Operations in Afghanistan

Sapper Guy Mellors killed in Afghanistan

It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Sapper Guy Mellors from 36 Engineer Regiment, serving as part of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, was killed in Afghanistan on 15 February 2010.

Ministry of Defence crest
Sapper Guy Mellors (All rights reserved.)

Sapper Guy Mellors (All rights reserved.)

Sapper Mellors died from wounds received as a result of an explosion which occurred while he was engaged in IED clearance operations in support of A Company, 3rd Battalion The Rifles, near Patrol Base Ezaray to the north east of Sangin district centre.

Sapper Guy Mellors

Sapper Guy Mellors deployed on his first operational tour in October 2009. He was trained as a searcher in a Royal Engineers Advanced Search Team responsible for the detection of improvised explosive devices in areas deemed to be high risk.

The main driver for Sapper Mellors enlisting in the Corps of Royal Engineers in September 2006 was that he could gain a vocational trade. He was schooled as a Building and Structural Finisher and on completion of his training he was immediately posted to 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment, in Maidstone, Kent.

Sapper Mellors was an experienced and highly regarded searcher and was first in line for a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre on his return to the UK, such was the progress he was making professionally.

A keen rugby player who enjoyed both the physical game and the social aspects, Sapper Mellors was a fit and enthusiastic soldier.

Born in Coventry in 1989, Sapper Mellors was a young man who lived life to the full in everything he did. He leaves behind his mother Linda, stepfather Bill, and his two younger sisters Lana, aged 14, and Kia, aged 8.

His mother, Mrs Linda Holland, made the following statement on behalf of the family:

Very proud of Guy. He will always be our hero, he lived his dream.

Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, Royal Logistic Corps, Commanding Officer, Counter-IED Task Force, said:

Sapper Mellors was an impressive young man and an outstanding searcher. Fearless and determined he was a great team player, well loved and respected by his comrades. With his impish grin and questioning nature he was never one to fade into the background.

Although this was his first operational tour Sapper Mellors was a man very much in his element out here in Afghanistan; always the consummate soldier, he loved the search role and had a confidence beyond his years.

Sapper Mellors excelled on operations in Afghanistan, revelling in the vital role his team conducted. The courage and resolve men like him show every day in ridding Afghanistan of the threat from IEDs is humbling.

Although it is a tragedy to lose such a fine soldier, it is a comfort knowing that through his efforts many lives were saved, and that his efforts are recognised in Helmand and back home in the UK. Sapper Mellors will always have a place in our hearts and his loss hits the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group and wider Counter-IED Task Force very hard, but we will never tire in our efforts.

The counter-IED battle is a tough one, but he knew that we are making steady progress and his team had found scores of IEDs since deploying in October 2009. This success is due to the courage and deeds of men like Sapper Mellors and, hard though it is, we must hold our nerve and forge on with the same determination that he showed.

My heart goes out to his family, especially his mother Linda, and young sisters Lana and Kia - Sapper Mellors was a tremendous young man and a credit to his family.

Major Tim Gould, Royal Logistic Corps, Officer Commanding, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, said:

Sapper Mellors was unlike most twenty-year-old soldiers in many respects. Admittedly he did, like most, express his interests as being rugby, women and socialising, and his long term aspiration was overall to make his mother proud. His long term career amibitions however were very mature; to run his own business, which in many ways summed him up.

Sapper Mellors had a certain air of confidence about him, he was not one fazed by rank or circumstance; very much a young man comfortable in his own skin. He had an old head on young shoulders, wisdom beyond his years you might say, very frequently what he had to share was profound.

He was prone to speaking his mind, refreshingly candid, although could be too frank on occasions, but he was always one to push the boundaries. Sapper Mellors was quite simply a fine soldier, a fine searcher and a fine friend.

Sapper Mellors was a young man of ambition, pride and promise, cruelly cut down in his prime whilst serving his country, a man we are honoured to have served alongside and one for so many reasons we will never forget.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hulme, Royal Engineers, Commanding Officer, 36 Engineer Regiment, said:

In Sapper Guy Mellors we had a Sapper of real talent. Extremely fit, enthusiastic, and with a dogged determination to make the most of every opportunity that presented itself, he rapidly established his credentials as a positive force and outgoing character amongst his peer group.

Blessed with a zest for life, a quick wit and impish personality, he could always raise a smile, even in the most arduous circumstances - he laughed at others but was just as comfortable laughing at himself.

Sapper Mellors fundamentally embraced his role as both Sapper and Soldier. His contribution to both operational preparation and to local community tasks was, as one would expect of a man of this capability, simply outstanding.

He was a soldier who had a broad and successful career ahead of him; marked out as ‘gifted’ on his artisan trade courses, sportingly adept, and if he had not been on operations he would have been attending the forthcoming promotion course. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues within both the regiment and the Corps.

He will always be remembered as a man entirely comfortable in his own ability and as someone who was happiest when with his fellow soldiers. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

Captain Declan Flood, Royal Engineer Search Advisor, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, said:

Sapper Mellors’ ability as a searcher cannot be underestimated - I am sure he had extra connections between his eyes and his brain which allowed him to spot things others could not.

I was always entirely confident he understood his role in the plan. Confident, because after my brief he would generally insist on airing his opinion and reviewing my plan at length; the plan was always better for his input.

Anytime the team’s future programme involved a recovery period from our busy schedule, his cynicism meant that he was deeply sceptical until he was firmly back in Camp Bastion eating pizza with the rest of the team. His friendship was greatly appreciated and he will be sorely missed by all of us. Sapper Mellors, a great searcher and a great man.

Sapper Stuart Coleman, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, Royal Engineer Search Team, his friend, said:

Guy was a top bloke; he really was one of the boys and one of my closest friends. He was the biggest smallest lad that I knew. He did his best in the gym but he couldn’t shake those pointy ribs.

He was also not one to hold his tongue, which meant that we used to argue like an old married couple. This would earn us the nicknames of ‘Mr and Mrs Coleman’. He was usually right but I would never let him know it. Guy always put everything into each job and was very aware of what was going on around him; an awesome searcher. No matter what was happening he made the best of it.

We seemed to be joined at the hip for most of the tour, wherever I went he wasn’t far behind. From searching to getting up at 3am, we got each other through it. I trusted Guy with my life and I will never forget him.

Sapper Giles Hurst, Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, Royal Engineer Search Team, his friend and colleague, said:

Guy was quite a character - from the pointy ribs to the secret Welsh accent he would try to hide, his Star Wars Emperor outfit and his awkward behaviour around ladies; it’s just not the same without him.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said:

I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Sapper Guy Mellors. He was killed whilst operating as an important member of the Counter-IED Team which was bringing safety to both the local Afghan population and to his fellow ISAF and Afghan comrades.

A man of clear courage, determination, confidence and good humour, I extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues as they come to terms with his loss at this very difficult time.

Published 15 February 2010