Lee Hopkins, aged 35, together with Sharron Elliott, Ben Nowak and Jason Hylton, died when their boat patrol was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device on the Shatt Al-Arab waterway in Basra, Iraq on Sunday 12th November 2006 at about 1.50pm.
They died as a result of injuries sustained following the detonation of the IED mounted on a bridge on the Shatt Al Arab River on the eastern edge of Basra City. All were onboard a Rigid Raiding Craft (RRC) which was part of a routine boat patrol travelling north towards the Shatt Al Arab Hotel, a British Army base on the river. Three other UK service personnel sustained serious injuries in the attack
Lee Hopkins was a Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) in the The Royal Corps of Signals. He joined the British Army in 1988 and spent his entire career in the Royal Corps of Signals. He had seen operational service in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and previously in Iraq. At the time of his death he was five weeks into a planned six month tour in Iraq.
Lee Hopkins was an outstandingly professional soldier, who embraced the challenges of his profession. He was extremely fit, a qualified parachutist and keen all round sportsman. He excelled in rugby, squash, golf and orienteering. Members of his unit had been impressed by his strong character, wicked sense of humour, infectious enthusiasm and his ability to thrive on challenge. WO2 Lee Hopkins came from Wellingborough. He had been married for 10 years and leaves behind a wife and son, aged three.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Park, his Commanding Officer in Iraq said:
"WO2 Lee Hopkins was the ultimate professional. Although he arrived in Theatre only five weeks ago, he made an immediate impact. Vastly experienced, he worked tirelessly for his soldiers, encouraging them to succeed. He would always make time to pass on the benefit of his knowledge to the newer members of the unit. He won the respect of all who met him for his leadership, enthusiasm and dedication. Fit and ambitious, he was a shining example to all.
"Proud of his airborne training, WO2 Lee Hopkins took every opportunity to further his soldiering skills. He led from the front with a quiet authority and paid attention to every detail. Charismatic, he was comfortable in the presence of all ranks and selfless in seeking assistance for his soldiers.
"WO2 Lee Hopkins was a dedicated family man who spoke often of his wife and young son. He was a loving husband and devoted father. His keen sense of humour and sociable character made him a very popular member of the unit. He was great fun to be around.
"My thoughts and that of the unit are with his family and friends at this very difficult time. We have lost a trusted and valued colleague, who will be sorely missed by all."