In Memory Of...

Lance Sergeant Chris Casey

of the Irish Guards

Chris Casey was killed on 9th August, 2007 when the Snatch Armoured Land Rover he was travelling in was hit by a roadside bomb. The convoy his patrol were helping to protect were to the north of the Rumaylah oilfields, which is to the west of Basra City. Another soldier, Kirk Redpath was also killed by the same bomb.

"His death will leave behind a family who fed off his energy and who were very much part of the fabric of the Battalion. He will be missed by all that knew him for his zest for life, dedication to the job and contribution to others. He was selfless in all he did and this will not be forgotten."

Lance Sergeant Chris Casey, from London, was 27 and was serving in the 1st Battalion The Irish Guards. He had been in the Army since 1998 and had served with the Irish Guards in Kosovo, Northern Ireland and on exercises all over the world. This was his second tour of Iraq, having fought in the initial phase of the war in 2003. He was married with two children.


Lance Sergeant Casey's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Michael O'Dwyer MBE, wrote:
"Lance Sergeant Casey was one of the stalwarts of the Pipes and Drums and having served in the Band for coming up for ten years certainly one of the most experienced. He was an outstanding drummer and for some time he had been the 'lead tip'. He was frequently, therefore, the face of the Regiment and no better person could one find to fulfil that role. He was a cheerful and friendly character who always had time for others; nothing was ever too much trouble, he particularly went out of his way to assist and teach the newer members of the Band.
"For much of the time of his tour in southern Iraq Lance Sergeant Casey was involved in training the Iraqi Army. He realised that he was able to make a difference to the Army's capability and was a natural. He had hundreds of Iraqi soldiers hanging on his every word, not surprising given his passion, enthusiasm and genuine interest in their wellbeing - he was a very special talent. It was because of these special talents that he had been selected to instruct at a training establishment on his return from Iraq, a post that would most likely have resulted in his promotion.
"Lance Sergeant Casey was a doting family man and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and young children. He will of course be irreplaceable to them but also to all who have had the pleasure of working with him. Our lives are certainly the richer for having known him - he will never be forgotten."

His Company Commander, Major Piers Ormerod, wrote:
"Lance Sergeant Chris Casey was marked by his enthusiasm. A hugely popular member of his Platoon and Company, he had thrown himself fully behind the job of training the Iraqi Army. Working in their Training Centre in Shaibah, his efforts ensured tangible signs of development. He was helped by an excellent knowledge of the local environment and excellent cultural understanding and used this expertise to help contribute to the development of the Iraqis. He was therefore a critical element in the huge training task that is critical in enabling the Iraqis to take more responsibility for their own security.
"Lance Sergeant Chris Casey was a very popular member of the Platoon and Company, his personal qualities and enthusiasm shining through again and again. He had become a key member of the Company not only for the part he played as a soldier but as the Company Barber, a job which he created for himself through characteristic initiative. He was one of the most positive members of the Company and I rarely saw him without a smile on his face. He had an infectious laugh and led by example. He was one of the most dedicated and diligent soldiers, taking pride in who he was, what the Pipes did, and his part in the Battalion as a whole. Musically he was enormously talented and provided the Pipes with not only talent but experience. He had drummed with them at the Edinburgh Tattoo, on numerous ceremonial parades and at musical events all over the world; the adaptable British soldier par excellence.
"His death will leave behind a family who fed off his energy and who were very much part of the fabric of the Battalion. He will be missed by all that knew him for his zest for life, dedication to the job and contribution to others. He was selfless in all he did and this will not be forgotten."

His Platoon Commander, Captain Stephen Wolseley, wrote:
"It is so difficult to write about Lance Sergeant Chris Casey at this time of great sadness as in my mind he was the most jovial and up-beat person I knew, the one person I could rely on to raise a smile or a laugh from the Platoon at a difficult time; his laugh and banter were totally infectious.
"Since we arrived in theatre, Lance Sergeant Casey has been commanding a section of the Pipes Platoon whose role has been instructing Iraqi Army soldiers with Number 4 Company at the Divisional Training Centre. He instructed the Iraqi soldiers not only with patience and professionalism but also with a lot of heart and with a big smile. This was always the case. For such a personable character, teaching others came naturally to him. A lasting memory, which was thankfully captured on video, was of Chris and some Iraqi soldiers having a celebratory 'dance-off' at the end of a lesson.
"Lance Sergeant Casey was due to return to England at the start of September to take up a posting as an instructor at a training establishment, where his life-loving spirit, his humour and his commitment that we all admired would have been used to great effect.
"The Pipes recently moved from the Divisional Training Centre to the Contingency Operating Base to assist with more conventional tasks, including convoy force-protection operations to Kuwait. It was during the first of these operations that tragedy struck. He was a dear friend to many, a proud and highly capable Irish Guardsman, a loving father and husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Lance Sergeant Neil Nicholson served with Lance Sergeant Casey in the Irish Guards. He was also his brother-in-law. He wrote:
"To a friend and great brother-in-law, Lance Sergeant Chris Casey, one of the finest musicians in the Irish Guards and the most professional soldier we have seen. To know Chris, you knew he was dedicated, loyal, and trustworthy and the friendliest man you could ever know. Sadly he leaves behind Tanya his wife, Kian his son and Ashlyn his daughter. He was a great family man, forever worrying about his family and their wellbeing when he was away. As he always said, the family comes first. Chris will be sadly missed and never forgotten."

