Operations in Afghanistan

Fusilier Shaun Bush dies of wounds sustained in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Fusilier Shaun Bush from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers died at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Selly Oak, on Tuesday 25 August 2009.

Fusilier Shaun Bush (All rights reserved.)
Fusilier Shaun Bush, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (All rights reserved.)

Fusilier Bush died of wounds he had sustained in Afghanistan. He had been taking part in a foot patrol in Sangin district, Helmand province, on Saturday 15 August when an explosive device detonated, killing his colleague Sergeant Simon Valentine.

Fusilier Bush was attempting to rescue Sergeant Valentine in the aftermath of this, when there was a second explosion.

Fusilier Bush sustained serious injuries and was returned to Selly Oak for treatment. Sadly, despite the best efforts of medical staff, he lost his fight for life ten days later.

Fusilier Shaun Bush

Fusilier Shaun Bush was born on 17 May 1985 and grew up in Warwickshire. At 21 years of age he joined his local regiment, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. On completion of his training at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) Catterick he passed out as a Fusilier and reported for duty to 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2 RRF) in Cyprus.

Fusilier Bush, known as ‘Bushy’ to his friends, saw his first operational tour in Afghanistan when his platoon went to Kabul as part of the Theatre Reserve Battalion in early 2007.

On return to Cyprus, Fusilier Bush went on to complete a sharpshooter course, the first step to becoming a sniper. He then returned home to Warwickshire for a few months where he worked in the recruiting office in Bramcote and helped recruit the next generation of Fusiliers.

Fusilier Bush then returned to the battalion which had subsequently moved to Hounslow in West London and immediately started to return to form as a battalion boxer.

Having been an indomitable boxer in Cyprus, where he won his fight in the annual regimental boxing competition, he returned to the team and spent many hours training hard for his next fight. His real passion in life though was football. A life-long Coventry City fan, he also cut an impressive figure on the pitch whilst playing with the battalion football team.

Fusilier Bush, a keen soldier, worked hard in the field and especially in the build up to his second tour of Afghanistan. After several hard live firing exercises in Otterburn, and other pre-deployment training, Fusilier Bush deployed with his platoon to Sangin in Helmand province. Fusilier Bush was from Coventry.

Fusilier Bush’s father, Carl, paid the following tribute:

Shaun was an extremely brave soldier who died while doing the job that he loved. He wanted to serve with the Army from a very young age. Shaun was a tremendous athlete who excelled at both football and boxing.

He was a kind and generous man who was very family-orientated and he would not hesitate to help others in need. He was extremely proud of his sister Hannah and brother Lewis. He will be sorely missed by both his friends and family.

Fusilier Bush’s girlfriend, Amy Taggart, said:

Shaun was more than just my boyfriend, he was my best friend. He was my first and only true love. He taught me what true love is. I’ll never stop loving him and I know he’ll always love me, because he was true to his word and would always say what he thought.

I feel lost without him already; his gorgeous face, his beautiful eyes, the smell of his hair and the sound of his voice. I’ll never forget any of these things and there are so many more things that I have to remind me of him.

I don’t know what I will do without my soul mate, the man of my dreams, my perfect match. I am devastated to have lost him, but so proud to have known him; to have shared part of my life with him and to say that he was mine. My beautiful brave hero. xxx

Fusilier Bush’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Calder, 2 RRF, said:

Showing outstanding courage and dedication to duty, Fusilier Shaun Bush was severely wounded by an IED [improvised explosive device] trying to move forward to save his Platoon Sergeant.

It is a great tragedy that despite the best efforts of everyone in the medical chain his injuries were just too great for him to recover. It is small comfort to know that he died in the company of his closest family.

He is remembered as a true friend to many, a talented boxer and a rock solid soldier. The most sincere and heartfelt condolences from everyone in 2 RRF go to his family at this most difficult time.

Major Darren Denning, Chief of Staff, 2 RIFLES (2nd Battalion The Rifles) Battle Group, said:

Fusilier Bush was at the heart of his platoon and company and was in every sense a fighter. Demonstrated by his prowess in the ring and evident in his willingness to ‘grasp the nettle’, he acted decisively and courageously, coming to the aid of his comrades.

That he was to die of wounds received whilst demonstrating such courage is typical of the man. He will be remembered for his wicked sense of fun and ‘can do’ attitude. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends who we pray will find the strength to face this unimaginably difficult time.

