Tributes paid to servicemen killed in helicopter crash

Family and colleagues have paid tribute to the five servicemen killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence has now released the names of the men, the youngest of whom was 26 years old.

Tributes paid to servicemen killed in Afghanistan

Family and colleagues have paid tribute to the five servicemen who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

The family of Lance Cpl Oliver Thomas, the youngest of the five at 26 years of age, said he was a "truly amazing person", while his commanding officer called him "bright, gifted with an enquiring mind and laser focussed on the task in-hand".

The commanding officer of Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan said he was "a hugely influential and well respected officer whose enthusiasm and professionalism permeated every aspect of his work".

(MoD Handout) Captain Clarke, Warrant Officer Class 2 Faulkner, Corporal Walters and Lance Corporal Thomas. Credit: Ministry of Defence

Captain Tom Clarke was called a "fantastic young officer" by his commanding officer, while his family paid tribute to a "truly wonderful husband, son, brother and friend" with an "absolute passion for life".

Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner was praised by his commanding officer for his "guile, leadership and bravery", while his family said he was a "loving husband to Cally and devoted father to Natasha and Jack" who would leave a "huge gap...in our hearts forever".

Corporal James Walters, known as 'Bungle' by friends and colleagues, was described by his commanding officer as a "huge character" whose loss had "devastated" his squadron. Corporal Walters' family paid tribute to a "beautiful and loving husband, daddy, son, and brother".

Youngest killed in crash was Lance Corp. Oliver Thomas, 26

Lance Corp. Oliver Thomas, 26 has been named as the youngest man to die in the Afghanistan helicopter crash.

Lance Corporal Thomas was born Brecon, Powys and joined the Army Reserve in June 2011, and after moving to London he joined 3 Military Intelligence Battalion in July 2012.

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Of five killed in Lynx crash - youngest was Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas at 26 and joined Army Reserve just 3 years ago

His commanding officer said: “Lance Corporal Oli Thomas was the embodiment of his generation: bright, gifted with an enquiring mind and laser focused on the task in-hand.

"The bonus for us was that he was also blessed with a natural flair and the happy-knack of always being able to raise a smile with his keen sense of wit. His absence has left an enormous gap in a close-knit team. We will remember him."

Read more: Names of men killed in Afghan helicopter crash released

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Group Station Commander: 'We shall not forget them'

The Station Commander Group Captain Richard Maddison has described the men based at RAF Odiham in north Hampshire who died in the helicopter crash as professional and enthusiastic.

He said:

As with all losses of personnel in Afghanistan, we mourn the loss of our most capable and dedicated personnel, who served without complaint and in full understanding of the risks associated with their roles.

They were fine ambassadors for their Unit and for Defence as a whole, and we shall not forget them".

– Group Captain Richard Maddison, Station Commander

Read more: Names of men killed in Afghan helicopter crash released

Names of men killed in Afghan helicopter crash released

The names of those killed in the Afghanistan helicopter crash have been released by the Ministry of Defence.

Five service personnel lost their lives following the crash of a Lynx helicopter in Southern Afghanistan.

The MoD statement named those who were killed as:

Captain Thomas Clarke Army Air Corps; Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner Army Air Corps; Corporal James Walters Army Air Corps and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas Intelligence Corps, and Flight Lieutenant Chauhan.

(MoD Handout) Captain Clarke, Warrant Officer Class 2 Faulkner, Corporal Walters and Lance Corporal Thomas. Credit: Ministry of Defence

Read more: Helicopters 'still safe to fly' after Afghan deaths

RAF judges helicopters 'still safe to fly' after deaths

RAF commanders have judged it safe for the Lynx helicopters to continue flying in Afghanistan while an investigation into five British soldiers is carried out, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond Credit: PA

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "These tragic deaths remind us of the continued commitment and sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors and airmen serving in Afghanistan as we support the Afghans to take full responsibility for the security of their own territory.

"Lynx Mk 9A helicopters have a good operational safety record and commanders have judged that it is safe for the fleet to continue to operate while the investigation is carried out."

Nick Clegg pays tribute to those lost in Afghan crash

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also paid tribute, saying: "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the five service personnel who have so tragically lost their lives.

(File photo) Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg paid tribute to those lost. Credit: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

"This incident is a very sad reminder of the vital but dangerous job that our Armed Forces are doing every day to bring security to the people of Afghanistan.

"I would like to pay tribute to their service and to the ultimate sacrifice made by those who died yesterday."

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Afghan helicopter deaths 'reminder' of troops' work

The Taliban often falsely claimed responsibility for the deaths of Nato forces, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said, following the deaths of five British soldiers in southern Afghanistan. Mr Hague told Sky News' Murnaghan programme:

This appears to have been a tragic accident, although it is still being investigated. It is a reminder of the work that our troops still do in Afghanistan.

Of course at the end of this year we will come to an end of the combat role, or having our troops there in any significant numbers. But the work that they do is still dangerous, it is still very valuable in Afghanistan.

Probe into Afghan helicopter crash underway

An investigation is underway to determine why a Lynx helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing five service personnel.

Investigators from the Military Aviation Authority have cordoned off the crash site near Kandahar and will inspect the wreckage of the light utility aircraft.

Library image of a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter. Credit: PA

The inquiry is likely to look at the aircraft's log books and other documentation, in addition to weather conditions and whether the helicopter was carrying out an authorised job according to its capabilities, experts said.

A spokeswoman said: "The investigation is now underway, and the area of the crash has been cordoned off. We cannot go into further details. [...] At this stage it is not known how long the investigation might last or when investigators will deliver their report, but it will be a thorough inquiry."

PM pays tribute to five British military personnel

Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to five British military personnel who were killed when a Lynx helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan

Every British fatality is a source of deep sadness. This latest incident, which has cost the lives of five UK service personnel, brings home to us all once again how our armed forces continue to put their lives on the line to help the people of Afghanistan.

I cannot pay high enough tribute to each and every one of them for the job that they do and the sacrifices that they make.

– David Cameron

Miliband: 'Tragic' reminder of sacrifices by Armed Forces

Labour leader Ed Miliband said people across the UK would be saddened by the news and his thoughts were with the families, friends and colleagues of those killed.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He said: "This is a tragic and poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces in serving our country with bravery and distinction. I pay tribute to them and their continuing work in Afghanistan, elsewhere abroad, and here at home.

"I mourn with all those who have lost loved ones, their grief is shared by people right across Britain at this very sad time."

Shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker added: "This tragic news from Afghanistan will cause great sadness to our Armed Forces personnel and to the entire country.

"On a day like today, the British people and our servicemen and women stand together as one. I send my thoughts and prayers to all those affected by this terrible tragedy, especially the families of those killed."

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