29 December, 2006

British fatality in Iraq: Sergeant Graham Hesketh (Updated)

The Ministry of Defence has announced the death of Sergeant Graham Hesketh in Iraq. The 127th fatality in Iraq occurred on 28th December.

The soldier, from 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City when the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle he was travelling in was targeted by a roadside bomb. He was very seriously injured and airlifted to the Field Hospital at Shaibah Logistics Base, but unfortunately died later as a result of his injuries. There were no other casualties.
Obituary from the MoD:
Graham Hesketh was born in Liverpool on 1 December 1971. He grew up in Runcorn in Cheshire, where he went to St Chad’s Roman Catholic School.

Graham joined the British Army at the age of 17 in 1989 and served with the 1st Royal Tank Regiment in Germany for three years. He left the Army in 1992, but rejoined in March 1995 to serve with 1st Battalion The King’s Regiment, and was promoted to Lance Corporal the following year.

He was promoted to Corporal in July 2002 and posted to the Infantry Training Centre Catterick where he was an instructor to infantry recruits. He returned to his Battalion and was promoted to Sergeant in January 2005. The King’s Regiment merged into The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment on 1 July 2006 and he deployed to Iraq with the 2nd Battalion on 11 November 2006, serving as a Platoon Sergeant.

During his time in the Army Sgt Hesketh deployed on exercises to Canada, Jordan, Kenya, and Germany and spent an attachment with 1st Battalion The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment. He had deployed on operational tours to Northern Ireland, the Former Republic of Yugoslavia and Iraq.

Throughout his varied career Sgt Hesketh always embraced, and was enthused by, new challenges - no matter how difficult or diverse. He was an extremely motivated and compassionate soldier who was fiercely determined. He was committed to those under his command, was completely selfless and a very effective leader.

Professionally, Sgt Hesketh was held in high regard by all those who knew and served with him. He was an enthusiastic and highly competent Platoon Sergeant who had a keen sense of humour and was always optimistic no matter what the circumstance. He will be remembered as being a great asset to the Battalion as a whole.

Off-duty he would divide himself between spending time with his close friends and giving avid support to Everton Football Club.

Graham was engaged to a soldier who is also serving in Iraq. He leaves behind two children, a 7 year old girl and a 3 year old boy.

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