James Kerr together with Scott Kennedy (Black Watch) and Paul Joszko (Royal Welsh) were tragically killed in a Basra Roadside Bomb attack on Thursday, 28th June 2007 when they had dismounted from a Warrior armoured vehicle in the Al Amtaiya district of Basra City. A fourth soldier was badly wounded.
James (Jamie) Kerr, aged 20 from Cowdenbeath was a Private in The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Lieutenant Colonel James Swift MBE, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh paid the following tribute:
"On Thursday 28 June 2007, Private Jamie Kerr, aged 20 from Cowdenbeath, was killed by a roadside bomb in southeast Basra. He was a good soldier, with a very promising future who gave up his life whilst serving his country. There can be no higher testament to a man.
"Jamie joined The Black Watch in 2005 and was serving with them in Northern Ireland until earlier this year when he volunteered to reinforce the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh for our operational tour in Iraq. He quickly settled in to his platoon in B (Rorke's Drift) Company and learnt fast on our pre-deployment training.
"In Iraq, he was deployed as a dismount in the back of the Platoon Commander's Warrior armoured fighting vehicle. He had successfully conducted strike operations, protected convoys, and helped to defend his base. He had previously been involved in a contact with the insurgents and had displayed courage and professionalism under fire.
"Jamie was a popular, happy young man who enjoyed soldiering and was good at it. He applied himself, worked hard and was very much a team player. He was dependable, professional and enthusiastic. He was already displaying potential for promotion to Lance Corporal and was expected to attend a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer's course on completion of his tour.
"Last night Jamie's company was clearing the route and providing protection for an important sustainment convoy. Jamie's vehicle stopped so that the soldiers in the back could dismount a check that the area was safe. A large improvised explosive device was detonated and all four of them were hit. Sadly Jamie died from his injuries.
"At this terrible time all our thoughts are with Jamie's family especially his parents and grandmother. Our loss is their tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with them all.
His Company Commander, Major Stephen Webb, said:
"Private Jamie Kerr had been attached to B (Rorke's Drift) Company since the end of January having volunteered to come with us on Operation TELIC 10. He was a very good soldier; skilled and intelligent. In Iraq, his Platoon Commander was able to trust him with many difficult roles knowing that Jamie would succeed, which is exactly what is required on operations.
"On occasion these roles required great personal bravery; Jamie never flinched. He was also a team player, again vital on operations where the lives of his comrades depended on each man doing their job. Jamie took this further and he was always willing to learn new skills and intelligent enough to apply them in differing situations.
"In the short time that Jamie had been with us there was not much time away from operations, but Jamie had already stood out as a bit of a legend. He was known throughout the Company as having a fantastic sense of humour and being a natural entertainer, whether it was jokes or dancing (at which he was actually very good).
"Whenever there was a group of soldiers from the Company laughing and joking it was odds on that Jamie Kerr would be at the centre of the group, entertaining everyone. When I talked to him for the first time, I was immediately struck by his easy-going nature and willing smile. He was naturally charismatic and great fun to be around.
"Jamie was a very strong and positive influence on his platoon. He was a skilled soldier, keen to play his part and to learn new skills. He was also charismatic and great fun to be around with the ability to lift the morale of whole groups, at very difficult times. By the time of his death Jamie's platoon had become an extremely effective and tight-knit group, due in no small part to the contributions made by him and his friends. Our thoughts go out to his family at this very difficult time; he will be missed enormously by his many colleagues and friends."
Captain Richard Moger, his Platoon Commander, said:
"Whenever I chatted to him I couldn't help but smile, his humour was infectious. But he knew exactly where to draw the line and when it came to work he was professional and highly competent. We have lost a good friend and valued colleague."
Private Rhys Thomas said:
"He always cheered me up and made me laugh when I was feeling down with his crazy personality and antics. Always good for morale no matter what time of day or circumstances."
Private Alasdair Lavery said:
"The spontaneous and infectious character of Jamie Kerr, a morale boost 24/7. He will always be remembered."