Sharon Elliott- unlawfully killed


From EADT: Mar 2007 14:30:40:897&tBrand=ESTOnline&tCategory=search

RELATIVES of a Suffolk woman killed in the Iraq war have today spoken publicly for the first time.

Ted Elliott, father of staff sergeant Sharron Elliott, has paid tribute to his “brave and courageous” daughter in an exclusive interview with The Evening Star.

S/Sgt Elliott hit the national headlines in November last year when she was killed during a bomb attack while serving in Iraq.

Mr Elliott, and his wife Ann, said they are still experiencing a deep sense of loss after the sudden death of the 34-year-old.

But on the day her former school Hadleigh High School created a memorial in her honour, the family have broken their silence.

Mr Elliott, 67, of Clopton Gardens, Hadleigh, said: “She was very brave and courageous and never moaned even though she was in dangerous situations.

“Half of me still doesn't believe she's gone. I miss her terribly and just hope she didn't feel anything.

“She loved her job and the people she served with and she loved her time at Hadleigh High School. They gave her the confidence she needed.

“I was absolutely delighted when the school told me what they were going to do and was amazed at their kindness.

“People have been so marvellous since it happened.

“I hope this will mean her spirit lives on.”

S/Sgt Elliott had only been in Iraq for a week when she was killed in Basra. She was the second British servicewoman to die in the conflict

The school has now created a Sharron Elliott Memorial Award for Determination in Physical Education, which will be presented to a student who has shown strength of character in sport. It will be awarded for the first time on Friday

S/Sgt Elliott's stepmother, Ann, 69, said: “I remember when she broke her leg when she was skiing in the army and she was terrified she would have to leave.

“She was so determined that she would get back into active service so she worked so, so hard to get better.

“And she also loved sports when she was at school so we thought this award would be a great way to remember her.”

Mrs Elliott said she had been unhappy about the Iraq war from its beginning, but said her stepdaughter had always insisted she needed to do her job whatever the circumstances and was willing to be posted to any location.

Mr Elliott said he was overwhelmed by the kindness of the youngsters who raised money and set up the special award.

He said: “I'm extremely proud and it's wonderful to think she wasn't forgotten.”

SHARRON Elliott lived in Hadleigh until 1998 and attended the town's primary and secondary schools.

She joined the army when she was 18 and spent her early career in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

She became the first female in the army to qualify as an aircraft technician.

She transferred to the Intelligence Corps and served in the United Kingdom, Germany and Belize, as well as completing a number of operational tours including service in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq.

Her death came on Remembrance Sunday when a bomb exploded near the boat she was in with three colleagues in the Shatt Al-Arab waterway.

She had been only been in Iraq for one week when she became the second British servicewoman to die in the conflict.

She had four step-brothers, two still serving in the army.

HADLEIGH High School year 11 pupils Terrence Marriott, 16, Sean Talman, 15, and Carla Batram, 15, decided to dedicate an award to Sharron Elliott after learning about her death.

The trio raised £200 thanks to a business enterprise project to create a leavers book and they came up with the idea of using that money to remember S/Sgt Elliott.

Terrence said: “We wanted to do something that really meant something to people.

“My brother's in Iraq at the moment so it really brought home her death for me.

“There are a lot of people at the school who have family in the army and she went to this school so it struck a cord with lots of us.”

Headteacher Cathy Tooze, said: “I'm really proud of them for what they've done totally on their own.

“Hopefully Sharron will be remembered here now for many years to come.

“Staff who worked here when she was a pupil think of her as a very determined girl so the tribute is very fitting.”

Trevor Brigden, head of PE, said: “It is for someone who has shown great determination throughout PE, nothing to do with being at the top level.

“It's to do with perseverance and the will to succeed.

“It mirrors Sharron's achievement in life and hopefully it will inspire the youngsters who are at the school now.”
Great Idea,

has my faith in the youth of today just been restored, or is this the exception that breaks the rule?
It's so good to hear that she will not be forgotten.

Well done Hadliegh High School!
Thats great to hear. I knew Sharon from her Aviation days and it is a fitting memorial to her.


I was out in the Sandpit when it happened, so I am glad that something as awesome as this has been done for Sharron. I hope it kickstarts other such things.


A TOWN has celebrated the life of a Suffolk soldier killed in Iraq on what would have been her 35th birthday.

Staff Sgt Sharron Elliott , who grew up and went to school in Hadleigh, was on her first tour of duty when tragedy struck.

The 34-year-old was one of four soldiers killed when a bomb exploded near their boat on the Shatt al Arab waterway in Basra City on Remembrance Sunday last year.

Her mother, Elsie Manning, organised the memorial service at St Mary's in Hadleigh yesterday - attended by about 200 people - some of who were moved to tears.

Maureen Holland, Sharron's godmother, said: “We all loved her and I cherish my memories of her. I was not surprised she became a soldier, she was born into an Army family. The family served their country with honour and pride and Sharron did likewise.

