With deepest regret, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the names of Fusilier Donal Anthony Meade and Fusilier Stephen Robert Manning, who died in Iraq on 5 September 2005.
On the morning of 5 September, 20 year old Fusilier Donal Anthony Meade, from Plumstead in South East London, and 22 year old Fusilier Stephen Robert Manning, from Erith in Kent, died as a result of wounds sustained during a patrol near Az Zubayr, Basrah province, Iraq. Their Company, C Company, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is currently serving alongside the Coldstream Guards in Basrah Province, Southern Iraq.
Fusilier Meade and Fusilier Manning were both acting as top cover sentries in the first vehicle of a two vehicle patrol, when what appears to have been an improvised explosive device detonated. Their vehicle was disabled, and both soldiers were mortally wounded. Fusilier Meade and Fusilier Manning were the only two casualties.
On being informed of the incident, Defence Secretary John Reid said:
I would like to offer my sympathy and personal condolences to the families of the two service personnel who lost their lives in Iraq. It is deeply tragic that they have been killed whilst carrying out their duty.
Fusilier Stephen Robert Manning
The Officer Commanding C Company, Major Matthew Thorp, has paid the following tribute to Fusilier Manning:
May I start by expressing my most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Fusilier Manning.
In the two years with the Fusiliers in both Belfast and Iraq, Fusilier Manning had made many friends in both C and D Companies and across the Battalion, he will be sorely missed by them all. It was typical of Stephen’s love of his profession and dedication that he volunteered to deploy with C Company to Iraq in April.
At the end of the six month tour he was due to return to D Company, and was looking forward to a bright future and life with the Battalion in Cyprus.
Above all, his many friends in the Company and across the Regiment remember his generosity of spirit, and his cheerfulness.
The thoughts and prayers of the whole Company are with his family and friends at this terrible time.
Fusilier Manning’s family issued the following statement:
Stephen was a loving son and grandson who will be deeply missed. He was proud to be a soldier and died doing the job that he loved. As a family we would now ask that the media respect our privacy at this most difficult time”.
Fusilier Donal Anthony Meade
On behalf of the Company, Major Thorp also expressed his most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Fusilier Meade, and paid the following tribute:
Born in Plymouth, on the Island of Montserrat, Fusilier Meade joined the Fusiliers in 2002. During his three years with the Battalion in Britain, Northern Ireland and Iraq he made a great many friends within C Company and across the wider Battalion. Those who knew him best and closest were most aware of his fantastic sense of humour, his ability to laugh or crack a joke in any situation. He will be sorely missed by us all.
He knew the importance of the work he was doing in Iraq, and approached it with dedication and professionalism. He was looking forward to moving with the Battalion to Cyprus at the end of the six month tour.
All who knew him in the Company and across the Regiment remember his cheerfulness, his positive approach to life and above all his friendship.
His family and friends are in the thoughts and prayers of the whole Company at this difficult time.
Fusilier Meade’s family said:
The family are tremendously proud of Donal and couldn’t ask for a better son. Donal will be deeply missed, but we take comfort in that he died doing a job he loved. We would now request privacy so that we can come to accept what has happened.
The Commanding Officer of 2nd Regiment Royal Fusiliers, Lt Col John Whitwam MBE, who is based in Belfast, said:
The whole of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers mourns the tragic loss of these two fine young men. Both were volunteers to serve in Iraq with C Company of 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Both enjoyed the excitement, the sense of purpose and the camaraderie. They understood the dangers but were proud to be soldiers and recognised that they were doing a difficult, occasionally thankless but always worthwhile job. We offer our sincere condolences to their families.