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RIP Captain Daniel Read

January 13, 2010

Tragic news from Afghanistan as Britain loses one of its finest..

Timesonline UK

A British bomb disposal expert killed on Monday had just returned to duty after being injured by a blast three months ago, the Ministry of Defence said today.

Captain Daniel Read, 31, from 11 Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Regiment, the Royal Logistics Corps was killed near Musa Qala whilst attempting to deactivate a Taleban bomb.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, paid tribute to Captain Read’s “selfless commitment, loyalty and deep-seated courage”.

Captain Read was a high threat improvised explosive device disposal operator: one of the elite amongst bomb disposal experts who deal with the Taleban’s relentless and increasingly sophisticated roadside bomb campaign.

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At the time of his death, colleagues said, he had already deactivated 32 bombs, many of them whilst working alongside Danish forces in central Helmand.

In October he was injured by a bomb blast but returned to Afghanistan a month later, as soon as he was fit to do so.

Captain Gareth Bateman, a colleague, said: “Soldiers understand what it means to be courageous and Dan epitomised this most incredible quality. Lesser men would have opted for the easy option and stayed at home after being injured but Dan had a task to finish, a team to lead and a battle that he wanted to continue fighting.”

Other colleagues spoke of him as a “a soldier’s officer” and a much liked and cool-headed operator.

Colonel Bex added: “A natural leader, Dan was well respected and held in deep affection by his men, “He led by example, loved working in the close-knit community that is typical of the improvised explosive device disposal teams, and would have done anything for his men.”

Danish troops also expressed their sorrow at his death. Captain Martin Birch Hansen, who worked with him from the Danish Engineer Detachment said he had not been surprised to hear of his swift return to Afghanistan after his earlier injury.

“That was him exactly — not choosing the easy way. He had a job to finish. I will always remember his serious approach to the job in front of him and his humorous approach to just about everything else.

“The way he would say ‘no dramas’’ created an ethos of determination here that has not been forgotten.”

Captain Read joined the Royal Engineers in 1996. He was commissioned as an officer in 2005 and completed the Royal Marines Commando course in 2006, a source of great pride to him according to colleagues.

Captain Read is the fourth ammunition technician from 11 EOD to be killed whilst deactivating Taleban bombs in Helmand. Warrant Officer Gary O’Donnell, twice the winner of the George Medal for bravery was killed last September. Captain Dan Shepherd and Sergeant Olaf Schmid, both highly respected bomb disposal experts, were killed last summer.

The Taleban’s use of roadside bombs has grown exponentially in the past year, with more than 7,200 devices planted in 2009.

Captain Read was married. In a statement his wife Lorraine said: “Dan was so brave, he was my hero and best friend, he was a loving husband, son, brother, uncle and friend. He will never be forgotten and always in my heart. I’m so proud and privileged to have been your wife.”

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