His Company Commander, Major Jo Butterfill, Officer Commanding A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

Blessed with a quiet maturity beyond his years and a truly kind and generous nature, Fusilier Bush was liked and admired by all who knew him. A stalwart of 2 Platoon since I took over the company, he impressed me from the first with his extraordinary willingness to do the right thing by others, even at the expense of his own interests.

He had been right at the very front of the company throughout this tour, putting his own life on the line on a daily basis to protect his friends. It is absolutely typical of him that he received the injuries that were eventually to result in his death while moving forward into danger in the attempt to rescue a grievously wounded comrade.

His tragic death, which has occurred some time after he was injured, has come as a particular shock and sadness. It is of some comfort that, thanks to the efforts of his friends in 2 Platoon and the medical chain, he died in the UK in the company of his family. They are in our thoughts at this dreadful time.

Captain Clive Musson, Company Second-in-Command, C Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

Fusilier Bush was one of those rare men that did not have a single bad bone within his body. From the moment he joined the Army and reported for training at Catterick he was instantly well-liked by all those fortunate enough to encounter him.

It is no surprise that this continued when he joined the battalion in Cyprus. A keen soldier, he rapidly developed and proved himself time and time again, earning the respect of all Fusiliers, no matter their rank.

A keen boxer, who represented A Company at the inter-company battalion boxing competition on several occasions, he showed true grit, strength and determination; qualities he had in abundance.

I last saw Fusilier Bush in Bastion on his return from R&R [Rest & Recuperation], where he lost no time in reminding me of his quick wit and fantastic sense of humour. It is this I will remember most.

His love of his family was clearly evident, he always placed them first, ensuring they were well looked after and cared for. It is to them that my deepest condolences and prayers go at this most devastating time. The Fusilier family will sorely miss Fusilier Bush, but we will never forget him; Once a Fusilier, Always a Fusilier.

Lieutenant Chris Shaw, Platoon Commander, A Company Group, 2 RRF, attached to 2 RIFLES, said:

Fusilier Bush was one of 2 Platoon’s brightest, and a most popular young man. Even before I became his Platoon Commander, Fusilier Bush was someone I would hope to bump into during the course of the day.

His dry but sharp sense of humour always kept you on your toes, and without fail he would always manage to put a smile on my face. It is testament to his character that at the time of the blast, although well aware of the severe IED threat, he was moving forward to help with the extraction of his seriously injured Platoon Sergeant.

He wouldn’t have thought twice about the danger to himself before stepping off at the front, as he had so often done throughout the tour. We are all shocked and saddened by the terrible news, and the whole platoon’s thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.

His Company Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Wayne Caffrey, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

Fusilier Bush was an extremely popular and well respected member of A Company, 2 RRF. He was a keen soldier who put in 100% effort in everything he did and was lined up to participate on the next Platoon Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre.

He was a great sportsman, terrific boxer, and talented footballer. Fusilier Bush was immensely proud of where he came from, and I can remember always seeing him wearing a Coventry City shirt.

A Company will not be the same without him, we will all miss him. Our thoughts are with his family and his friends at this difficult time. God bless.

Sergeant David Barton, 10 Platoon, C Company, 2 RRF, said:

I first met Fusilier Shaun Bush at ITC Catterick, where I had the pleasure of training him. From Day 1 he was a remarkable character, who not only had the capabilities of looking after himself, but would also do his utmost to ensure his mates were looked after.

Quiet, well-mannered, he was a pleasure to train. Shaun would often see me out of working hours to talk about his family and how much he cared for them. This summed up the man, always thinking of others.

A keen football fan, he would often talk about his beloved Coventry City and wear his Sky Blues shirt with pride. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends who he cared for so much. Rest in peace Shaun, once a Fusilier always a Fusilier. You will never be forgotten.

Lance Corporal Steven Murphy, C Company, 2 RRF said:

I have known Bush since he turned up in Cyprus when I used to be in A Company. We got on straight away, as he was an awesome lad. We both competed in the boxing team representing A Company and he was a great fighter picking up boxing straight away; we had some great laughs, me, him, Keelan, Fully, Jonny Rodgers, Walks, Egg and the rest of the team.

All of us gelled well and fought well in the competition. It was all a great laugh to us all. Out of the ring, he was a good soldier, quiet bloke but the type you could trust.

He was also a big Coventry City fan, he liked his footy, was a good player, and he always had his Coventry top on around camp.

