It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Sergeant Dale Alanzo McCallum of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 1 August 2010.
Lance Sergeant McCallum, who was serving as part of Combined Force Lashkar Gah, was killed by small arms fire whilst commanding his men in an operation to provide security for local Afghan nationals in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province.
At approximately 1320 hours, the sangar at his checkpoint came under effective enemy fire from insurgent forces. Lance Sergeant McCallum quickly moved to the sangar and as he was moving into a position to engage the insurgents he received a fatal gunshot wound.
Lance Sergeant Dale Alanzo McCallum
Lance Sergeant Dale Alanzo McCallum was born in Hanover, Jamaica. He was 31 years old, a father to Kevin, a son to Lurline and Paul, and a brother to Sandra, Rodney, Denise, Milissa and Montel.
He enlisted in the Army in June 1998 and, having completed his infantry training at Pirbright and Catterick, joined the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Germany in March 1999.
Lance Sergeant McCallum quickly gained a reputation for being an immensely strong, fit and robust individual.
He deployed to Kosovo in 1999 and then to Iraq in 2003 with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards Battle Group. His huge potential was quickly identified and he was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal in September 2002, having successfully passed a Junior Non-Commissioned Officers’ cadre.
When the Scots Guards replaced the Irish Guards as the in-role armoured infantry battalion, Lance Sergeant McCallum chose to remain behind in Germany as part of the Armoured Infantry Manning Increment.
He remained in the Recce Platoon and subsequently deployed on Op TELIC 5 and 11. He passed the Section Commanders’ Battle Course and was promoted to the rank of Lance Sergeant in July 2006. Lance Sergeant McCallum excelled on every course that he attended.
Having spent six years with the Scots Guards, Lance Sergeant McCallum completed his transfer to the Scots Guards on a permanent basis in September 2009.
At the time of his death he had been selected for promotion to Sergeant and was due to be promoted on 1 October 2010. He was already performing the duties of a Platoon Sergeant with the Fire Support Group.
He loved this role and thrived on the responsibility he held, especially his responsibility to his men. The Fire Support Group had spent the previous four months increasing the level of security for the people of Loy Adera. En Ferus Hostis.
Lance Sergeant McCallum’s family paid the following tribute:
Dale was a wonderful father, brilliant brother, a loving son. He was cherished and highly respected by everyone that knew him. He will be deeply and sadly missed. We all loved Dale for his easy-going attitude and his sunshine smile, for his mannerisms and his charm.
Dale was passionate about life and displayed immense enthusiasm for every challenge he took on. We all love and will miss him dearly and may his soul rest in peace.
Lieutenant Colonel Lincoln Jopp, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said:
Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum was a consummate soldier. A veteran of operational tours in Kosovo, and three tours of Iraq, he was a reconnaissance Section Commander, and here in Afghanistan, the Platoon Sergeant of a 27-man Fire Support Group.
He was blessed with the most awesome physique. Ten days before he was killed, I spent the night in his immaculately kept checkpoint. While the rest of us sat around eating and chatting after a long, hot day on patrol, Lance Sergeant McCallum, a few feet away, spent half-an-hour lifting the most enormous weights I have ever seen.
One of his Guardsmen whispered to me, ‘It’s not natural, Sir. Even his muscles have muscles’. Lance Sergeant McCallum had cornered the market in ‘tall, dark and handsome’.
He was a wicked man to go drinking with, despite the fact he never touched a drop, and was always up for fun which usually ending up with him taking his shirt off on the dance floor.
At work, though, he was quiet. I never once heard him raise his voice or lose his temper. He had control. He was also a gentleman.
The whole battalion has been struck by his loss and we send our sincerest and deepest condolences to his son Kevin, Kevin’s mother Edith, Dale’s mother Lurline Watson, father Paul McCallum, stepfather Errol Watson, and all his wider family and friends.
Lance Sergeant McCallum died when his checkpoint came under fire from insurgents. He did what he has done a hundred times before. He grabbed his rifle and headed for high ground. We miss him and we honour our fallen.
Major Rupert Kitching, Officer Commanding Left Flank, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said:
Captain Guy Anderson, Adjutant, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said:
I had the honour of serving alongside Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum for a number of years in Support Company. He was a team player and the team loved him.
Whether it was in the field or on the dance floor, it mattered not, he was quietly and ruthlessly effective. He excelled in everything that he did. He failed once but I fear that this was an impossible task as it was when he spent a long evening trying to teach me to dance in Munster, Germany.
Always upbeat and looking to grasp the next opportunity that life would throw his way, Dale had that ability to make everything look so easy. If he did ever find himself in a tricky spot then his charm, smile and wicked sense of humour would see him right.
He leaves behind a huge hole in the lives of his family and many friends but nowhere will it be more keenly felt than with his young son, Kevin, and his immediate family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin and Dale’s family at this most difficult of times.
Lieutenant Ivar Milligan, Platoon Commander, Left Flank, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said:
I will remember Lance Sergeant McCallum with great fondness. We shared a small checkpoint on the Helmand River which he ran with efficiency and style. He was the first up in the morning and last to bed, had a permanent smile and a cutting humour.
His time in Afghanistan will be remembered for his inexhaustible patrolling and enthusiasm, meals out of nothing and an unparalleled dedication to our makeshift gym.
He will be sorely missed but he has set the standard to which we should all aspire. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones in Jamaica, Germany and the UK and we hope to do him proud with the rest of our deployment.
Warrior Sergeant Major Dave Brettle, Left Flank, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, said:
I have had the honour and privilege to have known Dale for all of his Army career, from day one, when he joined the Irish Guards.
“Dale was always the one with a smile on his face, even under the most ardent circumstances. He was an excellent soldier, and a very good friend. He excelled in everything he did and will be sorely missed by everyone.
I pass on my condolences to his family and friends on behalf of myself and all Irish Guardsmen currently serving with the Scots Guards in Afghanistan. God Bless, Dale. Quis Separabit.
Sergeant Tony Gibson, 11 Platoon Sergeant, Left Flank, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said:
Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum, the man with the infectious smile, brightened up any situation; ever professional and ever patient - a gentle giant.
The model professional who always strived to better himself and his boys, reflected in his considerable work with the Fire Support Group out here on operations.
Such a great and true friend to so many and a rock of support to myself; we have lost a bright star, he will be greatly missed.
Sergeant Lee Paxton, 12 Platoon Sergeant, Left Flank, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said:
I first met Dale McCallum on the pre-course for Platoon Sergeant’s Battle Course in June 2008; I had known he had been in the battalion for some years but I’d never really met him. As soon as you met Dale you liked him as he was one of those guys that you just got on with.
Dale was a non-drinker; I was always told never to trust a non-drinker but Dale was one of those that you could trust with anything. There has been many a night that Dale has brought me home in his car.
Dale loved his young boy Kevin who lived with his mother Edith in Germany; Dale would carry pictures of Kevin in his wallet everywhere he went. He would always buy Kevin presents from whatever part of the world he had been in and take them to Germany for his son.
Dale will leave a huge gap in the lives of everybody he ever met. He was loved by all. He will be deeply missed by everyone in the battalion, our thoughts and prayers go out to his son Kevin and family.
Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:
Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum was a soldier who had achieved much during his 12 years in the British Army and who clearly had much more to give.
His death, in the line of duty on this most important of missions, is a matter of great sadness. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and colleagues he leaves behind.