06 February, 2007

Lt. Jonathan Bracho-Cooke

The Ministry of Defence has announced the death of Second Lieutenant Jonathan Carlos Bracho-Cooke in Iraq. Lt Bracho-Cooke was the 100th British fatality of the campaign.

Second Lieutenant Jonathan Bracho-Cooke, 24, of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment died as a result of injuries sustained by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack against his patrol in the As Sarraji District of Basra City.

Second Lieutenant Jonathan Bracho-Cooke was serving with Chindit Company, based at the Old State Building in the centre of the city. He was commanding a patrol of Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles, which were travelling to Basra Palace, the Headquarters of the Basra City South Battle Group, when the incident happened...

...Second Lieutenant Jonathan Bracho-Cooke was born on 13 June 1982. He lived in Hove and joined the army at the age of 22. Engaged to Laura he was due to get married in August this year.

On 8 May 2005, Second Lieutenant Jonathan Bracho-Cooke began his army career at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. On completion of his officer training and Infantry Platoon Commander's Battle Courses he reported for duty with 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, serving on operations in Basra City, southern Iraq.

Second Lieutenant Bracho-Cooke had been in Iraq since the New Year and was always asking questions, trying to improve how he did business and seeking the best solutions to problems. Diligent and eager to learn, he was a very promising young officer who had a bright career ahead. He was excited about being in Iraq and proud to be leading his Kingsmen, the soldiers serving under his command. ["Kingsman" is the regimental term for a private, derived from their origins as the Kings Own Regiment. HB]

He demanded nothing but the very best from and for his Kingsmen. They in return respected him and were extremely fond of him. They saw him as a caring and compassionate leader who despite having only been in command for a relatively short time had made a huge impression on them. To a man they feel privileged and honoured to have had him as their Platoon Commander.

Known as 'BC' to his friends, Second Lieutenant Bracho-Cooke's brother officers will remember him as a cheerful and friendly person who always had time for those who needed it. They particularly liked his ‘off the wall' sense of humour which manifested itself in various ways, either by keeping them up late with his antics or by waking them up with the offer of a jaffa cake.

He was devoted to his fiancée Laura and whilst others discussed buying new cars and going on holidays on their return to the UK, he would talk passionately about wedding plans and spending quality time with her. Hugely talented and extremely popular he will be remembered as a loving fiancé, talented officer, comrade and friend.

Second Lieutenant Chris Ibbotson, who went through training and joined the Regiment with Second Lieutenant Jonathan Bracho-Cooke, said:

"He was faultless; the nicest guy you could hope to meet. His sense of humour was key to who he was. He was fit too and a better runner than most, no matter how many cigarettes he smoked."

His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Hutchinson MBE (CO 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment), said:

"Jonathan Bracho-Cooke was a fine young platoon commander who had quickly established himself under very difficult conditions. He really stood out as a bright, enthusiastic and charismatic officer. We are very proud that he chose to be one of us, and are desperately sad to have lost him."
More from the BBC and his local paper, the Brighton Argus:
Despite having dyslexia, being slightly small in stature and not having a university degree, he beat stiff competition to be accepted for officer training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
That level of determination and achievement gives a measure of the qualities which have been lost by his family, friends and comrades.

Edited: 8/2/07 @5:15

1 comment:

Robin Bishop said...

John was a friend, a good mand and a good soldier (and evediently officer)

I met him mid 2001 during the buildup for our tour of duty in Bosnia. At this time we were reservists in the Royal Signals, I knew him as Singaller Bracho-Cooke.

Friendly, always smiling and enthusiastoc. If you look up the MOD site for flooding in the banja luka metal factory you can clearly see him stood in front of BRITFOR HQ.

Such a shame such a good man had to die in this way, murdered by cowards.