Operations in Afghanistan

Lance Corporal James Brynin killed in Afghanistan

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal James Brynin of the Intelligence Corps was killed in action in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Tuesday 15 October 2013.

Ministry of Defence crest

Lance Corporal Brynin, an Intelligence Corps soldier attached to 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), deployed to Task Force Helmand in August 2013 as an intelligence analyst working for a Light Electronic Warfare Team within the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) of 7th Armoured Brigade.

In the early hours of 15 October, the BRF deployed from Camp Bastion into the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province to counter an imminent threat to both the Afghan population and the International Security Assistance Force.

Towards the end of the operation Lance Corporal Brynin’s section became the target of enemy fire. Together with a sniper and machine gunner of the BRF, Lance Corporal Brynin returned fire, but while extracting from the area he received a fatal gunshot wound.

Lance Corporal James Brynin

Lance Corporal James Brynin (All rights reserved.)
Lance Corporal James Brynin (All rights reserved.)

Lance Corporal James Brynin was born in Shoreham-by-Sea on 22 December 1990. Joining the Army in February 2011, he was immediately identified as a bright, motivated, self-starter and joined the Intelligence Corps. Following his initial training he was posted to 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare).

Such was his calibre, and having already served a tour in Afghanistan in 2012, he volunteered to train with the BRF and deployed back to Afghanistan in August 2013. Lance Corporal Brynin, who was known as Jay to his friends, excelled in the Army; he had already been selected for promotion to corporal, and had grand ambitions.

Lance Corporal Brynin’s family have paid the following tribute:

Heart of a lion, we will always stand strong for you. We will never forget. Rest in peace – dad, Efrem; mum, Sharon; sister, Yasmin; and girlfriend, Olivia.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Purves, Royal Signals, Commanding Officer of 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

Bright and engaging, Lance Corporal Brynin was immensely popular and an outstanding soldier in every respect. Having already completed 1 tour to Afghanistan, his appointment to support the Brigade Reconnaissance Force was indicative of his talent and leadership qualities.

He was fit, determined and genuinely wanted to make a difference. His selection for promotion to full corporal earlier this year highlighted his flair for his chosen profession.

Full of energy and an avid fan of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, he was also involved in every aspect of regimental life. Always seeking excellence, he aspired to attend pre-parachute selection on his return from Afghanistan; his quality was such that I am confident he would have passed with flying colours.

A member of a small and specialist cadre, his selfless sacrifice to those around him typifies his commitment and unflinching bravery. He will forever be remembered with pride by his regimental family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jay’s parents, his close family and friends at this difficult time.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Slack, Commanding Officer of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, the Brigade Reconnaissance Regiment, said:

Lance Corporal Brynin was a star, burning bright and rising fast. From the moment he joined the Brigade Reconnaissance Force it was clear that we were blessed with a truly special individual. His loss is one of the real tragedies of this military campaign.

He stood out due to his professionalism, his determination and his razor-sharp intelligence. He touched everyone with his zest for life and sense of humour. But above all he will be remembered for his extraordinary courage: when it mattered he stood up and was counted. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his girlfriend Olivia.

Major Kelly Burman, Officer Commanding 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

Words seem inadequate to describe the overwhelming shock and sadness experienced by his friends and brothers-in-arms serving out here when hearing of the tragic news of Lance Corporal James Brynin’s death.

We have lost one of our brightest and best. James had been deliberately selected to form part of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force Light Electronic Warfare Team precisely because he was just that – the brightest and best of us.

He was a young man who was going places with a great future ahead of him. Despite this being his first posting since leaving intelligence training he had already been selected for promotion to full corporal, such was his calibre and potential.

This news has hit us, his squadron, hard but we are determined to remember James for the ever-smiling and cheerful young man and great soldier that he was. We will remember him as an incredibly brave and selfless comrade. When his team came under heavy enemy fire he stepped forward without hesitation to defend them.

He had such a bright future ahead of him and was generally recognised to be at the top of his peer group. May he continue to be an inspiration to all who knew and worked with him, remembering the happy, funny times as he would want to be remembered.

Major Tom McDermott, Royal Tank Regiment, Officer Commanding the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, said:

Lance Corporal Jay Brynin was one of the great characters of this world. From the first moment I met him I was won over by his ever-present smile, his great sense of humour and his ability to get on with everyone and anyone he met.

He loved his job and the small team he worked with, and they loved him back. We will always remember him for his keen intelligence, his determination to succeed, and his zest for life. Our deepest condolences are with his parents and his girlfriend.

Lieutenant George Downing, Officer Commanding Eastleigh Troop, 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

Lance Corporal Brynin had an infectious enthusiasm for all aspects of military life. He has been a driving force within 236 Signal Squadron since its formation in spring 2012. His overwhelmingly positive outlook on life helped cement his position as one of the most competent and well-liked junior non-commissioned officers within the squadron.

