Lieutenant Tom Mildinhall was born on 9 July 1979. His father is a retired Army officer and the family home is in Battersea, south London. His younger brother John is currently studying a PhD at Bristol University. Lieutenant Mildinhall was educated at Monkton Combe school in Bath where he excelled at rowing.
After studying Artificial Intelligence & Computer Sciences at Durham University and completing his officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in April 2004, Tom was commissioned into the QDG, a reconnaissance regiment that recruits mostly from Wales and is known as ‘The Welsh Cavalry’. The Regiment is based in Osnabrück, Germany and forms part of 20 Armoured Brigade.
In November 2004 he deployed with the Regiment to Iraq where he assisted in training the fledgling Iraqi Border Police. A difficult task, but one he undertook with considerable enthusiasm and diligence and in which he quickly made a considerable impact. On his return from Iraq he completed a series of demanding training exercises and reinforced his reputation for leading by selfless example. His second Iraq deployment to southern Iraq began one month ago.
His first love was skiing and he was planning an adventurous ski expedition at the end of his tour of duty in Iraq. He was a keen downhill ski instructor and a popular member of the Regimental Ski Team.
He will be missed by those who served along side him for his extremely dry sense of humour and razor sharp wit that often left everyone in stitches. He was a close friend to many in the Officers’ Mess but was also very close to his soldiers.
His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Pittman, said:
“Lieutenant Mildinhall was a thoroughly capable officer. He was intelligent, determined and utterly loyal to both his own command and his superiors. He led by example and his soldiers responded positively, safe in the knowledge he had their best interests at heart. It was typical of his command style to insist he physically led the more dangerous patrols, as he was doing last night when his Troop came under attack and he suffered a fatal injury. He was calm under pressure and I could rely upon him to deliver results in the complex operational environment of Iraq.
“He was a true enthusiast and it was uplifting to be in his company. Regardless of circumstance he always viewed the glass as half full. His love of life, sharp wit and ability to laugh at himself coupled with his enduring commitment to the team were qualities that endeared him to us all.
“He loved his time in the Army and was happiest when serving with his Regiment and we all benefited from his presence. With his passing, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards has lost a truly promising officer. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.”
Tom's parents - his father, Lt Col (Retd) Colin Mildinhall formerly of the Royal Engineers and his mother, Susan, a speech and language therapist - have released the following statement:
"This is an ordeal we would not wish any mother and father to endure. For those parents who have lost sons and daughters in this way, we are now with them. For those who will have to go through this in the future; we are here. We share the pain of the soldiers and the families of the others injured and killed in this incident.
"We have lost a beautiful, talented and loving son for ever. Our world is in pieces and our country has again lost one of its best. Our hope is that in time our family may reassemble those pieces into some form of normality.
"Tom achieved an immense amount in his life. He rowed at school and at Durham University and skied with us from an early age. He talked proudly of his Regiment and enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers.
"We are very grateful for the support of our friends, Tom’s friends and colleagues from school and university and also for the outstanding help we are receiving from the Army."