At approximately 11am local time on Sunday, 8th June, 2008 Charles Murray, together with Daniel Gamble and Nathan Cuthbertson, was on a routine foot patrol 1km west of the Forward Operating Base in the Upper Sangin Valley, Helmand Province, Afghanistan when their patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber. All three died of the wounds inflicted.
Private Charles David Murray, 'Dave' to his friends and colleagues, was serving as a rifleman and Assault Engineer with 4 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.
Private Murray's family said:
"Private David Murray - A little guy with a big heart. David was the best son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend that any of us could hope for. Although his time with us was short, he lived every second to the full and taught us the meaning of life.
"David always dreamed of being a soldier like his uncle, papa and granddad. He made us proud, everyday, in everything he did. He was the little guy with a big heart, although he would never admit it. He had the biggest, cheekiest grin that we had ever seen and he always made us laugh with his cheeky way.
"David looked after his family in every way he could, his friends were like brothers and sisters to him and his memory will live on through his friends and his family. Although he always wanted us to be happy and would hate to think of us as sad, for a time we will be because we miss him so much.
"We love you David and are so very proud of you. One day, we will see you again. With love always, your family and friends."
Following his death the Commanding Officer of 2 PARA, Lieutenant Colonel Joe O'Sullivan, paid the following tribute:
"Today Private Nathan Cuthbertson, Private Daniel Gamble and Private Charles Murray were wounded by a suicide bomber near Forward Operating Base Inkerman, and despite the best efforts of the medics on the ground and at the hospital in Camp Bastion they could not be saved.
"They died doing their duty and doing their best, taking care with a potential threat, but also understanding the importance of connecting to the people around them. All three had been in Afghanistan for two months and had already experienced physically draining patrols in the high heat of the Afghan summer, combat with the Taliban, and the danger which is inescapable in our part of Helmand.
"They tested themselves to join The Parachute Regiment and they welcomed the challenge of operations. They knew the risks, and in facing them today as they had done every day before, they demonstrated the clear, cold courage which is the hallmark of their comrades and their Regiment.
"We will all take some time to think about them, and we salute them as brave young men, but our thoughts are also with their families who bear the greatest burden of their loss. We will turn to our job again and continue the relentless pressure on the Taliban in this valley, which in time will create space for a better life for the people here.
"When our job in Helmand is completed we will return home and honour them as members of 2 PARA who have given their all for their friends, their Regiment and the difficult task they faced. We will remember what they have done and the life that they have given, and what we achieve here will be their memorial."
Private Murray, 19, was born in Dumfries on 7 January 1989, but grew up in Carlisle. He began his military career early. Having left school at the age of 16 he attended the Army Foundation College in Harrogate in September 2005, where his passion and skill for rugby league saw him represent the college during a tour to Australia.
His slight stature belied a standard of fitness and robustness that set the standard in his platoon. His love of soldiering, and admiration for his Section Commander, led him to choose a career in The Parachute Regiment.
Having successfully completed his initial training he attended the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire. It was here that he completed his training, passing the physically demanding Pre- Parachute Selection Course, P Company, as the champion recruit. He became eligible to serve with The Parachute Regiment and subsequently earned his military parachute wings at RAF Brize Norton.
He joined the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in December 2006 as his platoon was preparing to be held on standby for High Readiness tasks within 16 Air Assault Brigade. He quickly fitted in due to his naturally relaxed and outgoing nature. It did not take long for him to demonstrate his soldiering ability and he undertook specialist training as an Infantry Assault Engineer within a year of joining the battalion, a course usually reserved for soldiers of greater experience.
Private Murray had come into his own during the first two months of the battalion's tour of duty in Afghanistan. Always putting his team-mates and colleagues first, his technical competency and professionalism shone brightly in Afghanistan. He worked tirelessly despite soaring temperatures and was totally committed to his job. It is often said and never truer, he was a rising star, and a future leader.
Major Russell Lewis, his Company Commander, said:
"Private Murray was the consummate professional and clearly enjoyed being a soldier. He took pride in his work and was a valued member of his section. A relaxed, humorous individual he was an incredibly popular member of the Company. His natural charm shone through. Widely known, liked and respected, Private Murray will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
4 Platoon Commander, Lieutenant David True, said:
"On patrol, Private Murray was a thoroughly focussed and effective soldier who was mature beyond his years. Off patrol Murray was constantly entertaining and the origin of much of the platoon's morale. I cannot begin to express how much he brought to the platoon; he will be sorely missed."
4 Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant Wayne Sykes, took Private Murray through his training:
"Having been Private Murray's Section Commander through training I got to know him from the start of his military career, and to be his Platoon Sergeant was good news as he was someone you could rely on to do whatever task he was given. He always had a smile on his face and never let anything get him down. He certainly was going far in The Parachute Regiment. He wanted to train as a sniper and you could see he was destined to be a star."
Assault Engineer Section Commander, Corporal David Baillie, said:
"As a soldier he was second-to-none and I looked forward to watching him grow as a soldier and no doubt soon he would have been promoted to Lance Corporal. Always ready for a laugh, Dave kept the morale of the section up even if it meant laughing at himself. I will miss his cheeky grin most of all."
Second in Command of his section, Lance Corporal Alan Farmer, said:
"Having worked with Dave since joining 2 PARA I don't think that anything I could say here would do him justice. His attitude to everything, whether it was work or play, was always positive. He always had time for his friends and was popular with everyone."
Friend and colleague Private Tom Wilson said:
"David Murray will always be remembered as one of the most professional and fittest soldiers in 4 Platoon. Dave always enjoyed being a paratrooper and would always make the best of any situation. We'll miss you Dave and your cheeky smile."
Close friend and Assault Engineer Private Lewis Barlow said:
"Private Murray, Dave, was one of my closest friends, he was a roommate of mine for a long time and we were Assault Engineers together. Dave was renowned for being extremely fit and a keen soldier who would do anything for anyone. I would like to thank him for the good times we had together and the help he gave me whenever I needed it. He will be sadly missed by me and all of his friends and fellow Paratroopers. His jokes and his ever present morale will be missed but his friendship will be missed the most. My thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends."
Private Lee Cunliffe, who was close friends with Private Murray and Private Cuthbertson, recalls their time together in training and in 2 PARA:
"Me and Dave joined the Army at the same time when we were 16 starting off at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, before moving on to the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. He was a really fit lad and used to come in the top two without fail. He was an excellent soldier and he won the best recruit award which he definitely deserved.
"We arrived in 2 PARA and were put into the same platoon and company. We became really good mates here and got to know each other even more. Me, Dave and Cuthy became best friends and we near enough did everything together. Last summer we went to Cyprus on holiday, that was the best holiday I have ever had, I am sure it was Dave's too, we were planning another holiday when we got back.
"I am truly sorry and gutted about what has happened to Dave. I have lost my best friend. He was an excellent soldier and man. I will never forget him and all the good times we had together."