[ Sgt Michael Willetts & Sgt Walter Beard ]


[ Cap Badge ]

[ 2 Para ]

[ 2 Para ]

[ 3 Para ]

[ 4 Para ]

Roll of Honour:


Palestine 1945 - 1948


Aden & Radfan

RAF Hastings Call Sign TG 577

Northern Ireland

131 Independent Parachute Squadron

Kiel Canal - Germany Wednesday 11th September 1974


Falkland Islands

Operations in Iraq: British Fatalities

The total number of UK troops killed in operations in Iraq has reached 179 after a soldier died from a gunshot wound in Basra on 12 February 2009. Comprehensive details of British fatalities since the invasion of 20 March 2003 ... British Fatalities

Op TELIC 1 : 2003 : The Invasion
... Wikipedia

[ Basra ]


A memorial that was erected in Basra, then bought home to the National Arboretum


[ Private Andrew Joseph Kelly ]

6th May 2002

Private Andrew Joseph Kelly died on 6 May in an accident whilst serving in Iraq. Aged 18, he was serving with 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. His mother, Mrs Helen Yallop, has asked for the following statement to be issued: "Andrew's loss is deeply felt by all the family. We are devastated. He was a wonderful, fearless and confident son, always well-mannered, and who, even as a young boy, desired only to be a Para. He turned 18 on 9 March this year, and within days was on his way to the Gulf. "Even at school in Tavistock, he was single-minded about an Army career, knowing it would fulfil his ambitions for travel and sport. He loved swimming, roller-blading and skiing, and had enjoyed many family trips abroad. In his last call to me just days ago, he said, 'Don't worry about me mum; Paras always go to heaven.' "He will be missed sorely, too, by his two dogs - especially Roxy, a Staffordshire terrier who senses a terrible tragedy has befallen us all. Andrew remains alive in our thoughts and memories; it will always be so."

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Lowe, the Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said: "The loss of Private Andy Kelly is especially tragic. He was a young man full of energy and life with a long career in The Parachute Regiment ahead of him. Andy had recently joined the 3rd Battalion, having come from the Infantry Training Centre where he had completed basic training and proved himself to be fit, mentally agile, professional, and highly determined. "It had always been Andy's ambition to be a Parachute Regiment soldier and he was welcomed from the moment he arrived. He had just started to make new friends and settle down into post-war operations. Andy was quiet but confident and likeable. He was very polite and carried out his job in the professional manner expected from a member of the British Army on operations. "The Battalion will hold a private memorial service in Iraq. Our thoughts are with his family and friends".

[ Captain Richard Holmes ]

28 February 2006:

Captain Richard Holmes

Captain Richard Holmes, has been posthumously awarded a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for his work in engaging with Iraqi Security Forces and Police Service.
Dated: Friday 8 September 2006 The Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service recognises meritorious service during, or in support of, operations.


Captain Holmes and Private Ellis, from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, were attached to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Al Amarah, Maysaan Province. They were killed when a roadside bomb exploded as they conducted a routine patrol. Tributes have today been paid to the two soldiers by their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Chiswell. Richard Holmes was born on 1st November 1977. He joined the Parachute Regiment after studying law at Liverpool University. He lived in Winchester, Hampshire with his wife, Kate, whom he married shortly before deploying to Iraq in October 2005. Richard joined the Army in January 2001. After completion of Officer Training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst he was commissioned into The Parachute Regiment. On successful completion of the demanding Pre-Parachute Selection, the Basic Parachute Course at RAF Brize Norton and the Platoon Commander's Battle Course he joined B Company, the Second Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He served with the Battalion in Northern Ireland and also completed an earlier tour in Iraq. He completed an attachment with the "The Highlanders" before returning to The Parachute Regiment in April 2005 to command the Anti Tank Platoon. He deployed to Maysaan with D Company as part of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group in October 2005. 

