Operations in Iraq

Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes dies from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident in Qatar

The Ministry of Defence regrets to announce that Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes died in the UK on 14 October 2007 from injuries that she sustained in a road traffic accident in Al Udeid, Qatar, on 3 October 2007.

Ministry of Defence crest

Lance Corporal Holmes was from 29 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment and was serving on Operation TELIC attached to 3 Logistic Support Regiment. She was working at the Al Udeid airfield when the car in which she was a passenger was involved in a collision with a truck.

LCpl Sarah Holmes (All rights reserved.)

Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes (All rights reserved.)

Lance Corporal Holmes was taken by ambulance to hospital and from there back to the UK but unfortunately she later died from her injuries. Her next of kin were at her bedside.

Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes

Lance Corporal Holmes, aged 26, was from Wantage, Oxfordshire and joined the Army in 1997. She had previously served in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Kenya, and Poland.

Lieutenant Colonel Iain McKend Royal Logistic Corps, Commanding Officer of 29 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment RLC, said:

Just days prior to the end of her operational tour Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes was involved in a serious road traffic accident whilst delivering mail in Doha, Qatar. Normally based in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, she deployed as part of 80 Postal and Courier Squadron RLC to join the Op TELIC 10 UK Logistic Battalion.

I got to know Lance Corporal Holmes well over a number of days in July as she moved down from the airport in Basra, Southern Iraq, to take up her role running the Forces Postal Service in Al Udeid, Qatar, at the mid-point of her Op TELIC tour. An absolute perfectionist, she was very much looking forward to the responsibilities and variety of this element of her operational tour.

“An extremely diligent and capable Junior Non Commissioned Officer - as well as a modest but enthusiastic student of English literature - she felt at home in the Army and was a popular member of the Postal and Courier community, both in 29 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment RLC and beyond. Entirely professional, this warm-hearted and sensitive young soldier was utterly dedicated to ensuring troops’ mail was delivered as rapidly and effectively as possible in Iraq and Qatar over the last six months - just as she had done in previous operational tours in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kuwait and Germany earlier in her career.

Her down-to-earth, helpful and friendly presence will be sorely missed in South Cerney as much as by her loving family - to whom the sympathies of the entire Regiment are extended at this time.

Major Neil Blenkinsop RLC, Officer Commanding 80 Postal and Courier Squadron, 29 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment RLC, said:

Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes will be forever remembered as a first class ‘Postie’, and a true friend to all who had the pleasure of knowing her. Having had the privilege of serving alongside Sarah in the British Forces Post Office in Basra, I fondly remember her quick wit and infectious sense of humour, which combined with her unquestionable generosity, made her a key member of the Op TELIC Postal and Courier Squadron.

“Whether meticulously monitoring the progress of the E-Bluey system or preciously guarding a rapid response courier item, Sarah remained a consummate professional in every task she undertook.

A selfless and committed Junior Non Commissioned Officer, Sarah consistently placed the needs of others before her own; routinely first to arrive in the Mail Sorting Office and invariably the last to leave. Sarah truly lived up to the motto of the Postal and Courier Service, working tirelessly to ensure that servicemen’s mail was delivered ‘Swiftly and Securely’.

“Our thoughts, prayers and sincerest condolences are extended to Sarah’s Mother and Father, Dawn and Fred; her Brother, David and all her wider Family and Friends at this difficult time. The tragic loss of Sarah is keenly felt by all ranks within 80 Postal and Courier Squadron; gone but not forgotten, a shining example to all, we will forever cherish her memory.”

Warrant Officer 2 (Squadron Sergeant Major) Violet Sedgwick, 81 Postal and Courier Squadron, 29 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment RLC, who worked with Lance Corporal Holmes in Northern Ireland said:

I worked with Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes in Northern Ireland as her Squadron Sergeant Major, prior to her being posted to 80 Postal and Courier Squadron. I can honestly say that she was an asset to the Squadron and nothing was ever “too much” for her. I wish I had 10 of her on every deployment, as I know I could rely on her at a drop of a hat. This will be one soldier that will be missed by all that knew her. Our hearts go out to her family.

Her friend Corporal Justin Henderson, 80 Postal and Courier Squadron, 29 Postal Courier & Movement Regiment RLC, said:

I have known Sarah for 5 years and I thought very highly of her. A dedicated soldier and always trying to better herself, she had a heart of gold and she was great to work with. Above all she was a fantastic friend and I will miss her greatly. I will always remember the good times in Northern Ireland in and out of work. I hope she is in a better place and watches us from there. My thoughts are with her family.

Des Browne, Secretary of State for Defence, said:

Lance Corporal Holmes’ death is tragic and my thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time. She was an exemplary soldier and I am sure she will be sorely missed.

Published 16 October 2007