“She was a no nonsense, professional soldier who showed strength and compassion. She had a steely determination to work for peace. All those who served under her spoke of her fairness.

“Her family are so proud of all she had achieved, she had been brought up to have honour and principles. She was an intelligent girl with a beautiful smile.”

Tony Holland, Maureen's son who grew up with Sharron and was representing her friends, said people could just not believe she was no longer with them.

He quoted others thoughts about her, and said: “Sharron was like sunshine and you never met another person like her. It was terrible news about her passing. No matter what your views or politics about Iraq, she left us doing a job she loved, and was happy.”

The Very Rev Canon David Stranack, leading the memorial service, expressed his admiration for the armed services who work to secure peace at such a high cost to themselves.

He said: “The service is our opportunity to express our appreciation for Sharron. She was loved and appreciated by so many here, we are totally proud of her.

“She excelled in her career. She had courage, dedication, professionalism. She had compassion and concern for others. Our thoughts and hearts go to her mother Elsie, all the family and friends. May she rest in peace.”

Staff Sgt Elliott joined the Army at the age of 18 as an aircraft technician, before transferring to the Intelligence Corps. She had been in Iraq for just over a week after being deployed there from Cyprus.

The blast that took her life also claimed the lives of warrant officer Lee Hopkins, 35, and two Royal Marines, Jason Hylton, 33, and 27-year-old corporal Ben Nowak. Aug 2007 23:45:53:297


War Hero
Sharon was a good girl,

Tm1 have been getting it bad, glad to hear it has not been forgotten
I noticed in the Times today that the coroner has asked to see copies of email traffic relating to threat warnings.

All scapegoats dress forwards one pace


A SOLDIER from Ipswich was unlawfully killed in Iraq when insurgents blew up the boat in which she was travelling, a coroner ruled today.

Staff sergeant Sharron Elliott, 34, of the Intelligence Corps, and three colleagues died on Shatt al-Arab River on November 12 last year when a makeshift explosive mounted on a bridge was detonated as the boat passed underneath.

At an inquest in Oxford, it emerged that the deaths could have been avoided if the Royal Marines boat had been equipped with an electronic counter measure (ECM), a device which prevents bombs like this from being detonated.

There were plenty of the kits in theatre at the time but the boat did not have one.

The hearing was also told that the bridge where the bomb was planted was not searched before the boat went underneath - something coroner Andrew Walker said amounted to “a serious failure to follow basic procedure” by the Royal Marines.

Along with staff sgt Elliott, a former Hadleigh High School pupil, those killed were warrant officer Lee Hopkins, 35, corporal Ben Nowak, 27, and marine Jason 'Jay' Hylton.

The coroner, recording his unlawful killing verdicts, said: “This was an entirely avoidable incident if the basic principles (of military training) had been followed.

“A vulnerable point (in this case the bridge) should not be crossed unless a search of the point has been carried out.

“There was no search of the area as required by basic training and the bridge, in these circumstances, should not have been negotiated.

“The protective measures (ECMs) available, carried on two of the three boats, did not prevent the explosion. Had all the boats carried such measures, it is more likely than not that the explosion would not have occurred.”

Captain Richard Morris, in charge of 539 Assault Squadron's boat group, said the stricken Rigid Raiding Craft was carrying seven people, two of them passengers, north to Basra Palace from Shatt al-Arab Hotel, both British bases.

“Boats were the favoured way of moving along the waterway because at the time boats had never been targeted,” said capt Morris.

He said that on this occasion a shortage of land-based troops meant they were not able to spare men to secure the bridge.

The task, the first boat trip by the Royal Marines following a hand over of river transport responsibilities from the Royal Engineers, went ahead anyway. After the deaths, troops were made available to secure the bridge.

The murders were filmed and the footage later broadcast on Iraqi television. Family members were shown the film privately yesterday. Nov 2007 16:37:12:140
subbsonic said:
Great Idea,

has my faith in the youth of today just been restored, or is this the exception that breaks the rule?
Its a nice area, and a very close community. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more developments in the form of a memorial for her.

God bless her.


Bossdog said:
subbsonic said:
Great Idea,

has my faith in the youth of today just been restored, or is this the exception that breaks the rule?
Its a nice area, and a very close community. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more developments in the form of a memorial for her.

God bless her.
You could be right.
Remembrance parade 11 november 2007.

And at Hadleigh, troops from Wattisham Airfield attended, many of whose families live in the town, and there was a procession from the British Legion to the war memorial and on to the United Reformed Church.

Mayor Mary Munson said: “There was a lovely atmosphere and a lot of children attending, which was good. The town's people turned out in quite large numbers.”

A special wreath was also laid in memory of Sharron Elliott, a 34-year-old solider from the town who lost her life in an attack on a multinational forces boat patrol in Basra last November. Nov 2007 18:47:26:700&tBrand=EADOnline&tCategory=search

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