During his time in Maysaan, Captain Holmes worked tirelessly with the local Iraqi Security Forces. His principal work in Iraq was developing and mentoring a co-ordinated Iraqi Operations Centre, a task requiring tact, personality and patience. His efforts to learn Arabic and embrace the local culture, coupled with his natural sparkle and enthusiasm, endeared him greatly to the Iraqis with whom he worked so closely. This in turn made him highly effective in influencing and enhancing the organisation for which he was responsible. A fine ambassador for The Parachute Regiment, he will also be greatly missed by his many friends in The Highlanders and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Lieutenant Colonel James Chiswell, his Commanding Officer, said:

"Charming, compassionate and bright, Richard was one of The Parachute Regiment's rising stars. He brought a warm humour and enormous professionalism to all he touched. He excelled as a young commander with both The Parachute Regiment and The Highlanders, and was deeply respected by those he led." "In Iraq he made a real difference, displaying wise judgement and total dedication in his efforts to progress the efficiency of the Iraqi Police in Al Amarah. His determination to understand and share in the local culture was typical of his positive outlook and, as always, reaped dividends and won him many friends. "As a reflection of his ability and character, he was due to leave us later this year to take up a prestigious instructor's post as a Platoon Commander at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Kind, fun and warm humoured, he was a pleasure to be with and always saw the lighter side of life. "With his passing, The Parachute Regiment has lost a fine soldier and officer. Our thoughts are with his wife, family and many friends."

[ Private Lee Ellis ]

28 February 2006:

Private Lee Ellis was born on 24th January 1983. He lived in Wythenshawe, Manchester with his fiance Sarah and his daughter Courtney. Private Ellis joined the Army in September 2003 and completed his basic training at the Infantry Training Centre (Catterick). In April 2004 he joined D Company, the Second Battalion The Parachute Regiment. Suffering from an injury in 2005, he showed typical fortitude and determination to recover. He deployed to Iraq in October 2005 with D Company and operated in Maysaan Province as part of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group. Private Ellis was a keen sportsman. An apprentice with Wigan Athletic Football Club, he gave up a career in professional football to join The Parachute Regiment. A committed Manchester City supporter; he made every effort to watch each televised match. An equally keen boxer, he looked forward to representing his Company and the Battalion on its return to Colchester. Private Lee Ellis was not only a comrade but a close friend to many. He will be sorely missed by all those who were privileged to serve with and know him.


GUNFIRE broke the respectful silence as Paratroops paid tribute to Pte Lee Ellis, killed in Iraq. Ten soldiers fired three shots into the air in a salute to the Wythenshawe soldier as his body was laid to rest. Lee, was patrolling a children's playground in Al Amarah when a homemade bomb exploded. He was killed in the blast on 28th February 2006 along with a fellow officer. Hundreds of mourners gathered at William Temple Church in Wythenshawe for the funeral service.
Among the congregation were more than 40 members of 2 Para, who flew from Iraq to be with Pte Ellis's family and friends.
Six Paratroops carried his coffin into the church draped in a Union flag. A group of ex-Servicemen formed an honour guard and standard bearers stood near the door. Pte Ellis's father Tony spoke of his son's "warmth", his "vibrant and loving personality", his "courage" and his "big, beautiful smile". 

[ Lee ]

Lieutenant Colonel Chiswell said of Private Ellis:

"Bright, enthusiastic and immensely popular, Private Ellis displayed all the qualities of a first class Paratrooper. His strength of character and dedication were reflected in his determination to overcome injury and to join his friends and comrades on operations in southern Iraq. "His comradeship stood out; he was always willing to help others, and invariably did so with a smile on his face. Hardworking, professional and with an irrepressible sense of humour, he showed enormous compassion in his dealing with the local Iraqis he encountered, whether they were Police, civilians or children. "He was a natural team player who always looked out for others and who was always upbeat and focused. Above all else he was a total professional, dedicated to his task. He made a genuine difference in Iraq. "Private Ellis was an outstanding soldier, comrade and friend. He will be sorely missed by all those who have served with him and our thoughts are with his fiance and family."

[ Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Hopkins with his Wife ]


[ 216 Sigs ]


Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Hopkins, Royal Corps of Signals

Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Lee Hopkins, 35, of The Royal Corps of Signals, joined the British Army in 1988 and spent his entire career in the Royal Corps of Signals. He had seen operational service in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and previously in Iraq. At the time of his death he was five weeks into a planned six month tour in Iraq.

He died as a result of injuries sustained following the detonation of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) mounted on a bridge on the Shatt Al Arab River on the eastern edge of Basra City. The incident took place at approximately 1350 hrs local time, Sunday 12 November 2006. He was one of many who were killed or injured while onboard a Rigid Raiding Craft (RRC) which was part of a routine boat patrol travelling north towards the Shatt Al Arab Hotel, a British Army base on the river. more from the MOD


[ Thomas ]

WO2 Lee Hopkins was an outstandingly professional soldier, who embraced the challenges of his profession. He was extremely fit, a qualified parachutist and keen all round sportsman. He excelled in rugby, squash, golf and orienteering. Members of his unit had been impressed by his strong character, wicked sense of humour, infectious enthusiasm and his ability to thrive on challenge. WO2 Lee Hopkins came from Wellingborough. He had been married for 10 years and leaves behind a wife and son, aged three.

Warrant Officer Lee Hopkins son Thomas with his Dad's medals 


Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Park, his Commanding Officer in Iraq said: 

"WO2 Lee Hopkins was the ultimate professional. Although he arrived in Theatre only five weeks ago, he made an immediate impact. Vastly experienced, he worked tirelessly for his soldiers, encouraging them to succeed. He would always make time to pass on the benefit of his knowledge to the newer members of the unit. He won the respect of all who met him for his leadership, enthusiasm and dedication. Fit and ambitious, he was a shining example to all. "Proud of his airborne training, WO2 Lee Hopkins took every opportunity to further his soldiering skills. He led from the front with a quiet authority and paid attention to every detail. Charismatic, he was comfortable in the presence of all ranks and selfless in seeking assistance for his soldiers. "WO2 Lee Hopkins was a dedicated family man who spoke often of his wife and young son. He was a loving husband and devoted father. His keen sense of humour and sociable character made him a very popular member of the unit. He was great fun to be around. "My thoughts and that of the unit are with his family and friends at this very difficult time. We have lost a trusted and valued colleague, who will be sorely missed by all."

This from a close friend and serving Soldier

Lee was a top bloke, I grew up with him back home as a mate in the Army Cadets, and shared some good times with him. He went on to serve with the Royal Signals, later passing P Company and earning his wings, to serve with 216 Signals Squadron in 5 Airborne Bde. He was a very enthusiastic and funny guy, and great fun to be around. I was gutted to hear about his death in November 2006, which was made even more poignant as it happened on Remembrance Day that year. I always visit his grave when I go home.

Special Air Service

[ Beret & Badge ]

Major Stenner, 30, and Sergeant Patterson, 28, originally of the Welsh Guards and the Cheshire Regiment, were killed in a road accident (1st January 2004) in Baghdad after attending a meeting with American soldiers engaged in hunting members of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Major Stenner who won the Military Cross for his work inside Iraq during last year's (2003) military operations to depose Saddam Hussein was one of two SAS soldiers who died when their vehicle crashed in Baghdad last week. Major James Stenner, 30, who was tipped to become the commanding officer of 22 SAS Regiment, was serving as operations officer for British special forces operating in the area around the Iraqi capital. Major Stenner, whose father Alan also served in the SAS, won his MC for operations as a troop commander in D Squadron, one of the two sabre squadrons sent to Iraq to take part in last year's military offensive. The unmarked 4X4 vehicle in which Major Stenner, 30, and Sgt Norman Patterson, 28, were travelling hit a concrete chicane in front of the entrance to the Green Zone, where the SAS have their headquarters. Major Stenner, who was married and came from Penallt, Monmouthshire, had originally served with the Welsh Guards. Sgt Patterson, who was single and from Staffordshire, had only recently joined the SAS from the Cheshire Regiment. The accident happened in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2003.