He was a natural choice for the most demanding roles. He thrived on being in the thick of the action and it gives me some comfort to think he was entirely in his element until the last.

Chatting with Lance Corporal Brynin while he was passing through Main Operating Base Price with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force a couple of days ago, we talked about what we wanted to do after the tour. He said he was looking forward to completing ‘P Company’, parachute selection training. As one of the fittest and most determined soldiers I have worked with, I have every confidence he would have succeeded.

Warrant Officer Class Two Gary Lawson, Squadron Sergeant Major, 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

Jay Brynin was not the stereotypical Intelligence Corps soldier, being more at home when out on the ground indulging his passion for soldiering. A highly motivated, dedicated and professional young soldier, he was always the first to volunteer. He’d truly found his calling in life and has been taken from us doing what he loved.

Lance Corporal James Brynin (All rights reserved.)
Lance Corporal James Brynin (All rights reserved.)

Sergeant Steve Joyce, Brigade Reconnaissance Force, Light Electronic Warfare Team Commander, 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

Jay Brynin was one of the most enthusiastic blokes I have ever come across. Even during some of the most difficult times his energy knew no bounds. Whenever an operation came up he was the first person to volunteer and the only difficulty I ever had with him was holding him back.

He was an absolute professional who did his job to the utmost of his ability every time. During the last 10 months I saw more of him than my own family and that is why I will always remember him as a brother.

Corporal Richard Blakey, Lance Corporal Brynin’s Light Electronic Warfare Team partner, 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

Jay was one of the best friends I’ve had in my Army career. I first met him while trying to dodge a Pathfinders cadre in order to go to a stag do. Whilst it looked like I would miss the stag do as nobody wanted to be thrashed by Pathfinders in Brecon, one word to Jay, whom I barely knew at the time, and he jumped at the chance.

I’ve met precious few people who I’ve instantly bonded with like Jay. We shared a passion for all things with 4 wheels and spent many an hour debating our favourites.

I couldn’t possibly describe Jay without using the word ‘keen’. His enthusiasm was intoxicating. He loved almost all aspects of Army life. In particular, sport, green skills, his job as an analyst, but, most of all, gossip and ‘shimfing’.

He was probably the only person who took it personally when an operation was cancelled. His enthusiasm also continued to nights out with the boys where he was always good for a laugh.

Jay always seemed to throw himself into whatever he did, whether it was football, weightlifting or his Army career. He was always his own man, rarely backing down in debates. He maintained his strong personality and individuality.

My heart goes out to his family and long term girlfriend Olivia, all of whom he spoke of so fondly. I will miss him dearly.

Corporal Ashley Roylance, Intelligence Corps, 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

Full of vigour, brave and bold.

A cracking story, he always told.

His smile was bright, true and real,

At ease and relaxed he made you feel.

Took on everything in his way,

No matter who or what, that’s what made him Jay.

A gap is left that will always remain,

But from this there is much we can gain;

However long Jay had been our mate,

In whatever way, form or state(!)

We have made memories that are always there,

Memories to think about, keep and share.

So, at this time and in the years to come,

We can think of these times and come together as one.

Jay will always be a part of us, now and forever,

We will keep him vibrant and real and forgotten never.

Lance Corporal Jordon Polonijo, Intelligence Corps Analyst, Brigade Reconnaissance Force, said:

I first met Jay in February 2013 at the start of pre-deployment training for 7 Brigade, Brigade Reconnaissance Force. We quickly built not only a working relationship but also a friendship too. What initially struck me was Jay’s level of awareness and experience of operating in Helmand province and I found myself leaning on him for advice in my first few weeks.

Jay embodied everything that an Intelligence Corps and Brigade Reconnaissance Force soldier should be: professional, robust, highly capable and able to operate in austere environments. On a personal level he was calm, laid back and had a very dry sense of humour.

When combined with his analytical ability and knowledge of his job, this means a huge loss to his team, the Brigade Reconnaissance Force and the Intelligence Corps family. Sadly the biggest loss of all though is as a friend.

Lance Corporal Luke Garbett, 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

If a man is measured by the opinions of his peers, Jay stood above us all.

Signaller David Ball, Brigade Reconnaissance Force, Light Electronic Warfare Team, 236 Signal Squadron, 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said:

I have never known anybody as enthusiastic about anything as Jay was about the Army. From the moment I met him he was always full of energy about everything he did. He had so many aspirations and would have flown through the ranks in the Army. His main one was to complete ‘P Company’ parachute selection training; I think to prove something to himself and his dad.

I am proud to have known him and served next to him. Sleep well buddy, you finally got your wings!

The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:

I was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Lance Corporal James Brynin. His colleagues and commanders have spoken warmly about his outstanding professionalism and selflessness. It is clear that he was a man of determination, ambition and high achievement.

My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and colleagues at this most difficult time.

Published 15 October 2013
Last updated 16 October 2013 + show all updates
  1. Updated cap badge statement to full eulogy
  2. First published.