It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence announce the tragic death of Corporal Darren Bonner of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment as a result of an explosive incident during a patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Corporal Darren Bonner was the lead signaller serving with A (Norfolk) Company Group, 1 R ANGLIAN Battlegroup, deployed on Operation HERICK 6 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. On Monday 28 May 2007 he was taking part in an operation aimed at maintaining the pressure on the Taleban – focusing on the Sangin Valley area. At the time of his death Corporal Bonner was moving on a patrol in a ‘Viking’ armoured vehicle when an explosive incident took place. At this stage it is not possible to confirm the nature of the device. What is known is that the device was specifically emplaced by the Taleban in order to cause indiscriminate death and injury to ISAF troops operating in the area.
Corporal ‘Big Daz’ Bonner was a larger than life figure who made a positive impact on everyone that he met. At 31 he was engaged to Becca and looking forward to the prospect of marriage and buying a home in Great Yarmouth after his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Physically impressive, he was a keen weight lifter and night club bouncer in his spare time, but his robust exterior concealed a sensitive compassionate side and a heart of gold. Darren was a devout Christian and had taken the lead in organising a memorial for a recent fatality in A Company. He would regularly give up his time for others, teaching ‘Football in the Community’, or mentoring Army Cadets near his home town in Gorleston. He was also an avid Spurs fan, and made sure that everyone who met him was appraised of the fact!
Darren exuded energy and charisma; he always had a joke to tell or a story to recount, ensuring he was extremely popular with his wealth of friends. The night before his death he was seen reading the bible by his friends, drawing strength before facing the known dangers of the operation. He genuinely cared about the people of Afghanistan, and about his comrades that he fought with. It is, therefore, a source of some consolation to those who knew him that he died on operations courageously contributing to a noble cause; one that he cared about and believed in.
“Corporal Bonner was an incredibly caring and compassionate man. Behind the tattoos and the muscle lay a man with huge emotional intelligence who provided a real father figure to many of the younger soldiers in A Company. It is tragic to see the life of a devout Christian taken in this fateful manner – to see fate being so cruel to a dedicated young man who was genuinely striving to make a difference. Darren will never be forgotten by those of us that soldiered with him – this is a tragic loss – but one that strengthens our resolve and our determination to succeed” – Major Dominic Biddick, Company Commander.
“Corporal Daz Bonner was the life and soul of the Company. Professionally talented, no task was beyond his determination to succeed” – Sgt Stuart Rumsey, fellow Signaller.
“Daz Bonner was a colourful character, larger than life and an even bigger friend” – Corporal Wayne Cole fellow Signaller.
“Daz will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure to serve with him” – Private Craig Mavin colleague and friend.
“Corporal Darren Bonner was a superb soldier who had genuine compassion for his fellow men. A larger than life character he has been a mainstay of the Battalion for many years and will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues. Our sympathy and thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time” – Lt Col Stuart Carver, Commanding Officer 1 R ANGLIAN.