Eleanor Dlugosz was one of four British military personnel who were killed together with a civilian interpreter in the early hours of the morning of Thursday, 5 April 2007 west of Basra City, Iraq, when a roadside bomb exploded beneath the Warrior Armoured vehicle they were travelling in. The others were Second Lieutenant Joanna Yorke Dyer, Corporal Kris O’Neill, and Kingsman Adam Smith.
Private Eleanor Dlugosz, aged 19, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, was providing medical support to a Warrior patrol from 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancasters Battle Group when she was killed. Based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, Pte Dlugosz, ‘Ella’ to some and ‘DZ’ to everyone else, deployed to Iraq in November 2006 and initially provided primary healthcare at Shaibah Logistic Base. Pte Dlugosz, from Southampton, then returned to the UK in January this year in order to complete her Class 1 Medics Course. After completing the course, which she really enjoyed, she returned to Iraq in March.
As a Class 1 Medic, she was tasked with accompanying patrols into Basra, providing the patrols with integral medical support. Pte Dlugosz quickly gained the respect of the infantry soldiers she patrolled with, and was held in high regard by all who knew her. A strong, bright and capable young woman, she had aspirations to complete her A-levels and train as a medical laboratory technician.
A naturally unassuming and quiet individual, Pte Dlugosz was a central part of the Close Support Medical Squadron and enjoyed the challenge of being a military medic, patrolling with her infantry colleagues in Basra.
One of her friends and colleagues, Pte Stella Lee, said:
"Ella was a caring girl who enjoyed being a medic. Helping others before herself was who she was. She brightened up everybody’s day with her cheesy smile. She was a privilege to work with and know and she will always be in our hearts."
Another of her friends, Pte Tom Hammond, who has served with Pte Dlugosz since basic training, said:
"Ella always wore a smile that would brighten anyone’s day. She befriended everyone she met. Apart from her family and friends, her real passion was for horses. She will be sorely missed by everyone."
Her Troop Commander, 2Lt Vinny Ramshaw RAMC, said:
"Pte Dlugosz was a strong and morally courageous young woman, who was an example to many older and more experienced soldiers. Supremely dedicated to her work, she thoroughly enjoyed her soldiering and was keen to use her life-saving skills as a medic to help others."
Her Squadron Commander, Major Phil Carter RAMC, said:
"I admired Pte Dlugosz for her enthusiasm and zest for life. She was a good medic and wanted to make a difference. The whole squadron will miss her."
Her Commanding Officer, Lt Col Martin Toney, added:
"DZ was one of those soldiers who, despite a degree of shyness and a natural reticence, always surprised with her guts and determination. She returned to Iraq as a Class 1 Medic and almost immediately began patrolling in the city, first from Basra Palace and then latterly from the Contingency Operating Base. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. She had such promise and her sudden death is a sad loss to all."