Operations in Afghanistan

Guardsman Daniel Probyn killed in Afghanistan

It is with much sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Guardsman Daniel Probyn from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in Afghanistan on Saturday 26 May 2007.

Guardsman Probyn from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards died in an explosion during an offensive operation to clear a Taliban stronghold on the outskirts of the town of Garmsir, in Southern Helmand. Four soldiers from the battalion were also injured in the incident.

Guardsman Probyn was part of a force of British soldiers who left their base near Garmsir during the evening of 25 May 2007. Their mission was to clear the Taliban occupied compound.

A force of British soldiers left their base near Garmsir, in Helmand Province, to carry out offensive operations against the Taliban during the evening of Friday 25 May 2007. Their mission was to clear a Taliban occupied compound on the outskirts of the town.

After engaging and destroying a Taliban stronghold with combined artillery, mortar and small arms fire, the force began clearing the Taliban positions. During this phase of the operation there was an explosion at around midnight, which resulted in five casualties.

The casualties were extracted back to a safe location, while under fire from the Taliban, and were met by a medical team who sadly pronounced Guardsman Probyn dead at the scene. The Immediate Response Team (IRT), which provides specialist medical cover to UK forces, was called for and evacuated Guardsman Probyn and the three seriously injured casualties to the UK field hospital at Camp Bastion by helicopter. The remaining casualty had received very minor injuries that were treated locally. The patrol has now safely returned to base.

The three remaining casualties are still receiving treatment for their injuries.

Guardsman Daniel Probyn

Guardsman Daniel Probyn, aged 22, was from Tipton. He joined the Army in 2003 and had previously served in Iraq during Op TELIC 5 and Op TELIC 8. He was a keen rugby player and also a dedicated supporter of West Bromwich Albion.

Guardsman Daniel Probyn [Picture: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images] (All rights reserved.)
Guardsman Daniel Probyn [Picture: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images] (All rights reserved.)

Lt Col AGC Hatherley, Commanding Officer, 1st Bn Grenadier Guards, said:

Guardsman Probyn was a larger than life character both on and off duty, and was a dependable and loyal friend to all who knew him. He excelled as a soldier, whether in tunic and bearskin or combats, and was held in the highest regard by all who served alongside him.

“He had tirelessly fought the Taliban just hours earlier at the side of the others in his platoon when he was killed in a second action. Totally focused on the mission and determined to prevail he died in the company of those Grenadiers he had previously fought to protect. He gave his life in selfless service to his country and his courage is an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten.”

Lt Col Angus Watson, Commanding Officer, The Light Dragoons and Battle Group (South), said:

Guardsman Daniel Probyn was a soldier of the highest calibre, and wholly committed to his chosen profession. He clearly loved being a soldier, and a Grenadier in particular. As one would expect of him, he died showing courage and professionalism of the highest order, seeking to protect the lives of his comrades and taking the fight to the enemy. The thoughts, prayers and heartfelt condolences of the whole Battle Group are with his girlfriend, his family and his wide circle of friends.

Major Will Mace (Company Commander) said:

Guardsman Probyn was without question one of the very best soldiers in the Company. Consummately professional in everything he did, he was one of those men who always delivered a thousand times more than was asked of him. He was completely dedicated to his job and to the men around him, making him both a pleasure and an honour to command. He loved soldiering and so died doing something he loved and believed in totally. He died during an intense contact with enemy forces, bravely carrying out his duty and protecting those he was fighting alongside.

“Guardsman Probyn was not only a great soldier but also a great character, always ready with a laugh and a joke. Every aspect of his character made him loved and respected by all.

“His family and girlfriend have our deepest sympathies and our thoughts will be with them always.”

Lieutenant Andrew Tiernan (Platoon Commander) said:

Guardsman Daniel Probyn was quite simply the most outstanding soldier I have ever come across and I consider myself very fortunate to have had the pleasure of serving alongside him on operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Guardsman Probyn was respected by everyone in 3 Platoon and was looked up to by the younger and more inexperienced members of the Platoon, to whom Guardsman Probyn was an inspiration. He was an exceptionally professional Guardsman and thus had an intensity about him that rubbed off on those around him. Yet Guardsman Probyn always maintained a sense of humour and was more often than not at the heart of Platoon banter.

“As is typical of the man, Guardsman Probyn warned his fellow soldiers of a potential threat just prior to the explosion that killed him, making them move away from his position in a selfless act which saved their lives. He died whilst engaging with the enemy and protecting those who were fighting alongside him. Guardsman Probyn was a legend within the Platoon and indeed the Company, and now he will remain a legend forever more. Guardsman Probyn is a hero to all of us and will be remembered as such. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his girlfriend Michelle, to whom he was devoted and with whom he intended to spend the rest of his life.”

Lance Corporal Pete Bocock said:

Guardsman Daniel Probyn was a great friend and someone who was completely reliable, as a soldier and a mate. He was always up for a laugh and would stand by his mates in any situation. I had the pleasure of meeting ‘Probes’ when we deployed to Iraq in 2004 as a Grenadier section attached to the Welsh Guards. It was during this time that we became close. Probes was a great lad, an awesome soldier and somebody you would always want by your side, be it in battle or going out for a drink. Probes will be massively missed by me and the rest of 3 Platoon. We will always remember him.

Lance Corporal Andrew Thomas said:

Danny was a friend you could always rely on, either when we were in Civvy Street or in the Army. I have great memories of him, like serving with him in Iraq and going on a great holiday with him and the ‘Malia 8’ lads. I will always remember Danny as one of the best soldiers I have ever known and worked with. He was more than just a friend to people that knew him; I guess you could say he was like a brother.

Guardsman Keith Rowlatt said:

Probyn was a great mate. He always has been and he always will be. He will be greatly missed. We all loved him like a brother. He would always go out of his way to give you a helping hand. Probyn sadly lost his life doing what he loved to do and he was not just good at his job, he was the best Guardsman I have worked with. It has been a privilege to work alongside him. Probyn will be forever missed and he will be in my thoughts for the rest of my life. He was friendly, loving and funny.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said:

I was greatly saddened to hear of Guardsman Probyn’s death and I extend my condolences to his family and friends at, what must be, the most difficult of times. He was, by all accounts, a highly respected soldier who displayed incredible professionalism and determination in all aspects of his job.

The family of Guardsman Probyn released the following statement. His father, Michael, said:

We could not be more proud of Daniel, and could not have wished for a better son. Daniel had wanted to join the Army since he was six years old, and the day he passed out of Catterick my heart was filled with pride. At that time he was awarded a presentation tankard for being the recruit who had made the best endeavour.

Daniel had also been to Iraq twice and last year he was commended for his part in getting a friend to safety who was injured during a mortar attack. He never mentioned it, because that is how he was, always putting others before himself. Daniel was a quiet young man, who never made a fuss about his achievements. It broke my heart when I heard he had been killed. He was not only my son, he was my best mate.

His mother, Ann added:

Daniel was dedicated to his job, he loved the Army and it is hard to imagine him doing anything else. The Army brought out the best in him. Our thoughts are also with the families of his injured mates that are still in hospital.

Daniel was a good role model for his three brothers. He was caring, loving and unselfish. He volunteered to go to Afghanistan, but never spoke to his family about his experiences because he would not wish to cause us upset. We would like to thank Daniel’s friends and colleagues in the Army who have been 100% supportive throughout. We have been overcome with the very kind letters and cards we have received and the things people have been saying in the newspapers.

Guardsman Probyn’s family have requested that the media respect their wish not to conduct further interviews.