It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Private James Prosser from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 27 September 2009.
Private Prosser died as a result of an explosion that happened during a vehicle patrol in Musa Qaleh district, northern Helmand province.
Private James Prosser
Private James Prosser was born in Caerphilly District Miners Hospital on 14 April 1988 and educated at Hendre Infants School, Caerphilly, and then at Llantarnam Comprehensive School, Cwmbran, before he joined the Army in July 2008. After completing his infantry training at ITC Catterick, Private Prosser joined 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh in February 2009.
He was posted to A Company and immediately found a home in 2 Platoon. He was a natural infanteer and relished his job.
Private Prosser was initially employed as a member of a dismounted section before being selected for training as a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle driver - a role that he both enjoyed and excelled at - prior to his deployment to Afghanistan in July 2009.
Private Prosser’s confidence and affable manner marked him out as one of the more popular of his peers.
Private Prosser was a keen sportsman, and had been a member of Cwmbran Celtic Football Club and Fairwater Falcons Hockey Club. He also enjoyed the cinema and socialising with friends, of which he was never short.
A Company’s build-up training for its deployment to Afghanistan was both rigorous and demanding, especially for such a junior soldier, but Private Prosser took each fresh test in his stride, always acquitting himself well.
He had a real enthusiasm for soldiering, and had a bright future ahead of him. Private Prosser was killed on 27 September 2009 as a result of an explosion whilst driving his Warrior vehicle in the Musa Qaleh district of Helmand province.
His family said:
James is a wonderful son and brother, I am so proud of the man he grew to be. He is dearly loved and cherished by his family and his many friends.
Statement from Private Prosser’s friends:
We don’t know where to start expressing how much you meant, and how much we will miss you. You always were one of the boys and you always will be.
The amount of respect we have for you is indescribable, a true friend and a real hero forever. We all shared so many good memories with you and we can’t believe you are not going to be with us anymore. Take care and sleep tight mate. Love as always from the boys.
Lieutenant Colonel Didi Wheeler, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, said:
The loss of Private James Prosser to an IED [improvised explosive device] comes as another devastating blow to the battalion, but more particularly to 2 Platoon, A Company. Although James only joined the battalion in February this year, he had come to the fore within the company.
He had a boundless sense of humour and was a true character in every sense despite his relative young age. This brave Welsh Warrior will be sorely missed by so many of us.
He enjoyed soldiering and had found his home in A Company amongst so many mates upon whom he had made such an impact in so short a period. At this tragic time our thoughts and prayers turn to his immediate family and close friends.
Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Calder, Commanding Officer, Battle Group North West, said:
The Battle Group are devastated to have lost Private James Prosser. Not only was he a gifted soldier and capable Warrior driver, he was also a popular and outgoing member of his company.
He is a huge loss to his fellow Welshmen in Musa Qaleh. Our thoughts are very much with his family at this most tragic time.
Major Huw Jones, Company Commander, said:
Private Prosser was fun. His effervescent personality meant that one of his quips was never far from the surface. When they came it was as a bubbling stream of one-liners carrying everyone along with them - I was the victim of his wit more than once.
He was an astute and selfless soldier who always put his fellows ahead of himself. A brave professional, his passing has left a huge hole. I, like the rest of the company, will miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Lieutenant Tom Richards, 2 Platoon Commander, said:
‘Pross’ was one of the jokers in a platoon in which all members got along extremely well - the long and creative list of nicknames he quickly accumulated bears testament.
He and his mates had bonded well before the company’s deployment to Afghanistan, but the cohesion that developed once on tour was second-to-none - Pross was among the platoon’s most prominent characters, and one of those blokes who could always ‘get a laugh’, no matter what the situation. His popularity and likeable demeanour make his loss particularly severe.
It is rare that a big character’s charisma is matched by professionalism, but Pross was one of those fortunate people who could naturally balance the two; he was quite rightly regarded by all as a model, though very junior, infantry soldier.
