16 April, 2007

Private Chris Gray. (Updated)

The Ministry of Defence has announced the 53rd British fatality in Afghanistan: Private Chris Gray, 19, of the Royal Anglian Regiment, has been killed in a Taliban ambush at Now Zad, Helmand, Afghanistan.

Private Gray's routine patrol,

...was attacked by the Taliban; employing small arms, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and rockets.

As lead elements of the patrol were pinned down by enemy fire, Private Gray’s Platoon manoeuvred to support their comrades and out-flank the enemy. Private Gray was the point man in his Platoon – selected for this position as a result of his outstanding soldiering skills.

As they manoeuvred, Private Gray’s section observed a group of armed Taliban fighters at close range, whom they immediately engaged. A fierce firefight ensued at a range of just 15 metres, during which a small number of Taliban were killed.

Tragically, during the battle Private Gray was shot and despite the best efforts of his colleagues and medical staff was pronounced dead on arrival at the British Hospital at Camp Bastion.
The MOD obituary says that,
...Private Gray joined the British Army in March 2006 and, having completed training as an infantry soldier at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick, he joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in September 2006.

He was born in Leicester and attended the Holmfirth School in Huddersfield. Among his many interests he had a love of outdoor life and was a keen snowboarder.

Private Gray has two younger brothers and a younger sister. He was a former pupil of Ratby Primary and Brookvale High Schools, and later attended Groby Community College, Leicestershire.
More from the BBC and the local press in Huddersfield and in Leicester.

Update: Life and Death on the M*A*S*H Shift: the Guardian has a moving account from Helmand of Private Gray's death in the context of the army medics who treated him.

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