Sergeant Norman Patterson, from Draycott in the Clay, and his colleague, 
Major James Stenner
, were killed when their vehicle hit a wall in Baghdad in the early hours of New Year's Day. Sgt Patterson, 28, who was single, had only recently joined the elite special forces unit from the Cheshire Regiment, which is not on operational duty in Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel John Donnelly, commanding officer of the Cheshire Regiment, today described Sgt Patterson as a "natural leader" and the "embodiment" of a regimental soldier.
"Sgt Patterson was a greatly respected and extremely popular member of the Cheshire Regiment, admired not only for his professional excellence but also for his great humility," he said. Lt Col Donnelly said Sgt Patterson had also served with the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. "He quickly established a reputation as a robust and resilient soldier, a natural leader and a patient instructor," he said. "His constant drive for perfection and his calmness under pressure, coupled with his quietly confident manner, endeared him to all with whom he worked. "His full participation in regimental life, professionally, socially and on the sports field made him the embodiment of the regimental soldier. "His positive outlook, quick wit and enthusiasm for everything he undertook enhanced the lives of all those he met, and this zeal for life will be remembered with deep respect and affection by all with whom he served. "The thoughts of his many friends in the regiment are with his family for the loss of such a proud soldier and dedicated son," he said. The two soldiers were driving inside the US-controlled "Green Zone" in Baghdad, where the SAS is understood to be stationed, when they crashed into concrete bollards installed to protect troops from suicide bombers, the MoD said.

His father, also called Norman, of Woodlands Rise, Draycott in the Clay, was understood to have met his son's body at RAF Brize Norton last week.

Sergeant Jonathan Hollingsworth 

Sgt Jon Hollingsworth

Sergeant Jonathan Hollingsworth, from the Parachute Regiment, was killed following a planned search and detention operation in Basra City, Iraq, on Friday 23 November 2006.
Sgt Hollingsworth (Wikipedia) sustained gunshot wounds during the operation and was evacuated to a nearby military hospital. Despite the best possible medical care, he later died from his injuries. He was a member of the Parachute Regiment, on secondment to Headquarters Multinational Division South East, Iraq.

7 February 1971 – 23 November 2006
Sergeant Jonathan Stuart Hollingsworth CGC, QGM

Sgt Hollingsworth reportedly sustained gunshot wounds during a raid to capture terror leaders in Basra and later died of his injuries at a nearby military hospital. Sources suggest he had been recommended for a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross after single-handedly killing six insurgents during a separate raid in the southern Iraq capital only weeks earlier. Only weeks before his death, Sgt Hollingsworth was shot in the back of the neck during another operation in Basra. The bullet missed his carotid artery by millimetres but, rather than taking time off to recover, he promptly returned to action.

A former paratrooper Hollingsworth was twice decorated for his gallantry; firstly receiving the Queen's Gallantry Medal as a Corporal in Northern Ireland, and later the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in Iraq.


 [Sgt Mark Lawrence Powell ]

Colour Sergeant Mark Lawrence Powell, of the Parachute Regiment, who was killed in Iraq when two Puma helicopters crashed in Iraq on Sunday, 15 April, 2007. 'He was an exemplary Combat Leader, soldier, father, husband, friend and Briton, dedicated to his family, his men, his mission and his country. 'In the finest traditions of the Army and his Regiment, he was utterly selfless, never shirking danger, effort or hard service in the pursuit of his mission. 'His loss is tragic, and keenly felt by all but his example to others will be sure to endure and inspire us all for years to come. He was serving with "G" Squadron 22 SAS

Awaiting Photo

Sergeant Eddie Collins of the Parachute Regiment was killed in Action in Iraq on Wednesday 5 September 2007. Sgt Collins’ commanding officer paid the following tribute: 

"Sgt Collins was a champion soldier, a proud and loving family man and a great friend. He always played to win and always set the finest example. He died a warrior, on the battlefield, leading from the front, doing a job he loved in the service of his friends, his regiment, his family and his country. He will never be forgotten." Sgt Eddie Collins was buried with Full Military Honours

[ Lee Fitzsimmons ]


Trooper Lee Fitzsimmons

Fitzsimmons, 26, and Battersby were killed when their RAF Puma helicopter crashed (
November 2007) near the Baghdad suburb of Salman Pak. They had been part of a team which had been investigating reports that insurgents had been collecting material from Salman Pak, a weapons site and laboratory during Saddam Hussein's time. The crash, in which 12 others were injured including two other members of the SAS, was not, it was found, due to enemy fire.

