It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, died at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on Friday 21 September 2012.
Sergeant Kups was from Nuneaton, Warwickshire. He was born on 28 October 1973 and joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in June 1992 where he trained as an electronics technician. In the early years of his career he specialised in radar and ground-to-air weapons, completing an operational tour in Northern Ireland.
As he progressed through his career he turned his expertise to the operation and repair of electronic warfare systems, subsequently completing a number of deployments with 14 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare).
In 2011 Sergeant Kups moved to 104 Force Support Battalion REME before being attached to 4 Close Support Battalion REME for its deployment on Operation HERRICK 16.
With his vast experience, Sergeant Kups was able to effectively lead and develop his soldiers in a very busy electronic repair section. A man of considerable military experience, Sergeant Kups was well respected by his section and by the unit as a whole.
Sergeant Kups’ untimely death is a great loss to his family and the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He leaves behind his wife and three children.
The family of Sergeant Kups said:
Jonathan was a wonderful husband and loving father to three children. He was a loyal man with a wide circle of friends, a devoted son, son-in-law, grandson and brother.
His children said:
You’re the best Dad; always in our hearts - our hero.
His wife added:
I love you now, forever and always and evermore.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Smyth, Commanding Officer, 104 Force Support Battalion REME, said:
Sergeant Jonathan Kups, or ‘Koops’ as he was known, arrived at the battalion in 2011. A real character, his dry and quick-witted sense of humour made him a pleasure to work with and he was extremely popular across all the ranks.
A man of real substance, Sergeant Kups’ maturity and considerable experience enabled him to quickly become a vital member of the Electronics Platoon. Without delay he made an immediate impact within his company, developing and training his soldiers and ensuring that they were all fully competent and able to deliver essential electronics support in Afghanistan and back in the UK; his clear and dynamic leadership guaranteed success.
He immersed himself in all aspects of battalion and company life and I swiftly recognised him as one of my ‘go to’ Senior Non-Commissioned Officers [SNCOs] when a task needed completing quickly, efficiently and to the highest standard.
His loss will be felt across the entire battalion and our thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time.
Lieutenant Colonel Neil Thorpe, Commanding Officer, Theatre Equipment Support Battalion (4 Close Support Battalion REME), said:
Sergeant Kups joined the battalion in late January 2011 as we started the final preparations for our deployment on Operation HERRICK 16. From the start he made a strong impression.
Technically brilliant, he invested considerable sweat and tears in developing his technicians ahead of the deployment and his efforts reaped significant success. At the centre of electronic repair in theatre, he drove his team hard to ensure those soldiers deployed forward had the equipment they needed - he was never found wanting.
Confident, with bags of humour, he was an SNCO who lived life to the full. His enthusiasm was infectious and he cared passionately for the technicians within his team. He was the father figure and his soldiers loved him for it.
The battalion and the Corps have lost a very talented SNCO. It is a privilege to have served with him and our thoughts are with his wife and his children. He will be sorely missed - Arte et Marte.
Major Kevin McLoughlin, Officer Commanding 1 Field Company, 104 Force Support Battalion REME, said:
Sergeant Kups embodied all that is best as a SNCO, a technician and a fellow-in-arms. His experience, maturity and team spirit secured his position as the man to get things done in the Electronics Platoon.
Quick-witted and light-humoured he secured a place in the heart of the company and will always be remembered for his broad smile and confidence. Sergeant Kups made a real impression on all who met him. He led from the front, setting the standard, and dedicated much of his time to mentoring his subordinates.
His sad loss will be keenly felt by all ranks in 1 Field Company.
Captain Dion Cousins, Second-in-Command, 10 Armoured Company, Theatre Equipment Support Battalion (4 Close Support Battalion REME), said:
Sergeant Kups joined the battalion in January 2011 from 104 Force Support Battalion REME to deploy on Operation HERRICK 16. He commanded the electronic counter measures [ECM] repair department within the Equipment Support Battalion, providing a pivotal role in the support to operations throughout the tour.
His technical ability was second-to-none, providing regular advice to his platoon commander and in developing the junior technicians. He was a strong, resilient and robust character who was a loyal defender of his section. His support to his team throughout the tour never wavered, providing guidance both professionally and personally.
His passing is a huge loss to the company and he will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult of times.
Lieutenant Stephen Platts, Platoon Commander, General Platoon, 10 Armoured Company, Theatre Equipment Support Battalion (4 Close Support Battalion REME), said:
Sergeant Kups joined General Platoon in January 2011 on attachment from 104 Force Support Battalion, augmenting the technicians’ section with his specialist skills as an ECM maintainer. Fiercely proud of his section and the work that they produced I could not have asked for a better SNCO at the helm.
An Artisan Sergeant through-and-through he would always tell it like it was. It was this direct yet often humorous approach that I came to value from him. A highly capable and experienced tradesman I could always rely on his timely advice and guidance.
When not at work Sergeant Kups could be found doing some form of physical exercise; he always found time for his daily training sessions. He had taken some of the junior members of the section under his wing, mentoring them in the gym to great effect.
Universally known and respected, his absence will be deeply felt across the platoon and the battalion. Our loss must, however, be but a fraction of what his family must be experiencing. The combined thoughts and condolences from all in General Platoon are with his wife, his three children and his extended family at this difficult time.
Staff Sergeant Matthew Chapman, Second-in-Command, General Platoon, Theatre Equipment Support Battalion (4 Close Support Battalion REME), said:
Sergeant Kups was a robust SNCO, always standing up for his beliefs no matter what the opposition or confrontation. Never one to sit on the fence, his honest opinion was always given, often with his trademark dry sense of humour.
As a section head his loyalty was always with his tradesmen, leading by example and providing technical guidance born from his many years of experience. The platoon SNCOs have lost a man of great experience, a trusted colleague, but most of all a friend. Our thoughts are firmly with his family at this time.
Lance Corporal James Sowersby, Electronic Counter Measures Section, General Platoon, said:
Sergeant Kups was a family man who was always talking to the section about his three children and his wife. He received many letters every day. He loved the gym and he could be there up to three-times-a-day to maintain his fitness. He was good at his job and will leave a large gap in our small section.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
I was saddened to hear of the death of Sergeant Kups. I understand that he was an extremely experienced soldier who always took great care and time to help develop and support all those around him. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.