Dead Paras Named

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by micksmith, Jun 26, 2008.

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    Sergeant Major Michael Williams was born on 28th November 1967 and grew up in Cardiff, where his unbridled and ever-present love for Cardiff City Football Club originated. Known affectionately by his many friends as Mark, or Weasel, he was a small man with huge depths of physical courage and stamina, and a giant personality. Beneath his kindness and sense of fun and adventure was the most professional soldier, who was loved and respected by the whole Battalion, not least those under his command.

    Mark Williams joined the Army in 1986. After completing training, he joined the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, starting his long career in 11 Platoon, D Company. Over the next 22 years he served with distinction as a rifleman in B and D Companies (including on Operations in Northern Ireland) and as a Lance Corporal in B Company. In 1998 he moved to the Machine Gun Platoon in Support Company, where he served as a Detachment Commander and Platoon Sergeant on Operations in Macedonia and Afghanistan. In 2004 he was posted to the Infantry Training Centre in Brecon as a Machine Gun Instructor, where he relished passing on his expertise, and living in Wales. Promoted to Colour Sergeant, he returned to 2 PARA as Company Quartermaster Sergeant of Support Company and deployed to Iraq, before being promoted to Warrant Officer 2nd Class and becoming the Company Sergeant Major of A Company. He had deployed to Afghanistan with 2 PARA in March 2008, initially running the Battle Group’s in-theatre training in Bastion before taking up his role as the Fire Support Group Commander in C (Bruneval) Company, based out of Forward Operating Base GIBRALTAR in the Upper Sangin Valley.

    Mark Williams was one of the most experienced, popular and well respected soldiers within 2 PARA, with whom he spent almost all of his 22 year career. He loved his Battalion, soldiering, and his men, whom he led with compassion and constant encouragement. His other love was for Cardiff City Football Club, of whom he was the most fanatical supporter. He had organised his leave from Afghanistan especially early in the tour so that he could attend the FA Cup Final. Mark Williams’ death leaves a huge hole in the hearts of the entire Battalion

    Private Joe Whittaker was born on the 11th January 1988. He attended Warwick School and then Stratford Upon Avon College. He played hockey for Stratford Hockey Club and ran for Stratford Athletic Club. Joe joined the TA in Stratford in 2005.

    He eventually joined 4 PARA in October 2007, after transferring from 37 Signal Regiment, having completed his basic training with the Royal Signals in June 2006. He was highly regarded throughout his time with them and was considered to be one of their top recruits. He was a particularly fit soldier; able to complete the 1 ½ mile run in a time of 8.09 minutes. His field craft and personal skills were considered the best in the platoon. Joe had a wicked sense of humour and was usually the ringleader in the fun and games out of working hours. His natural ability and enthusiasm for adventure and challenge channelled his aspirations towards applying to join the Parachute Regiment Reserve. He completed the Combat Infantryman Course and P-Company with 4 PARA in November 2007. He gained a strong pass after working extremely hard on the course.

    Joe Whittaker operated from 10 Company, 4 PARA based in London. He established himself quickly and it did not take him long to volunteer to serve with the Regiment on operations in Afghanistan. He mobilised in April 2008 and after completing all the necessary training joined 2 PARA in May.

    Joe Whittaker was an outstanding young soldier who possessed all the qualities that one would expect from a young paratrooper. He had a flair for life, was fun and had a great sense of humour. His fitness was astonishing, and he possessed the courage, discipline and loyalty of a man many years his age. In the time he spent with 4 PARA it was clear that Joe Whittaker had a bright future and he had the intellect and character for great things. Joe Whittaker was a kind and considerate soldier and he will be sadly missed by all his friends and colleagues in 4 PARA.
  3. Any loss is a tragedy and here you have the finest example of experience and youth that makes the Parachute Regiment the regiment that it is today.
    Sleep well fellas.
  4. Without wanting to make this sound like a line, they both sound like men it would have been an honour to know and to serve with.
  5. Joe was an absolutely cracking guy, in the field and on the razz. It's a shame I didn't know him for longer. He was lucky enough to have two extended military families, and he'll be sorely missed by his comrades in both.

    Stand down, mate.
  6. I only knew Joe for a very short amount of time but that description was spot on. A very cool guy with a wicked sense of humour. The guy loved the reg and was so excited to be going on ops so he could finally do the job he was trained to do.

    Gutted well and truely. Thoughts and prayers for his family.

    Rest easy mate.

  7. I knew Joe when he was signals . We shared a room in Gibralter . He was a truly excellent bloke . I know all obituaries say nice things , but in this case they are true . He won the regimental race up the rock without trying too hard and was intending to go for Para reg at the time . He is sorely missed . Rememberance service in Shottery on fri 27 june .19,30 hrs St Andrews church . All welcome . I cannot believe my mate is gone...
  8. Cant bloody believe it.... I have a mate over there at the minute with the paras, stay safe all :(
  9. Met Mark earlier this year year when he was at SPTA doing MRX..he gave me a ring tone for my mobile....bleddy hell!!!!! RIP mate

  10. See you there xx
  11. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Pte Joe Whittaker had not been with 10 Company for long, but had certainly made his mark. All of the comments on the MOD website are spot on - he was a very competent man who was determined to work hard, do well, and never failed to take the chance to improve his skills.

    He was also not shy of a beer and a good social - a well rounded individual!

    My thoughts are with his family, and the family of all of the other casualties.