Well my thoughts go out to his family and friends, you’re gone but never forgotten, rest in peace mucka.

Lance Corporal Loz Chiesa, Royal Military Police, attached to 2 Platoon, said:

Although I’ve only known Fusilier Bush since the start of the tour I found it easy to get on with him.

He was one of the characters of the platoon and made me feel welcome, even when I was ‘the monkey’ he said I was one of the lads. My heart goes out to his family and friends. He will always be remembered. Rest in peace Bushy.

Fusilier Lawrie Stevenson, 2 Platoon, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

Shaun was a good friend who you could always trust and count on. I shared a room with him here in Afghanistan and as I have known him for over three years we were good friends and became closer during this tour.

He always had a lot to say and between all of us the banter was morale and it really helped me through this tour. He gave his life trying to get us out of an IED field and he will always be remembered as a hero.

As we all write our eulogies we were talking about the funny times and jokes we used to play on each other, all really good memories of a good friend.

2 Platoon will always be there for his family and girlfriend. Rest in peace mate, miss you already. ‘I canny’.

Fusilier James Turnbull, 2 Platoon, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

I have known Bushy since he joined the battalion. We became very close friends as we were from the same area and supported the same football team and when we moved to Hounslow we became even closer friends. I would take him home at most weekends and pick him up.

We would always chat about our girlfriends and how we would leave the Army and join the Fire Service. We both agreed that we hated the drive back to camp.

Once we deployed to Afghanistan we managed to share a room, where every day he complained of how hard it seemed. I always used to say it would be all right and he hated to hear it.

We used to go for a sunset can on the helicopter landing site, where we would sit and watch the sun go down and say ‘there’s another day gone’. I think one of the best memories of Bushy out here was when we set up a paddling pool in his bed space, he came off stag and didn’t know what was going on.

He didn’t talk to us for two days afterwards, although he then got me back by mine-taping my bed space and writing abuse on the floor with cyalumes.

There are so many other things to say though I just don’t know where to start. I will never forget you Bushy, I will always remember you and how I could talk to you about anything. My heart goes out to your girlfriend Amy and all your family. Take it easy mate.

Fusilier Ricky Wright, 2 Platoon, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

I had only known Bushy for just over a month but we got on well straight away. He seemed like the kind of bloke anyone would get on with; funny, and he could always tell a good story.

He was so easy to wind up, which the lads would do often and he would get annoyed with them, but I think he liked it deep down. Knowing him for such a short time was sad but also a pleasure.

My thoughts are now with his girlfriend and family. Bushy will now be with his mother, who I know he loved and missed dearly. God Bless, rest in peace mate.

Fusilier Nathan Sweeney, Mortars, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

Fusilier Shaun Bush, a star, a hero, a friend. Fallen but never forgotten, we will miss you mate. We had good times in A Company. I’ll see you at the re-org mate. My thoughts are with your family at this sad time.

Fusilier Adie Harrison, 11 Platoon, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

I first met Bushy two years ago when we were recruiting in Birmingham. After about 20 minutes of chatter we soon became pals and have been good mates ever since.

He was one of those guys who would take time out to talk to anybody but best of all nobody would ever have anything bad to say about him. I can honestly say hand on my heart he was one of the nicest and most genuine lads I have ever met.

You will be sadly missed pal but never forgotten. All my love and thoughts go to his family.

Fusilier Neil Shimelt, 2 Platoon, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

I’ve not known Fusilier Bush long at all really, but what I do know of him will stick with me forever.

Fusilier Bush treated me as one of the lads. He never looked down at me, he said what he meant and meant what he said and was never scared to speak his mind.

We will miss his hilarious sense of humour and the actions to go along with it. What a legend you are Bushy! We all miss you dearly, RIP mate.

Fusilier Kieran Connolly, 2 Platoon, A Company Group, 2 RRF, said:

Another young soldier stolen from his family, friends and comrades. He was one of the most charismatic people I have ever met.

He made anything funny, even when he moaned about things his sense of humour made us all laugh. I never once saw him scared or dodge hard work.

These are a few reasons why I looked up to him and respected him and why we will all miss Fusilier Shaun ‘Bushy’ Bush.

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, said:

Fusilier Shaun Bush was clearly a hugely well-liked and respected soldier in his battalion. He died from wounds sustained while bravely attempting to save his Platoon Sergeant.

His colleagues describe him as a dedicated soldier and he will be deeply missed by them, his friends and most of all by his family. My thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times.