Liam Carmichael

16 March 2008

[ Liam Carmichael ]

He had toured as a soldier with the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment and survived. Liam then switched careers to become a security guard as he worked to protect VIPs and civilians. But the 28-year-old’s life was cut short when he was driving the lead car in a convoy and the tyre blew. Liam, from Benton, Newcastle, was flung from the vehicle when the car flipped and hit a barrier on March 16 in Sulaymaniyah. He received serious head injuries, which caused his death.

Today (31st March 2008) friends and family are due to gather at his graveside as veteran Paras on Tyneside give the dad-of-two, who was a physical trainer with the regiment, a military-style funeral. Former soldiers and security men from across the globe are flying into Newcastle to pay their respects.

Today his proud mum Elaine Carmichael said: “He would say he was bulletproof when he was out there. “We never thought he would be killed in a road traffic accident. “He loved the Paras and had great respect for his colleagues. They were brothers and Liam was the sort who you would want to protect your back.”

Liam, a former pupil at Longbenton High School, always wanted to be in the forces and followed in the footsteps of many of his relatives. He joined his battalion in 2000 and served in Northern Ireland before being sent to Iraq in February 2003. He was one of the first sent in under Operation TELIC and was there for five months. But as many of his pals left to join a high-paid security firm out there, Liam decided to do the same. At the family home in Lambourne Avenue, Benton, Elaine, 48, said: “He was a family man, but his heart was out there. He loved what he was doing and when he came back he was itching to return. “Once you’ve been a Para you will always be a Para and Liam had loyalty in his friends. He felt at home when he was with them.

“One of the lads even said if Liam had known that something was going to happen that day he still would have gone. That was his life.” Liam married Lyndsey after meeting her in Dover where he was based. He was sent to Iraq and Lyndsey, who was serving in the Territorial Army, was sent to the same brigade. He proposed when they were out there and got married a month after they returned in August 2003. They had two sons together – James, four, and Stuart, two, but separated in 2006.

Lyndsey, 27, said: “I have told James about his dad and he talks about him every day. “He says his dad has gone into little pieces in heaven. He says his daddy will always be in his heart. “Liam loved the Paras, but he moved to the security firm because it was more financially viable. “Many of his friends had already left. He was working with his pals again. “I used to always tell him to be careful, but he would say he was bulletproof. “Although he was a brilliant father, the Army was really his life. The bond the guys have out here is second to none. I was quite jealous as a wife because he was so close to them all.

“His friends are coming from across the world, many on unpaid leave, because they want to say their final farewells. Everyone loved him.” His friends have set up a page in his name on Facebook and almost 300 people have posted their tributes. Liam’s girlfriend Simona Turner, 28, of Heaton, said: “We had been together for about two years. I will always love him and remember him. I’ll miss him so much.”
Liam also leaves grandmother June Nelson, 71, sister Theresa, 27, and nephews Connor, Ethan, Elliott and Oliver.

His coffin was due to be draped in the Union flag and the flag of the Parachute Regiment and will be carried by four of his ex-Para colleagues and two school pals. He was due to wear his smart dress uniform. The service for Liam was being held at Bartholomew’s Church, Benton, followed by the burial at Benton Cemetery.

Video tribute to Liam ... click here

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