|From Defence News mod.uk
Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes killed in Afghanistan
A Military Operations news article
10 Jun 07
It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Saturday 9 June 2007.
Guardsman Tony Downes
Guardsman Downes's vehicle was hit by an explosion when on a patrol with the Afghan National Army (ANA) close to the town of Sangin in Helmand Province.
The Grenadier Guards and the ANA had been taking part in an operation to help widen and deepen irrigation ditches for locals in the area. Guardsman Downes died from the injuries he sustained in the explosion.
Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes
Guardsman Tony Downes, aged 20, was from Manchester. He joined the Army in 2004 and had already completed one tour in Iraq with the Grenadier Guards in 2006.
Lieutenant Colonel Carew Hatherley, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Always full of energy and enthusiasm, his intellect and humour constantly shone through the darkest of situations. He was a resolute and steadfast friend to all who knew him. He excelled as a soldier, whether in tunic and bearskin or combats, and was held in the highest regard by all who had the pleasure to serve alongside him.
"Over the previous twelve weeks he had fought alongside his fellow Grenadiers and the Afghan National Army soldiers against the Taliban, never once flinching from his duty. He gave his life in selfless service to his country. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten."
Company Commander The Inkerman Company, Major Marcus J G Elliot-Square, said of him:
"Guardsman Downes was without doubt one of the most remarkable Guardsmen that I have had the pleasure to serve with. He was a man of huge intellect. In possession of sixteen GCSEs he was always going to be the Company's choice as intelligence rep. This was a responsibility that he fully embraced, always willing to give informed briefs at a moment's notice.
"He had developed such a depth of understanding about the areas that we worked in that the Company was always well prepared. Consummately professional in everything he did, he never stopped gathering vital intelligence whilst on patrol in areas such as Sangin, Gereshk and Babaji.
"He was completely dedicated to his job and to the men around him, making him both a pleasure and an honour to command. Guardsman Downes loved soldiering and so died doing something he loved and believed in totally. Guardsman Downes added so much to the Company and asked for very little in return. He was a real asset and his loss will be felt keenly within The Inkerman Company and The Grenadier Guards as a whole.
"His family and girlfriend have our deepest sympathies and our thoughts will be with them always."