It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Kingsman Jamie Hancock, aged 19, from The 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, in Basra, southern Iraq on Monday 6 November 2006.
Kingsman Hancock died as a result of injuries sustained when he came under small arms fire whilst on sentry duty. The incident took place at approximately 1200hrs local time at the Old State Building, a Coalition Forces base in central Basra City. There were no further casualties.
Kingsman Jamie Lee Hancock
Jamie Lee Hancock was born on 30 January 1987. He lived near Wigan, Lancashire, with his brother, also a serving soldier. He joined the British Army at the age of 18 and began his career at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. On completion of the Combat Infantryman’s Course in November 2005, he was posted to 5 Platoon, Burma Company, The 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, serving as a Rifleman where he was involved in training to prepare other units for operations in Iraq.
On 1 June 2006 Kingsman Hancock was posted to The 1st Battalion, The King’s Regiment, having volunteered for a six-month tour of Iraq as part of Catterick-based 19 Light Brigade. The Regiment amalgamated into The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment on 1 July 2006. He subsequently took part in four months of high-intensity training with Chindit Company prior to deploying to Iraq on 21 October as part of the Advance Party.
Despite being a junior soldier, he had been identified by his peers and his commanders as a young man with real potential. He stood out due to his professionalism and his sheer pride in being a soldier. As a recently qualified Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle driver, Kingsman Hancock showed a natural aptitude and ability that belied his relative inexperience with the vehicle and with the challenging conditions found in southern Iraq.
His Platoon will remember him fondly as an outgoing, gregarious practical joker. He was never short of anything to say, whether it was a one-liner or a kind word of encouragement. His friends knew him as a great listener and he was regarded by many as an elder-brother figure. When off duty, he was always the life and soul of the party and his friends saw him as a constant source of morale within the team. He was very much a free spirit and could always be relied upon for help or advice.
In his short time in the Company he made a real impression on all ranks. He will be remembered as a friend, a comrade, and an outstanding soldier. He will be sorely missed and his loss will greatly affect those who were fortunate enough to have known him.
Kingsman Hancock’s Company Commander, Major Chris Job, said:
It is with deep regret that I have to announce the untimely death yesterday of Kingsman Jamie Hancock. Kingsman Hancock was an energetic and enthusiastic individual who lived for the Army and had a very promising career ahead of him. Proud to be a Kingsman, he was determined to do as well as he possibly could. His enthusiasm was boundless and the fearless spirit with which he lived was amply demonstrated by his decision to volunteer for this Iraq tour.
Although young, and new to the Army, he appeared older and more experienced than his 19 years. As a Warrior driver, he was considered to be one of the best despite only recently passing his test.
He was a magnet for his peers who were drawn by his infectious sense of fun and all-embracing nature. Always at the centre of practical jokes he lived life to the full. We will best remember him for creating, whilst going through pre-deployment training, his recent ‘Hammer Time’ dance where he cajoled his mates to dance with only a field helmet covering their pride.
Our sympathy and thoughts go out to his family at this awful time; we are all deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and the wider regimental family.
Kingsman Hancock’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hutchinson MBE, speaking from the Battalion Headquarters in Bourlon Barracks, Catterick Garrison, added:
Kingsman Jamie Hancock was a first class soldier, doing a difficult job very well, with good humour and enthusiasm. We are all proud to have known him.
Kingsman Hancock was single. His family have asked the Ministry of Defence to issue the following statement on their behalf:
We are deeply shocked at the loss of our much-loved son. We are and always will be very proud of him and all that he achieved. At this difficult time, we request that our privacy be respected.
On learning the news, Defence Secretary Des Browne said:
I was deeply saddened to hear that a soldier from the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment had died whilst serving his country in Iraq. His family, friends and comrades, as ever, have my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Our brave forces are striving to build a better future for the people of Iraq and this is a stark reminder to us all of the dangers they face there.