3 More Heroes

I ask everyone to join me in lifting a glass to salute these 3 new heroes. Let us not forget them. Semper Fidelis!

MoD names three soldiers killed in daring rescue mission by British troops

Lance Corporal James Fullarton, Fusilier Simon Annis and Fusilier Louis Carter, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who have been named as the latest confirmed British deaths in Afghanistan

Michael Evans, Defence Editor

A soldier who married in February just before deploying with his regiment to Afghanistan was one of three soldiers killed on Sunday who have been named by the Ministry of Defence

The three soldiers were Fusilier Simon Annis, Fusilier Louis Carter and Lance Corporal James Fullarton, all from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Fusilier Annis, 22, born in Salford, Greater Manchester, married his wife, Caroline, a few weeks before he left for Afghanistan, where he served with Three Platoon, A Company.

His wife said: “Simon was the perfect husband, son and brother. He will be sorely missed by all of us. He was a true hero who made all of us so very proud and he will always have a place in our hearts. We will love and miss him always.”

The regiment, serving with 2 Rifles battle group, has lost five soldiers in just under a month. The latest to be killed died when two roadside bombs exploded while they were on patrol in Sangin in northern Helmand.

Fusilier Annis and Fusilier Carter, 19, sacrificed their lives while trying to evacuate their section commander, Lance Corporal Fullarton, who had been fatally wounded in the first explosion. Fusilier Carter grabbed the front of the stretcher to remove him from danger, but there was a second explosion, and both Fusiliers were killed.

This has become a recurring tactic used by the Taleban, to target soldiers who rush to the rescue of wounded colleagues.

In a tribute to Fusilier Annis, the MoD said his sense of humour and positive attitude helped to inspire the men of Three Platoon through some dark days, including the death of his friend and colleague, Corporal Joey Etchells, who was killed by a roadside bomb on a foot patrol in Sangin on July 19.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charlie Calder, his commanding officer, said: “Fusilier Simon Annis was a larger than life character and a dedicated soldier. Always at the heart of whatever was going on, it was no surprise to me that he died whilst trying to save his mortally-wounded section commander. He should be seen as a shining example to the nation of what selfless commitment really means. The heartfelt condolences of every Fusilier in Afghanistan go to Caroline, his wife of only a few months.”

Major Jo Butterfill, officer commanding A Company Group of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, said: “Unshakable by anything the Army or the enemy could throw at him, he was rock-solid under both fire and the privations of operational life, and never to be found without a smile on his face. It was absolutely typical of the man that he died in the attempt to extract a wounded friend from danger. We have lost a truly excellent soldier, and a staunch comrade.”

Lieutenant Alan Williamson, platoon commander of Three Platoon, A Company, paid tribute to a soldier he described as “the life and soul” of the platoon.

Fusilier Carter, 19, born in Nuneaton, was also praised for his attempt to evacuate Lance Corporal Fullarton.

Lieutenant-Colonel Calder said: “Fusilier Louis Carter gave his young life just as he was embarking on his career with the Fusiliers. Thrown into the thick of it right from the start, he quickly became a key member of his platoon. He sacrificed his life attempting to save his section commander. This act of selfless commitment from one so young should be a shining example to the nation.”

The MoD said: “It is a testament to this young man’s character that in the face of great danger he died trying to save his fallen commander. A young life and fledgling career cut short due to his selfless act in trying to save his friends.”

Fusilier Carter’s family said: “Louis was a loving and caring son to Mick and Denise Carter, and a great older brother to Sam, and younger brother to Lee. Louis’s childhood dream and ambition was always to join the Army and ultimately serve his country. His dream was fulfilled but tragically cut short.”

Lieutenant Alan Williamson, platoon commander Three Platoon A Company said Fusilier Carter was one of his most junior soldiers “but you would have never known this after meeting him”.

“It will come as no surprise to those who knew him that he was killed whilst helping to casevac his section commander. With a calm head and real courage he jumped onto the front of the stretcher with no thought for his own safety.”

Lance Corporal “Fully” Fullarton, 24, born in Coventry, had served in Northern Ireland and Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan. In June, while on rest and recreation leave, Lance Corporal Fullarton proposed to his girlfriend, Leanne. They planned to marry in June next year.

He was recently appointed section commander, responsible for Fusilier Annis and Fusilier Carter. The MoD said he was a shining example to his men, who all admired and respected him.

On Sunday, Lance Corporal Fullarton had been tasked with leading A Company on a patrol and had been leading from the front when he was hit by the explosion.

Janice and Peter Fullarton, his parents, and Leanne, his fiancée, said: “James was an outstanding soldier who was so proud to serve his Queen and country. He touched so many around him and has left a void in our lives that will never be filled.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Calder, said: “Lance Corporal James Fullarton had established an enviable reputation as a section commander. He inspired confidence in all the Fusiliers around him when operating under the most demanding of circumstances.”

Corporal Scott O’Connell, section commander of 11 Platoon A Company Group, and a close friend, said: “Fully was one of the most professional soldiers I have ever seen, always happy, loved his job and no matter how hard things got he was never phased. He would just say ‘I’m not arsed’- Fully’s famous quote.”

Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, said: “These three brave soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the security of all of us in the United Kingdom. Their deaths are truly heart rending and their families are in my thoughts. The loved ones they have lost are true heroes.”

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