Operations in Afghanistan

Rifleman Daniel Hume of 4 RIFLES killed in Afghanistan

It is with deep regret that the MOD confirms the death of Rifleman Daniel Hume of 4th Battalion The Rifles, who was killed in Afghanistan on 9 July 2009.

Ministry of Defence crest

Rifleman Daniel Hume was killed in a contact explosion whilst on a foot patrol near Nad e-Ali, Helmand province.

Rifleman Daniel Hume (All rights reserved.)

Rifleman Daniel Hume, 4th Battalion The Rifles (All rights reserved.)

Rifleman Daniel Hume’s family has made the following statement:

Daniel passed out of Catterick as top recruit and since joining the Army he was the happiest we had known him, he had truly found his place in the world. He believed in what the British Army was trying to achieve and was confident. He was proud to serve his country and was planning to move battalion when he returned so that he could guarantee a speedy return to Afghanistan.

We have lost a son and a best friend, his death has left a huge void in our lives, we are fiercely proud of him.

His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Jones MBE, said:

Rifleman Daniel Hume always said that he wanted one day to be RSM [Regimental Serjeant Major] of the battalion. This may at first appear to be an arrogant boast from a young soldier, but in his case it was anything but this. He was an exceptionally gifted young man who wanted to genuinely do something with his life and it would have been a brave man to bet against him to achieve his ambitions.

He only arrived in the battalion at the end of April having just passed out from ITC Catterick where he was the Top Student. However, he was no stranger to success despite being only 22. He was a keen snowboarder, but his passion was downhill mountain bike racing and it was a passion for which he had a genuine talent.

He started racing at the age of 12 joining the Mountain Bike UK/Scott bikes squad in 2002. By the end of the season he was third in the national rankings, with six wins to his name. It was clear even at this stage that he was a genuine star in the making. More success followed and in 2004 he came 42nd in the Downhill World Cup. Rifleman Hume was a young man with extraordinary talent and a real thirst for life.

He was born in Slough, before moving to Maidenhead where he was educated at Furze Platt Senior School and then at Reading College. Despite his talent on a bike he accepted that he wouldn’t make a living from it and a career in the military beckoned. Initially he headed towards the Royal Marines, attending the Commando Course in 2007. Displaying his typical determination and physical ability, he was nearing the end of the course when he took himself off for personal reasons. Over the next year he worked for a courier company before the call of the bugle drew him to the Army.

The Royal Marines’ loss was The Rifles’ gain. In training he was nothing short of a star; always first in everything, immaculately turned out, but always there for his mates and up for a laugh. When his friends were struggling, he was there for them with a kind and encouraging word and assistance. He was a natural prankster and up for a challenge, but despite this mischievous streak, like the very best Riflemen, he was never caught.

He arrived in 4 RIFLES at a difficult time with the bulk of pre-deployment training completed, but it was testament to his quick and confident manner that he settled into his platoon making an immediate impact. He was a true professional, utterly determined in everything he did, and it was no surprise that he rapidly mastered the skills that he would need in Afghanistan. In his short time in Helmand, he came to be a Rifleman that both his friends and commanders could totally rely upon, no matter what the task.

He was a man with boundless energy, naturally fit and a sportsman, with exceptional motivation and will to succeed. Despite all of his ability, he was truly humble and was just one of the Riflemen - loved and trusted. In difficult times you need men of character who rise to the immense challenges that we ask of our young men; Rifleman Hume was one such man. He had become a rock within his section that belied his relative inexperience. With depth beyond his years, he had an unusually mature head on his shoulders.

In the short time he was with 4 RIFLES he made a huge impact within B Company. Identified from the outset as a star of the future, he drew rare praise from his Company Serjeant Major and even the senior Riflemen had come to rely on him.

Rifleman Hume was the epitome of the Thinking Rifleman. Early promotion beckoned and he had his eye on a move to the Sniper Platoon to join some of our very finest Riflemen. The snipers sit at the heart of The Rifles tradition and he would have excelled with them. Mature and perceptive, his aspiration for the year was to complete the tour safely. Cruel fate has denied him this.

His brother Riflemen have been robbed of a future leader, who would over the coming years have been at the forefront of his generation. However, his family have lost much more - they have lost a beloved brother and son. The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the 4 RIFLES family are with them at this tragic time. We will remember him.

“Swift and Bold.”

