On Thursday, 27th November 2008 Tony Evans with Georgie Sparks with others had been conducting a foot patrol to the north-west of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. Tony Evans and Georgie Sparks had moved on to the roof of a compound when, at around 0900 hours, there was an attack by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and they were badly wounded.
Both received immediate medical attention and were moved to a secure location before being put on a helicopter to be transferred back to Camp Bastion. However, both sadly died from their injuries during the flight.
Tony Evans was a Marine serving with 42 Commando, Royal Marines in J Company
Marine Tony Evans, aged 20, was born in April 1988 and came from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. He began his Royal Marines training in October 2006 and passed out in July 2007, joining 42 Commando a few days later. In February 2008 he completed arctic warfare training in Norway.
Tony's parents, Mr Tony Evans and Ms Julia Churchill, paid the following tribute to their son:
"Tony was the type of person who would do anything to help his friends and family and was well respected by all. The Royal Marines was his life since the age of 13 when he became a Royal Marines cadet.
"We, his family, are very proud of what he achieved and will miss him dearly."
Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Stickland Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"Marine Tony Evans lost his life doing the job he loved, fighting alongside his friends and brothers-in-arms in the tight knit and tenacious band that is J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines. A man of humour, courage and energy, he was a 'Bootneck' through and through.
"Respected by his peers, he was the epitome of the Commando; robust in action, loyal in friendship, determined and resolute and always living life to the full. The tributes from his colleagues say it all.
"We have lost one of the 'Smiley Boys' of 42 Commando Royal Marines, and his comrades are unwavering that his loss will not be in vain. This is a tragic loss touching all in the Unit and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones."
Major Reggie Turner Royal Marines, Officer Commanding J Company Group, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"Marine Tony Evans was one of the biggest characters in J Company. Fit, determined and tenacious with an infectious sense of humour he could be relied upon to raise morale in the harshest of conditions. Physically strong with an evident passion for his job, Marine Evans was always at the forefront of the action.
"He embodied the Commando ethos being determined, unselfish and always cheerful in adversity. As a novice in Norway his fortitude and monolithic work ethic were recognised by the Mountain Leaders, and this remained the case on operations in Afghanistan where he was always at the centre of the action.
"A consummate professional and team player he was always keen to develop his professional skills and took every opportunity to improve himself, whether it be in the gym or wading through 'A Brief History of Time'.
"Tony lost his life whilst selflessly providing fire support to his colleagues in the face of sustained enemy fire. We will miss his irrepressible good humour, his companionship and his evident lust for life.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time."
Marine Dave Wotherspoon, 2 Troop, J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"There is nothing about his job that Tony didn't love, whether it was going on patrol, sitting in a sangar (sentry post), or cracking funnies with the boys.
"He had a few issues though: his first one was the fact that he couldn't grow a moustache, as hard as he tried; secondly, he was always trying to get himself 'massive', hitting the gym twice a day, but try as he did, he could never find that 'chest'.
"But inside was the heart of a lion. On his Cold Weather Warfare Course in Norway he was the winner of the 'Good Egg' Award (for being an all round good guy); which speaks volumes of his character.
"Always the first man in anywhere, he was eager, especially when asked to knock down a compound wall; in true 'Tony' style, he put down most of the Compound! He will always be with us forever in our hearts and minds; a true man's man!"
Marines Josh McGowan and Tom Ellis, J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines said:
"Tony Evans the 'Maccam', not a Geordie! Tony was a true definition of a "Bootneck", always smiling, always spinning his intriguing 'dits' [stories] - some might say even when he shouldn't have been, but we still loved to hear them. Tony was always up for a laugh. If he wasn't lighting up a cigarette you would hear his distinctive 'Maccam' voice echoing through the building.
"Tony was an excellent soldier. Tony was a Royal Marines Commando. A very fit young lad with aspirations of being a sniper, there was no one better. Tony was our "oppo" (mate) and most importantly, our friend. He will be truly missed and never forgotten throughout J Company."
Lance Corporal Chris Bedford, J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"Tony Evans was the typical 'Jack the lad', a nightmare for all the hierarchy. I have never known anyone to get in so much trouble! However he brought so much morale to the lads, if you could understand his Geordie accent.
"Besides the tomfoolery he turned it on as a professional 'Bootneck' when he needed to. He came to me for advice on money, life in general and his broken car that is still sitting in the car park in Bickleigh Barracks. Tony brought life to the party and he will be sadly missed by all of us."
Captain Ben Gaffney Royal Marines, Training Officer, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:
"I had the pleasure of taking Marine Tony Evans through Royal Marines Recruit Training with 932 Troop. From the very start it was clear that he possessed the right qualities to become a Royal Marines Commando.
"During his Troop Commander's interview in the first week of training, whilst most other Recruits were awkward and retiring, Tony could barely contain his excitement about the adventures that stood before him!
"Nothing fazed him during training; he faced every challenge with a big grin and gained the respect of the other members of his Troop and his training team alike.
"He was a talented soldier and a man whose humour and banter drew others to him. I instructed over 200 Recruits during my time, Tony Evans was one of the very best.
"I think I speak on behalf of all of 932 Troop and its training team when I say Tony will always be in our memories and he will be sorely missed."