It is with deepest regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of Private Joseva Lewaicei, 25, and Private Adam Morris, 19, both of 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.
Both men died as a result of injuries sustained from a roadside bomb at approximately 2345hrs local time in Basra City, Southern Iraq, on 13 May 2006. The two riflemen were on a routine patrol when the incident occurred.
Private Joseva Lewaicei
Private Joseva ‘Lewi’ Lewaicei (pronounced ‘Lewethi’), was born on 29 April 1981 in Lautoka, Fiji. Lewi grew up in Fiji but decided early on, like many of his friends, to join the British Army.
He joined 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, known as ‘The Poachers’, in May 2002 at the age of 21. Since then he served as a rifleman in Afghanistan between June and October 2003 as part of the enduring ISAF commitment and for two years in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland on a roulement tour. He also served in Jordan and Iraq, particularly enjoying the amount of time he spent in helicopters on both occasions.
Members of his platoon will remember him fondly as a reliable and professional soldier as well as being someone who could make them laugh. He was the first Fijian to join the Battalion, and was planning to take some of his friends to the South Pacific to show them his home, Paradise Island. He was proud of his job in the Army and his efficient style was an example to others.
He was good company; his colleagues describing him as the soul of the platoon. He was also protective of them all and somebody others would turn to for help. One dyslexic soldier described how Lewi would assist him with his written English by checking the spelling in letters to his girlfriend.
He was the father of a 7-year old daughter in Fiji. Universally popular he will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues.
His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Des O’Driscoll, said:
Private Lewaicei was a valued and well-regarded member of C Company and was known as a fun loving and exuberant character. He was a keen sportsman and had represented the Battalion in both Rugby and Boxing. He was an exceptional rugby full back regularly impressing those who saw him play, and was once offered a professional contract.
Immensely strong, his colleagues will remember with some glee the day he was finally beaten in an arm wrestle by their platoon sergeant, although he always maintained he let him win.
Our sympathy goes out to his family at this terrible time; we are deeply saddened at his tragic loss; he will be sorely missed by his friends and the wider regimental family.
Private Adam Morris
Private Adam Peter Morris, nicknamed ‘Borris’, was born on 24 September 1986. He lived in Leicester with his mother Linder and attended the local college before joining the British Army at the age of 17. He was single.
Private Morris completed his basic training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick in 2004. He then joined C Company 2 Royal Anglian in Northern Ireland, serving as a rifleman during a two year roulement tour in Ballykelly.
Despite being a junior soldier he had already been identified as having great potential. His colleagues anticipated that he would make Platoon sergeant at the very least. He was noted for his sheer professionalism and reliability, and on a recent tactics and leadership course he passed out as best student. Whilst exercising in Jordan he took over the role of a non-commissioned officer where he rose to the challenge and acquitted himself with composure.
He was a sociable individual with a good sense of humour. He made time for others and would raise morale by telling jokes and playing the fool, belying his true intelligence and passion for the military. He was happy to be in Iraq and getting on with his job.
During a period of ceremonial duty at the funeral for HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester in November 2004 he was particularly pleased when members of the Royal family spoke to him personally, complementing him on his turnout and appearance.
He will be remembered as a friend and a most accomplished soldier. His loss has touched and greatly saddened all those who had the honour to know him.
His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Des O’Driscoll, said:
Adam joined the battalion in Northern Ireland and rapidly made his mark as an energetic and thoroughly professional young soldier. He undoubtedly had a bright future ahead of him. Although Private Morris had only been with ‘The Poachers’ for just under two years, he was one of our most promising young soldiers and had a fine career ahead of him.
Always one of the keenest and most attentive soldiers in the Company he stood out from many of his peers. At times teased for his military knowledge, he had an inquiring mind and a desire to learn.
He was well-liked and respected by all the company for his resolve. He had suffered a leg injury late in 2005 but fought his way back to fitness, determined that he must deploy on operations in Iraq alongside his many friends. Always ‘Army barmy’ he even found a camouflage cover for the cast on his leg.
Adam’s loss has touched and saddened all of us who had the honour to know him. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time; He will be sorely missed by his friends and by the wider regiment.
Adam was the youngest son of Nigel and Lyn. He had an older brother Jason and elder sister Jo. His family have made the following statement:
Adam was a much loved and adored son, brother and brother-in-law. His one goal in life was to join the Army. It had been his ambition since the age of three. He was a member of the Army Cadet Force and went on to join the Army when he was 17.
In late 2005 Adam broke his ankle but he pushed and pushed himself to get fit because he was determined to go on operations in Iraq with his Regiment. He was always on the go, doing everything at speed, living life in the fast lane. So much so that he was told off by his doctors for going too fast on his crutches.
But that was Adam; his prime objective was to get his ankle better, he couldn’t bear the thought of his friends going to Iraq without him. He was a caring young man, who would always look after his friends and family and had a strong bond with his fellow comrades.
He said that he had two homes: his family home and his Army home. He was professional and well trained. He had a strong sense of justice and would help anyone if he could.
Adam would light up a room with his personality and presence. He loved and adored his family and we loved and adored him. He believed that he would make a difference in Iraq and was very proud to be there. He was proud to be a soldier and we are immensely proud of him.
He will be greatly missed by us all, his loss has torn our world apart and no words can describe the pain that we are experiencing. Our wonderful son, brother and soldier.
The family have asked that the media respect their privacy at this time.