Jason Hylton, aged 33, together with Lee Hopkins, Sharron Elliott, and Ben Nowak, 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.
Jason ‘Jay’ Hylton, lived with his parents near Burton on Trent and was divorced but leaves behind two sons. Marine Hylton joined the Royal Marines on 15 September 2003 at the age of 30 and on completion of recruit training joined 42 Commando Royal Marines (42 Cdo RM) as a rifleman. During his time at 42 Commando Royal Marines he volunteered to become a Landing Craftsman and subsequently attended and passed his Landing Craftsman 3 Course at Royal Marines Poole in December 2004.
From there he joined 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines embarked onboard HMS BULWARK where he served for 18 months, initially as a Landing Craft Utility Crewman and subsequently as a Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP) Crewman. He deployed with 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines at the beginning of this year to the Middle East, which was his first operational deployment. Marine Jay Hylton joined Raiding Troop, 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines in September of this year and was a keen volunteer to deploy with the Squadron to Iraq on Operation TELIC as a Rigid Raider Craft Coxswain.
He was a bright, enthusiastic and thoughtful man who always did everything that he could to help his fellow marines. He was well liked by everyone that knew him and shall be remembered above all for his smile; he was a constant source of warmth and happiness. Professionally he was outstanding. He was intelligent, capable and utterly loyal; he clearly had a very promising career ahead of him in the Royal Marines. In spite of the relatively short time that he had been with the Squadron he made a deep and lasting impression on everyone. He will be sorely missed and his loss will be felt deeply by all those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Jason Hylton’s Squadron Second-in-Command, Major Nathan Hale, said:
"Marine Jay Hylton was a bright and enthusiastic man who, although joining the Royal Marines older than most recruits, had quickly made his mark within the Service and had a promising career ahead of him. His unswerving loyalty led him to volunteer for this Iraq tour so soon after joining 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines from his recent deployment to the Middle East with HMS BULWARK.
"Only in his second year as a specialist in the Landing Craft Branch, Marine Jay Hylton’s ability and professionalism belied his experience. An intelligent man, he adapted exceptionally well to his duties as a coxswain, with a level of aptitude far in excess of his peers.
"We will best remember him for his infectious smile and for the constant cheerfulness that he brought to the Squadron, particularly during the preparations for the Boat Group’s deployment to Iraq. He has epitomised the true Commando Spirit throughout his time with the Squadron and the early deployment to Iraq.
"Our sympathy and thoughts go out to his family, particularly his young children at this awful time; we are all deeply saddened by this tragic loss. He will be sorely missed by his many friends in the Squadron and the wider Royal Marines family with whom he served."
Lieutenant Colonel Haydn White, Commanding Officer of 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, speaking from Royal Marines Turnchapel in Plymouth, added:
"It is with enormous sadness that we hear of the death of Marine Jay Hylton. A volunteer to be part of the Squadron’s operational deployment to Iraq he brought with him the highest levels of individual professionalism and selflessness. He had only recently returned from an operational tour to the Middle East onboard HMS Bulwark, which typifies his loyalty and courage. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time."