Christopher Dunsmore was one of three members of B Flight, No1 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment who were tasked on Thursday, 19 July 2007 with protecting aircraft operating from Basrah Airport. Their job was to ensure that the ground over which the aircraft fly was clear from the threat of militia who try to target the aircraft whilst they are at their most vulnerable, during take-off and landing.
During the early afternoon there were no aircraft movements and Christopher, together with Matthew Caulwell and Peter McFerran, was resting, prior to going out to patrol again. The COB came under rocket attack and tragically all three were killed instantly by the attack.
Officer Commanding No 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, Squadron Leader Jason Sutton, said:
"The Squadron has been a close knit family throughout its 85-year history, and our ethos of mutual trust and dependence is never more important than when we are engaged on challenging operations such as now in Iraq. The loss of Senior Aircraftsman Caulwell, Senior Aircraftsman Dunsmore and Senior Aircraftsman McFerran has been felt very deeply by all the on the Squadron and by other members of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.
"SAC Christopher Dunsmore was 29, from Leicester, and had been a member of 504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment at RAF Cottesmore for four years. Engaged to Donna, he held a managerial position in a paint company and was a keen snow boarder, but since August 2006 he had been attached to 1 Squadron having committed a year of his life to the service of his country.
"Our Auxiliary colleagues fill vital roles on the Squadron, and none more so than Chris. He was a highly skilled individual, and from the very start of his time with us he put 100% into everything he did and was always ready for any challenge. His joie de vivre was infectious when times were hard and one of his friends, SAC Hammer captured him perfectly 'Chris had a passion for everything he did: life, hobbies and his friends'.
"Intelligent, determined and a fine comrade and friend, he was as immensely proud to serve with 1 Squadron as we were to serve alongside him. He was one of us and his loss has been deeply felt by us all.
"To lose any member of our Squadron is a tragic blow to all who knew them, trained with them, laughed with them and fought alongside them. The loss of three such popular and professional men is simply devastating. Lip, Pete and Chris will be terribly missed by all of us on 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, and we will honour their memory by continuing to do our duty here in Iraq in the manner they embodied: with determination and pride. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this tragic time."
Commanding Officer 504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment Squadron Leader Jan Burton said:
"Chris Dunsmore was a quiet, thoughtful individual who brought much to the Squadron. Fit, smart and very keen he participated in as many Sqn activities as possible skilfully balancing the demands of his long-term relationship to Donna, his civilian job with METOKOTE and his Sqn training obligation."