Ralph Johnson was killed following a contact involving insurgent forces in northern Helmand Province in Afghanistan on the morning of Tuesday 1 August 2006. During the contact, a UK vehicle patrol was attacked by insurgents with rocket propelled grenades and heavy machine guns and Captain Alex Eida and Lance corporal Ross Nicholls were also killed. The soldiers were all embarked in a tracked Spartan armoured reconnaissance vehicle, which was equipped with enhanced protection for operations in Afghanistan. A second vehicle immobilised in the incident was a Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicle, also equipped with enhanced protection.
2nd Lieutenant Ralph Johnson, Household Cavalry Regiment, 24, who lived in Windsor, joined the Life Guards in August 2005 and established himself as a first class Troop Leader who led from the front.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Smyth-Osbourne, Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Regiment, based in Windsor, said of him:
"He was brave, determined and thoroughly loyal to his soldiers and superiors. He excelled in training and quickly won the respect of the men who in turn showed absolute faith in his decisions and leadership. He was popular, quick witted and hugely enthusiastic. His innate energy enamoured him to all; particularly endearing was his devotion to his men and the time and effort he committed to them prior to their deployment.
"It was obvious to all that he adored his time in the Army. In Afghanistan he displayed real composure and huge professional competence in a novel, harsh and unforgiving environment – and it was typical that, during the early hours of 1 August, he was leading from the front when killed in an ambush in Northern Helmand.
"With his death the Household Cavalry Regiment has suffered the loss of an exemplary young officer and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends."
2nd Lt Ralph Johnson was single.