Operations in Afghanistan

Marine Richard Hollington dies from wounds sustained in Afghanistan

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Marine Richard Hollington, from Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, died from wounds sustained in Afghanistan in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on Sunday 20 June 2010.

Ministry of Defence crest
Marine Richard Hollington (All rights reserved.)

Marine Richard Hollington, 40 Commando Royal Marines (All rights reserved.)

During the late afternoon of Saturday 12 June 2010, Bravo Company was conducting a reassurance patrol in Afghanistan for the local nationals in an area to the south of Patrol Base Ezeray. At approximately 1616hrs local time, Marine Hollington was caught in an explosion.

He was immediately evacuated to Bastion Role 3 Hospital where his condition was listed as critical. On 13 June 2010 he was transferred to the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. At 1108hrs BST on 20 June 2010, with his parents and brothers present, Marine Hollington sadly died of his wounds.

Marine Richard Hollington

Marine Richard Hollington was 23 years old and lived near Petersfield, Hampshire, with his parents and younger brothers Nick and Charlie. Prior to joining the Royal Marines he played semi-professional football for Fareham Town Football Club.

Completing Royal Marines training in September 2008, he attended the Defence School of Transport, Leconfield, gaining his full range of driving licences. Joining Delta Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, in December 2008, he deployed in the following New Year on Taurus 09 - the largest Royal Naval deployment in over ten years. Serving both afloat and ashore he participated in a number of multinational exercises in Cyprus and Turkey.

The exercise culminated in the Far East where he experienced the rigours of a jungle warfare training package in Brunei. On return to the UK he joined Bravo Company prior to beginning Mission Specific Training for Op HERRICK 12. He deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan, in April 2010, where he was based at Patrol Base Ezeray.

Bravo Company has been conducting joint operations with the Afghan National Security Forces over the last few months aimed at bettering the lives of the local people by improving security and increasing their freedom of movement.

Marine Hollington’s family made the following statement:

What can we say that hasn’t been said so many times before and will be repeated so many times to come?

Richard will leave a huge numbing hole in the lives of his family, friends and Royal Marine colleagues. The saying goes ‘It is better to live one day as a lion than your whole life as a worm’. He chose to live his days as a lion and to us, and we believe his friends, he was the biggest, if softest, lion in the pride - how proud of him we all are.

It was typical of Richard, and a crumb of comfort to us, that even in death he donated his organs to help others in accordance with his wishes.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul James, Commanding Officer, 40 Commando Group, Combined Force Sangin, said:

Marine Richard Hollington was one of my finest. He was bright, intrepid, determined and full of character; he was very much at the heart of 11 Troop. A very talented footballer and magnificent Marine, he had a lot to be proud of, yet I knew him to be an affable, generous, loyal and modest young man.

He was gregarious and well-humoured, and, in the privations of life in Sangin, he was invaluable. It takes extraordinary courage to be at the front of every patrol but Marine Hollington did so with the professional pride that gave confidence to others

He was a strong and resilient man with an immense personality. He sadly died of his wounds incurred whilst on patrol in northern Sangin, but we take some comfort in knowing that he was with his loving family at this terrible time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, his brothers, his family and his friends.

He was one of life’s greats and will be sorely missed by all in 40 Commando. Marine Richard Hollington was, and will always remain, a Royal Marine Commando.

Major Mark Totten, Officer Commanding Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:

Dickie Hollington was a superior Royal Marine Commando who brimmed with character and potential. He was one of those gifted souls to whom success was familiar; be it on the football pitch or in his chosen profession, to which he brought gusto, natural ability and commitment.

With an irrepressible sense of fun and lust for life, Dickie was always at the seat of laughter and his passing has left a tremendous void amongst his companions in Bravo Company. He revelled in troop banter and constantly buoyed those around him with his sharp wit and love of friendly debate. Men like Dickie are pure gold in a patrol base here in Afghanistan.

His optimism was infectious and probably best highlighted by his 100 per cent certainty in recent days that England would win the World Cup. Professionally, Dickie was first rate. His experience, soldiering ability and raw courage made him ideally suited to the task of lead man in the patrol, the vital role within a section that provides a route for all to follow.

The manner in which he faced danger and carried out this stressful duty ensured important work was completed and is a beacon of professionalism to all the company; we will look to him for mettle in the days ahead.

The Commando qualities of courage, determination, selflessness and cheerfulness under adversity have been exposed in different circumstances throughout our history; Dickie had them in spades and his application in these demanding circumstances showed Commando spirit worthy of all our forefathers.

With all his professional focus and commitment, he was rounded; he worked and played hard but found time for those who really mattered to him - his family, to whom our support, thoughts and prayers are extended at this difficult time.

Sergeant Jason Wood, 11 Troop Sergeant, Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:

As Dickie’s Troop Sergeant it was easy to like this hardworking, keen young man. He was incredibly fit and was a keen footballer. He was always having a laugh and he lived life as a Royal Marine with ease. He was a big character in the troop, with big hair and a backside to match! We will miss Dickie and our thoughts are with his family.

Lance Corporal Steven Houckham, 11 Troop, Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:

Having shared a room at Norton Manor with Dickie for 18 months, and being in the same section, I have many good memories of him, and not one do I regret. He was a typical Bootneck with a great sense of humour and a massive personality

Dickie was very approachable, was never short of a laugh and was someone who would go out of his way to help you. As a Royal Marine he was top class and a true professional; as a mate he was a true legend.

Dickie was there to back you 100 per cent of the time, and took a part of the troop with him when he left. Making the biggest sacrifice of all, he will not be forgotten.

Marine Karl Rickard, 11 Troop, Bravo Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:

Dickie and I both arrived at 40 Commando at the same time. From day one we were inseparable. He had a great sense of humour and never took anything too seriously. Dickie was a typical lad, always at the forefront of troop banter.

When it was time to do the job, many couldn’t do it better, and when it was time to have a laugh, still not many could do it better. Knowing Dickie has been taken from us is a very hard fact to live with, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He will never be forgotten.

Marine Tom Lingley, Company Headquarters, Delta Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:

I started recruit training with Dickie in January 2008. He was always a very strong lad, a great laugh, and good for morale. I’ve got a scar on my back from play-fighting with him, messing about as you do; it resulted in eight stitches!

We both joined 40 Commando on the same day. Dickie went to 11 Troop, I went to 10 Troop. We shared a room together. We used to do a ‘Come Dine With Me’ sketch, cooking for each other, and giving each other marks out of ten.

Dickie always cracked stir fries and scored on average late sevens. Six of us went to Amsterdam together on pre-deployment leave and I have great memories of good times together. Dickie loved his football and, even though he was from Portsmouth, he loved Manchester United.

Before joining the Marines he played for Portsmouth FC. He was a good footballer and represented 40 Commando against the Royal Navy at HMS Raleigh

Dickie, it’s never going to be the same without you. You’ll be very sorely missed. RIP Royal.

Marine Luke ‘Mo’ Mousley, 10 Troop, Delta Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:

I first met Dickie in November 2008 when I joined 40 Commando. Dickie was a really friendly lad, always up for the banter. I used to chill out with him in his room and we used to go ashore together. I remember him as the ‘life and soul’.

He always had a smile on his face and was good for a laugh. We went to Amsterdam together and had more trips planned. I’ll really miss you Dickie. There’s a big gap in our group now. It won’t be the same without you. RIP Royal.

Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said:

I extend my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Marine Richard Hollington. He has given his life bringing security and stability to Afghanistan, preventing it from once again becoming a base from which terrorists can attack the UK. His sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Published 20 June 2010