From his Officer Commanding, Major Neil Bellamy:

Rifleman Daniel Hume had a tremendous amount of energy surrounding him and only had one gear - fifth gear! He would approach every task whether small and insignificant or vitally important with the same degree of diligence and enthusiasm. I first came across Rifleman Hume during the RSOI [Reception Staging and Onward Integration] package helping to organise his section with the style of an ambitious young JNCO [Junior Non-Commissioned Officer]. I was surprised to find out later that day that he was a relative new boy and it was apparent to me then that he was destined for a rapid rise up the promotion ladder.

As a selfless and incredibly professional young soldier, he will remain as an example to us all, but more importantly as a close friend and fellow Rifleman he will be greatly missed by us all.

Company Serjeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Danny McCreith, said:

You would think that there would not be much to say about a Rifleman that had arrived in B Company in early April; how wrong you would be! Rifleman Hume came across as soldier with more experience, drive and will to succeed than many of his more senior colleagues.

I remember one of our first days in Patrol Base Silab, when Rifleman Hume and I helped build a sangar [fortification] at the front gate. I can honestly say that I have never come across a Rifleman who put so much effort into a task and felt so much pride in the achievement. It was at this stage that I spoke to the OC [Officer Commanding] and highlighted a star for the future. Rifleman Hume had genuine desire to win and this was evident during a five-a-side football match against the Gunners on one of our quieter days. Rifleman Hume had to be substituted because of his over enthusiastic approach, no malice just raw energy.

I have no doubt that this young soldier had a bright future ahead of him and my thoughts at this very difficult time lie with his family and friends. RIP Rifleman Daniel Hume from one Rifleman to another.

From his Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Matt Littlejohn:

Rifleman Daniel Hume was without doubt a rising star in 5 Platoon. He made an indelible mark not only with those in his platoon, but also within the wider audience of B Company, 4 RIFLES. This being no mean feat with the short time he was with us.

Rifleman Hume was one of my most capable and trustworthy Riflemen. He personified the Army’s values; he showed respect for others and worked not for himself but for those around him. He was mature beyond his years and I am adamant that his Army career would have reflected his enormous potential. Two days before the patrol Rifleman Hume had told me of his aspirations to become a JNCO.

Brimming with confidence he recalled how he saw other Section 2ICs [Seconds-in-Command] performing their job and told me how he could do it, and do it better! His dedication could not be faulted and I remember many a time where in briefings he was the only one in the platoon taking notes, consistently thriving on learning new lessons.

Rifleman Hume strived for success and accepted nothing less in every aspect of soldiering whether it was in barracks or on operations doing a job he was fiercely passionate about. Rifleman Hume really had a zest for life. His parents played a large part in his life and he regularly spoke about them.

Rifleman Hume will always be remembered by those of 5 Platoon; however, our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathy are with his family. For his parents Adrian and Wendy, they should feel immensely proud of their son who achieved so much in the most demanding circumstances. He embodied what it is to be a thinking Rifleman and displayed the courage and fighting spirit that all of us can draw inspiration from. It is not only an honour but a privilege to have been able to command such a distinguished Rifleman.

From his Section Commander, Corporal Dominic Purcell-Lee:

Daniel was a cut above the rest, the way he conducted himself was something that made him stand out as a very unique individual with a lot of drive, self-determination and pride. He was exceptionally trustworthy and put 100% into everything he did because nothing less was acceptable. He excelled at everything he put his mind to. He was more than an ordinary soldier, he was a natural born Rifleman. Daniel Hume - ‘Chosen Man’.

His friend, Rifleman Gary Smith, said:

When we first met Daniel it was when we started training together at Catterick. The first impression that we had was that he was a switched-on lad and knew what it was to be a soldier. As the months went by he was a good mate of ours. He always wanted to help people out. Daniel had said that he wanted to do his full 22 years in the Army, and be the future RSM. All of us believed he would achieve it.

From his friend, Rifleman Jack Pearcey:

When I asked Daniel what he wanted to achieve out of his career he answered, ‘I’m going to be RSM’. He was keen as mustard, being an infantryman was his bread and butter. He was a natural and brilliant squad member and more importantly a brilliant bloke, goodbye mate. Gone but not forgotten.

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth MP, said:

The loss of this soldier comes as terrible news for everyone in the Armed Forces and I was very saddened to learn of the incident. Rifleman Daniel Hume gave his life fighting bravely to protect British national security and to make life better for the ordinary Afghan people. My deepest sympathies are with his family at this time.

Published 11 July 2009