From Lance Sergeant 'Dish' Lyttle:
"I will always remember Chris as a gentle and kind character whose love of the world of Piping and Drumming was always evident. This can especially be seen in some of his fine compositions of pipe tunes. Chris could play both the highland bagpipes and the highland drum, a real musician of note. My dear friend Chris was a driving force behind the 'Pipes', always providing fresh and innovative ideas. Like so many of my dearly beloved Irish Guards brothers, Chris was an Englishman but with his splendid red hair, good humour and craic, he has come to embody to me all that is Ireland. Mostly I just miss my friend."

From Lance Sergeant Chris Coats:
"Dearest Tanya, Allow me to start by offering my sincere condolences to you and your extended family and particularly to your two young children, both of whom I know Chris adored. Death is a hard subject to deal with and is only made worse when you were never able to say goodbye.
"I can assure you that Chris will be deeply missed within the very close community of the Drums and Pipes and within the Battalion. I'm sure that you have already sampled the loyalty of the close knit family of the Drums and Pipes and with Chris at the very top within that family. You and your children's wellbeing is foremost in our thoughts and prayers. Once again, I offer my sincere best wishes and deepest condolences in what is probably the hardest time of all."

Lance Sergeant Jo Bayliss, who served with Lance Sergeant Casey at the Divisional Training Centre, wrote:
"Chris was an enthusiastic and popular member of the Battalion whose sense of humour and professionalism knew no limits. He was an excellent soldier and gifted musician. Chris was very approachable to every soldier regardless what rank or time served. The whole Battalion bears the loss of this great man; his memory will live on forever. My deepest thoughts are with his wife and family."

Lance Sergeant Mark O'Toole wrote:
"Chris was one of the most approachable and well liked members of the Company. His charm and consideration for others made him who he was. I met Chris when I was new to the Regiment and we were in Kosovo. Typical Chris he made life easier by talking to me and settling me in instantly. My lasting memory of him will always be him practising his drumming on his drumming pads.You will always be missed mate. My thoughts and those of 10 Platoon go out to his wife and children with deepest sympathy."

From Lance Corporal Ant Gailey:
"Chris was one of my best muckers in the Pipes and will be sorely missed by myself and no doubt the rest of the lads in the Platoon. He was such a character. For instance, when we've been out on a night out in Aldershot we had to go home early as Chris had made us laugh that much we all had headaches and sacked the rest of the night. He was one of the best blokes you could ever meet, always making everyone smile and laugh with his sense of humour and mickey taking. It didn't matter who you were, he still took the mickey out of you and that was why he was a special friend; he always made me laugh when I was down and vice versa.
"It's like losing a brother and a friend rolled into one. He was always there for people when they needed someone. We used to call him 'mini-Hitler' when he took drill because he was a drill beast and you would always know it was him because he had such a distinctive drill voice. He will be missed by the platoon but never forgotten. He was an outstanding soldier and friend and most of all a father and husband. My heart felt condolences go to his wife, kids and family. Love ya Chris. Always remembered and never forgotten. Ant."

From Lance Corporal Tam White:
"To Mrs Casey and family, I am so sorry for your loss. A fine man and comrade. Our thoughts will always be with you. Gone, never forgotten."
From Lance Corporal Sammy Vennard:
"I feel sad about our loss of Lance Sergeant Casey and Lance Corporal Redpath. We were all drummers in the Pipe Band, we were like brothers. We had been all over the world to do band jobs; good times and bad times, we had been together. I want to send my love to their family and friends. We will miss them but they will never be forgotten in the Drums and Pipes."

Lance Corporal Arnie Wilson wrote:
"I first met Chris when I joined the Drums and Pipes when the Battalion was serving in London. My first impression of Chris was that he was very approachable and well liked by every man in the platoon. He took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know and always helped me out with any problems I had.
"As time grew on I realised he was a very keen and kind soldier who would always treat everyone the same no matter what rank they were. Every memory I have of Chris will never be forgotten and will always remain in our hearts. My thoughts and deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends."

