardi’s Vehicle Commander for three months in Afghanistan, said:

He was the top Craftsman Vehicle Mechanic in The Light Dragoons LAD. Fact. He was a great sportsman, a great tradesman and a great friend. He lived life with the passion that it deserved. The little that I do know about CVR(T) was all thanks to him. He would take great pleasure in reversing my repair decisions knowing full well that he was right. He never glorified or revelled in war, he knew that it was serious business. He was there to support the troop and his mates, always cracking on with the job regardless of the circumstances. He was always first to offer a hand, ‘your problem’ would soon become ‘our problem’ and he would stay until the last nut and bolt was tightened. He will be greatly missed by his work colleagues and The Light Dragoons whom he supported.

He loved his young family so much; I realised this long before the hundredth time that he had shown me his family pictures, and always with such great pride. It may be little consolation to his parents at this sad time, but he was a son that any man would have been proud of.

Staff Sergeant Michael Ogilvie, friend from The Light Dragoons’ LAD, said:

Mischievous smile, life and soul of the party, hard-working, professional, dedicated and socially awesome. All of these things describe Lombo and a million other flattering words as well. What is easier said is that we are all lucky people as we met this inspiring young man and are all richer for it. Lombo. Loved by all, missed by all.

Corporal James Short, a Vehicle Commander in Emsdorf Troop, The Light Dragoons, said:

Cfn Lombardi, or Lombo as he was known, was a key part of Emsdorf Troop. Without his skill and commitment to his trade Emsdorf Troop wouldn’t have been able to function. I know how committed he was when he worked flat out all through the night on my vehicle after I submerged it, not letting us work on it so we could get some rest. This was a real testament to his character. We always turned to him when we needed any advice on the vehicles.

Not only a truly gifted mechanic but he was also a keen soldier who never ticked or whinged but just got on with it.

Lombo was a keen and gifted footballer who represented the REME Corps side and was keen to get stuck into The Light Dragoons side when he got back from tour. He was a proud father to his son Harvey and was looking forward to getting a house with his fiancee.

He was a credit to the REME, The Light Dragoons and the Army. Lombo you were a top lad, a true grafter and a friend to everyone. We’ll never forget you mate.

Lance Corporal John Cartwright, a friend from The Light Dragoons’ LAD, said:

I first met Lombo while at The Light Dragoons’ LAD. I instantly knew that we were going to become friends, as he was one of the easiest-going people that I have ever met. Lombo always had a little something about him that could see the good in any task, no matter how meaningless it may have seemed. Yet he always carried it out with a smile on his face, even when everybody else couldn’t.

To have worked with Lombo is an absolute honour but to be able to call him a friend, words cannot describe. He will be missed dearly by everybody who knew him and I am sure that he will never be forgotten. My thoughts go out to his family and friends at this very difficult time.

Craftsman Stefan Rossi, a friend, said:

Lombo was so easy to get along with and always having a laugh! I remember one time out on the ground at around three in the morning and we had a job on a CVR(T) to do. I was absolutely knackered and had no enthusiasm for the job, but Lombo was well up for it. He kept smiling and making me laugh. He boosted my morale and we were able to complete the job in no time. Cfn Lombardi was an awesome soldier and an awesome vehicle mechanic. I would work with him anytime in any conditions.

Lance Corporal Damo Crick, a friend from The Light Dragoons’ LAD, said:

I first met Lombo on my arrival at The Light Dragoons where he was the first person to welcome me into the workshop. As soon as I met him I knew we would get on well. He had an awesome sense of humour and loved playing pranks on people as well as looking after his friends, as he did with me one night after I had a few too many. He was a joy to work with and his enthusiasm never dropped no matter what task was given to him, the time of day or whether he was tired. He would just get on with it with the same unforgettable smile that he always had.

It has been an absolute honour to have worked with Lombo and also to have had him as a friend. Everyone in the LAD will miss him dearly and he will always be in our thoughts, as will be his family and friends. I am very sorry for your loss.

Corporal Derek Meffen, a friend, said:

Cfn Lombardi was one of the finest craftsmen I have ever worked alongside. It was obvious to me at an early stage that he had what it takes to go a long way within the REME. He would never complain even when it was 0530 in the morning and he was stuck upside down in the hull of a CVR(T) on Salisbury Plain. He had such a great sense of humour and was always smiling.

I remember when he told me he was going to be a dad and he was so proud, I think he was smiling for a full month. It is such a shame that his life was taken from him so early as he was one of the best. My heart goes out to his fiancee and young child as well as his family. Goodbye Lombo; you were a great friend. Gone for now but never forgotten.

Craftsman Luke Keenan, a friend, said:

Cfn Lombardi and I started basic training together and became very good friends. From the first time I met Cfn Lombardi he was a great source of morale. He had an awesome sense of humour, and coming from ‘Sunny Scunny’ as he called it I guess he needed it. We nicknamed him ‘Balboa’, but for the life of me I cannot remember why. He was never one to let the lads down and he was always there to help anyone out if they needed it.

I last saw Craftsman Lombardi at his new posting in Swanton Morley with The Light Dragoons. He hadn’t changed a bit and, as always, was surrounded by good friends having a laugh and a joke. Cfn Lombardi was proud to announce to me that he recently had a child with his loving fiancee. My thoughts and prayers go out to them both and his whole family in this time of need.

Goodbye Balboa, you will be sorely missed.

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, said:

I was very saddened to learn of the death of Craftsman Anthony Lombardi. From the tributes of his friends and commanders he comes across as having been a hugely positive force in his unit; enthusiastic, talented and committed, and with a bright future ahead of him. I can only offer my deepest sympathy and respect to the grieving family of a man who died doing such vital work for us all.