On Friday, 30th January 2009 in Afghanistan, Daniel ‘Danny’ Nield was killed as a result of an explosion, believed to have been caused by a Rocket Propelled Grenade, during a contact with enemy forces during a deliberate operation north of Musa Qaleh in Helmand Province.
He was deployed as the Forward Air Controller (FAC) in a Fire Support Team (FST) of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. They were attached to an Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) from his own unit, S Company, 1st Battalion, The Rifles, working alongside the troops of the Afghan National Army (ANA).
Daniel Nield was a Corporal serving with 1st Battalion, The Rifles
Corporal Nield was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire on 15 March 1977. Educated at Pittville School in Cheltenham, he joined the Army Cadets at the age of 13. On 2 September 1993 he enlisted at the Cheltenham Army Careers Office joining the Gloucestershire Regiment, who later became the Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW).
Corporal Nield completed a Potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Cadre in December 2000 and his Mortar NCO Standard Course in December a year later. Corporal Nield surprised his colleagues by leaving the Army in April 2004 but rejoined in July 2006.
After the founding of The Rifles he then went on to pass the demanding Forward Air Controllers' Course in April 2007.
Corporal Nield's calm West Country exterior masked the steely professionalism of a true warrior who relished his time spent on operations. Having served on operations in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Kosovo, he had already completed a previous tour of Afghanistan.
Corporal Nield had also taken part in exercises with his Regiment across the globe including Arizona, Botswana, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Kenya and Kuwait.
Corporal Nield deployed in September 2008 for Operation Herrick 9 as part of a FST where his role was to control fast jets and attack helicopters in direct support of UK and Afghan Forces on the ground. This was his second tour in this role and was clearly a job that he loved.
His experience, dedication and unwavering enthusiasm were an inspiration to all. He consistently provided clear and concise advice to his ground commanders and used his initiative to bring in air support, frequently in circumstances of extreme pressure and danger, to have a decisive effect on the enemy. As such he was largely responsible for the safe return of many of his UK and Afghan colleagues over the tour.
Corporal Nield was a personable, reliable and loyal team member. His sense of humour was legendary across the Regiment and he would seldom miss an opportunity to poke fun at his mates. As an FAC within an artillery-dominated Team, Corporal Nield would often be heard winding up his colleagues with the phrase, "Guns for show, jets for a pro!" for which they seldom had a repost!
Blessed with a nickname unspeakable in polite company, he would habitually introduce himself as such much to the entertainment of his colleagues.
Corporal Nield will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege to serve with him from his FST, the Riflemen of S Company OMLT as well as the wider regiment of The Rifles.
However, it is his parents Peter and Sheila, sisters Emily and Kimberley, and brother Anthony who will feel his loss the greatest and our thoughts and prayers go out to them all as we mourn the passing of a great Rifleman who died living the life that he loved.
"Once a Rifleman, always a Rifleman"
SWIFT AND BOLD
Corporal Nield's parents Peter and Sheila Nield, said:
"Danny lived for the Army, and was proud to serve his country. He died doing the job he loved."
Lieutenant Colonel Joe Cavanagh, Commanding Officer, 1 RIFLES said:
“It was with great sorrow that the 1 RIFLES Battle Group learned of the death in combat, north of Musa Qaleh on 30 January 2009 of Corporal Daniel 'Danny' Nield. He was a popular Rifleman, full of character and at the top of his profession; revelling in the qualifications and experience in battle-winning skills that always took him to the front of the battle.
"I will remember him speaking confidently, convincingly, and provocatively, and with humour, about such matters from the seat of a borrowed quad bike in the sunshine in his dusty District Centre during a short but well-earned break between tasks.
"His enthusiasm for his profession was as memorable as his 'Zap' moustache and he was full of ideas on how new talent should be identified and new techniques developed. Major Nick King, Officer Commanding S Company OMLT, 1 RIFLES said:
"Corporal Danny Nield was a highly professional member of a small team operating under often extremely stressful circumstances here in Afghanistan. Cool under fire, he intuitively provided timely advice and effective air support having a decisive impact on the enemy and helping extract his colleagues from tight situations on more than one occasion.
"Corporal Nield thrived in the small team environment where his sense of humour was most devastating! A proud and reliable Rifleman, he will be sorely missed by all that had the pleasure of knowing him."
Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) Rod Poulter MC said:
"Cpl Danny Nield was one of the great characters in our regimental family. I had the pleasure of serving alongside him in the 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment, commanding him in Cyprus with the then 1 RGBW, and more recently as a fellow Rifleman in the 1st Battalion The Rifles.
"Danny Nield was a very proud West Country soldier and an avid Gloucester RFC fan. Hugely sociable, Danny Nield believed in working hard and playing harder. Wherever he went he made his mark and inevitably made yet more friends in the process. His death will be felt by his many fellow Riflemen across all seven Battalions of The Rifles. Danny you will be sorely missed but we will never forget you."
[Note it is a regimental tradition that Serjeant is spelt with a 'J']
Company Serjeant Major Shaun Aston, S Company 1 RIFLES said:
"Danny Nield was a strong, confident NCO who loved the work he was involved in. He never stopped encouraging the young Riflemen around him passing on all his years of experience. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fellow Riflemen. Sadly missed but never forgotten."
WO2 Mark Getley said:
"Corporal Danny Nield was the ever-professional soldier who loved his job. He had the utmost respect for his friends and colleagues (although he would never dare say so!) and will be sadly missed but never forgotten."
Acting Serjeant Danny Ashton said:
"Danny Nield was born and bred in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. He loved the Army and was passionate about his job. Always ready for a good night out, Danny Nield was gifted with a cracking sense of humour. He was very proud of his Gloucestershire roots and watching Gloucester rugby team was dear to his heart. He will be greatly missed by his many friends from across the Regiment."
Rifleman Popcynski, S Company, 1 RIFLES said:
"Danny Nield was a true professional whose dedication and natural soldiering ability allowed him to fulfil the demanding role of an FAC in Afghanistan to an excellent level achieving real and substantial results. A good friend and fellow Rifleman, he will be greatly missed by his many friends and family alike."
Rifleman Christopher Sharpe, S Company, 1 RIFLES said:
"My thoughts of Danny are of his love for Gloucestershire, and Strongbow cider. He was a much loved member of the Mortar Platoon and will be missed greatly. It has been an honour to have known such a character of the Regiment and my heartfelt condolences go to his family and the many people who knew him."