Lance Corporal Wayne Golding served in the same Company as Lance Sergeant Casey for much of the pre-deployment training and throughout the whole of the deployment to Iraq:
"Chris was one of the most approachable and well liked members of the Company and his consideration for others made him who he was. I remember when I first came to the Battalion. He was the person who would always help me out with any problems I had and gave me confidence in everything I did. Chris would always invite me and my family to his house for the many barbecues and our kids would always play together. We would always have a good time. It is times like this that will never be forgotten. In the time I knew Chris I have never heard him say anything bad about anyone. This is another reason why he was admired by everyone in the Company. My thoughts go out to his wife and children with deepest sympathy."

From Drummer Greg Scott:
"Well I knew Lance Sergeant Casey from when I first came from Number 1 Company about two and a half years ago to the Pipe Band. Any time any of the lads were round him we always had a laugh at everything he had to say. He always had a way of doing that. He was the pick-me-up everyone needed at the lowest point when everyone had had enough. The one thing I will remember him for was when we were in Belize and we had to go on an op with Number 4 Company. The mountains we had to go over were not small and we had to grin and get on with it but with Chris with us it made it more enjoyable, laughing as we fell all over the place. I can say he will be missed by everyone in the Pipe Band and the whole of the Irish Guards and I was one of the lucky ones to have worked with him. My heart goes out to his wife and kids who he always talked about and I am sorry for the loss of a great man and leader."

From Piper Philip Wood:
"What reminds me most of Chris is that he was always up for a laugh and a joke. He was always fun to be around, even when he was on karaoke. Most of all, he was a close and good friend, always there when you needed him. He will be sadly missed. Always in our hearts and never forgotten."

From Piper Robert Fleming:
"Lance Sergeant Casey was always making people laugh. He would always pick you up if you were down no matter what the situation. He will be sadly missed by all. My heart goes out to his family at this sad time."

From Piper Alan McCartney:
"I knew Chris ever since I joined the Battalion nearly two years ago. All I can say about him is he was one of the most laid back NCOs I knew. He never made me call him Sergeant, I always just knew him as Chris. During the tour I lent my German language CD to Chris and we would try and have conversations (not very successfully) in that language. As I'm writing this, I am still trying to come to terms with his death; I don't think it has sunk in properly yet. I know Chris and Rederz will be sitting in Heaven now playing their drums, and Chris probably playing the pipes too. I know I'll always miss him, even though he always took the mickey out of me! RIP Chris wee mucker, see you soon."

From Drummer Oliver Vaughey:
"Chris was a very open man. He always listened to what I had to say and was teaching me how to play pipe band drumming over the last three months. I was hoping to show him what I was able to achieve with his help. Chris always kept my morale up, telling jokes and taking the mickey out of my accent which made me laugh when I was missing home. I'll never forget the first time he taught me my first rudiment; he cracked up because I wasn't getting it right and all I could do was laugh at him. I'm sorry for what happened to Chris. He was a brave soldier and he will always be remembered. Fhoill. Slan go a Chris."

From Drummer Gareth Chambers:
"Being the youngest member of the Platoon and being in Chris's section, the last six weeks have given me many happy memories of Chris. From training the Iraqi Army and having drumming lessons with him has made it enjoyable. You could always have a laugh with him. Having just come out of training and this being my first operational tour, Chris was always reassuring and was the first to answer any questions and help with any problems I had. My thoughts are with his family, especially his wife and children."

Guardsman Dave Richardson wrote:
"When I first met Chris it was when the Battalion was serving in Germany. My first impression of him was that he was a very kind and polite person who you could always approach at any time no matter what the problem was.
"Chris was an extremely well liked person by all of the Battalion. He always had a smile on his face and you could always have a laugh and a joke with him. He was also a very talented artist and would always sit in his room at night and draw caricatures of his platoon. He was a very professional soldier and Section Commander and was very well respected by all members of his platoon and anyone that knew him. It will always have been a pleasure and privilege to have known him. Chris will always be missed and never forgotten. My deepest sympathy goes out to all his family and friends."

The men of Number 11 Platoon wrote:
"Chris was an extremely happy and much loved member of the Battalion. His sense of humour was a credit to his character and will be sorely missed by his comrades and close friends. Chris was a very close friend to many members of our platoon. He always had a smile on his face and gave us all the inspiration to carry on and have a laugh whatever was thrown at us.Our thoughts go out to his wife and children, and the rest of his family. We wish them all the strength possible to help at this dreadful time."



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