Pross died when he was twenty-one; far too young to have either enjoyed properly what life had to offer him or fulfil the potential he clearly possessed. The grief felt by his mates in 2 Platoon is great, and the void left in our lives can never be filled, but it is his parents and siblings that we now hold in our thoughts and prayers. Our pain cannot contend with what they must be experiencing at this awful time.
Sergeant Scott Townley, Platoon Sergeant, said:
The Army is made up of characters and Private Prosser was one of those individuals that made the platoon tick over with his funny, cocky nature. Private Prosser joined the platoon with great enthusiasm and a desire to be Warrior driver, a role he fulfilled with hard work and in a professional manner.
He was flexible and could, at any time, take up a job at short notice, making him a great asset to me and the Platoon Commander. Prosser always brought a smile to my face and to the rest of the platoon. He will be sorely missed by everyone, especially me. Rest in peace my Brother, God bless.
Corporal Neil Collins, Vehicle Commander, said:
Prosser was an excellent soldier. He was the best Warrior driver in the platoon and always gave up his spare time to help the other drivers with their maintenance, no matter what he was doing.
The main thing I will remember about Prosser is his smart comments, which would always bring a smile to your face no matter what the situation. He will be sorely missed by the platoon and it is a lesser place without him.
Corporal Lee Rees, Section Commander, said:
Prosser, I can’t believe you’re gone mate, you brought a smile to everyone’s face the moment you opened your mouth. You were a grafter to the end. Gone, but your stories and memories will live on; rest in peace mate, Lee.
Lance Corporal James Scowcroft, Section Second-in-Command, said:
Prosser was an awesome soldier; he was always dependable, doing whatever he was told to do. Whilst under contact he showed his strength in getting ammo to allow the GPMG [General Purpose Machine Gun] to continue suppressing the enemy.
He was always cracking jokes with us and was good at taking the mickey out of people to keep morale up. He is going to be missed greatly by us all. We all know you are up there resting in peace mate.
Private Morgan Evans, a close friend, said:
Prosser, a good soldier and an even better friend. We went through training together and arrived in battalion at the same time. He was always laughing and joking with the boys.
He always talked about going out on the weekend and getting drunk in Escapade; he loved going out with his mates. He will be missed by me and all the other lads in the platoon. My heart goes out to his family and friends; he was well and truly loved by everyone. Nos da, mate, good night and God bless, you’re going to be missed very much.
Private Wayne Ellis, a close friend, said:
Pross wasn’t just a mate from the Army, he was one of my very true friends and probably the most intelligent. He would always be correcting me on my grammar and my speech, almost to the point of breaking me.
I’ve known Prosser for over a year now and I can honestly say my life will not be the same without him. RIP mate, see you again, but not yet buddy.
Private Matthew Hudson, a close friend, said:
Private Prosser was one of the most intelligent and funny men I’ve met and would always be up for a laugh. He was also one of the best friends I’ve ever worked with. He would joke when times were hard, keep the morale of all the boys up, all while also being a very ‘switched on’ soldier.
He will be sorely missed and was loved by all those in the platoon and the rest of the company. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time. RIP mate.
Private Tallen Williams, a close friend, said:
Words can’t express how much I’m going to miss you. You were always there to lift the boys’ spirits no matter what the situation. Back home in Cwmbran it’s not going to be the same without you mate. You will always be like a brother to me. Love you loads. Rest in peace mate.
Private Benjamin Jaye, a close friend, said:
Prosser was a brilliant friend, always there to help anyone out who needed it. Whether it be duct-taping someone’s door shut or putting polish on the door handles, he was always up for a laugh. He would always be smiling and doing his best to lift morale whenever possible. He will be sorely missed, not only as a mate, but also as a fellow soldier.
Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, said:
Private James Prosser had a bright future ahead of him. Those who served with him thought the world of him and his soldiering ability, and to his civilian friends he was a hero. His sense of humour and professionalism were key attributes that kept the smile upon his colleagues’ faces as they undertook their work. We will always be grateful for the sacrifices our Armed Forces make to keep us safe and my thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.