Trooper Fitzsimmons was 26 when he died. He applied to join the Royal Marines while still at school, gaining entry at the second attempt to join 42 Commando in 1999 aged 17 and transfer to 45 Commando in 2004. He saw active service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trooper Fitzsimmons's mother, Jacqui Auty, described recent months as "absolute hell". She said: Nobody wants to die at a young age, but Lee wouldn't have shied away from doing his duty."

[ SAS soldier Nicholas Brown ]


SAS soldier Nicholas Brown died after a firefight in Iraq on 26 March, 2008.

The 34-year-old form Hunderton in Herefordshire died as a result of gunshot wounds sustained during a battle in Baghdad in the early hours whilst he was part of a team sent in to arrest a militia commander ...
he died in a firefight with Shia fighters in Baghdad on 26 March this year fighting alongside US forces which had targeted the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. He was said to have been part of a snatch squad sent to arrest a senior militia commander which ran into an ambush.

His identity was kept secret until a court order was lifted on 29 July, 2008.

Plans to keep the identities of SAS fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan secret were in tatters, following a coroner's landmark decision to allow the naming of two troopers killed in a Puma helicopter crash in Iraq in November 2007. The Hereford coroner David Halpern revoked an order stopping publication of the soldiers' names. His earlier prohibition order under the Contempt of Court Act set a precedent which imposed a blanket ban on identifying Special Air Service and Special Boat Service casualties. The Ministry of Defence, acting on behalf of the Director of Special Forces, had sought to impose the restrictions on grounds of national security, the human rights of bereaved families, and aspects of common law. However, the ministry has conceded their position was untenable after lengthy legal consultations. The development allows Lee Fitzsimmons and John Battersby, the two SAS members who died in the helicopter crash at Salman Pak, to be identified. A third SAS soldier, Nicholas Brown, 34, killed in a fire-fight in Baghdad four months ago, can also be named. Two other SAS members, Major James Stenner and Sergeant Norman Patterson, were killed in Baghdad on New Year's Day 2004 in a car crash.

Simon McKay, a solicitor from the firm McKay Law, acting for Trooper Fitzsimmons' family, said: "They are obviously very, very upset and trying to come to terms with their loss. They have followed the legal case and decided, after the order was lifted, to put their views on record." The Ministry of Defence said it had no comment to make on the matter. The military has shrouded in secrecy the identities of SAS and SBS personnel. This policy has been particularly prevalent in Iraq, where Special Forces have often been involved in action with American forces outside the British-controlled south. 

Identities of the fallen SAS men

Lee Fitzsimmons and John Battersby

Fitzsimmons, 26, and Battersby were killed when their RAF Puma helicopter crashed near the Baghdad suburb of Salman Pak. They had been part of a team which had been investigating reports that insurgents had been collecting material from Salman Pak, a weapons site and laboratory during Saddam Hussein's time. The crash, in which 12 others were injured including two other members of the SAS, was not, it was found, due to enemy fire.

James Stenner and Norman Patterson

Major Stenner, 30, and Sergeant Patterson, 28, originally of the Welsh Guards and the Cheshire Regiment, were killed in a road accident in Baghdad after attending a meeting with American soldiers engaged in hunting members of Saddam Hussein's regime. 

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two military personnel killed near Baghdad, Iraq. Tuesday 20th November 2007. The two personnel were killed when the RAF Puma helicopter they were travelling in crashed.

[ St Martin's Church Hereford ]

Special Air Service - Cemetery
St Martin's Church

Photo (left) taken April 2009