Jamie Gunn was killed in action in southern Afghanistan together with Tom Gaden and Paul Upton on Wednesday 25 February 2009 as a consequence of the wounds they received when the vehicle in which he and the two other Riflemen of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) were travelling was struck by an IED on the highway East of Gereshk.
Jamie Gunn was serving as a Rifleman with 1st Battalion, The Rifles.
Rifleman Jamie Gunn was killed in action when the vehicle in which he and two other Riflemen of his OMLT were travelling was struck by an IED on the highway East of Gereshk on Wednesday 25 February 2009. He was on patrol with his Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team with whom he had been operating since April 2008.
Jamie Gunn was born on 4 August 1987 in Leamington Spa and grew up in Monmouth, Wales. He was selected as an apprentice for Land Rover before deciding that his future lay in the armed forces.
Soon after turning twenty, he enlisted into the Army in Hereford on 20 November 2007. Whilst waiting to start his basic training he worked long hours to get to the peak of physical fitness. He successfully completed his Combat Infantryman’s course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick in May 2008, triumphing over an injury to reach the required standard.
On passing out from the Centre he was posted to ‘E’ Company (E Coy), First Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES), in Beachley, Gloucestershire. He was twenty-one years old.
As a new Rifleman in the newly formed Company, Rifleman Gunn settled in quickly to the hectic pace of Pre-Deployment Training, where his previous experience as a Land Rover mechanic was put to good use. Practical with his hands and always keen to help, he was an asset to the team in making their life more comfortable when in the rough conditions of exercise and later on operations in Helmand, southern Afghanistan. Careful in his choice of friends, he was a loyal and conscientious young man who was enthusiastic about his expectant career. Predictably, he came out of his shell once the tour started in earnest, quickly establishing himself as a core member of his team and earning the respect of his commanders and fellow Riflemen alike. Humorous, and at the centre of every banter session, he was clearly relishing his chosen profession, taking pride in his work and totally at ease in the harsh and austere working environment of these eight-man teams.
His valuable work with the soldiers of the Afghan National Army saw them develop noticeably over the months he acted as a Mentor. He was an integral part of a small and tight knit team, forged by common experience and communal struggle. His loss drives a deep sadness into this team and he will be sorely missed by those who will continue the struggle.
Our pain does not compare to the grief of his parents, Janet and Mervyn, and his sister Jess; our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
Once a Rifleman, always a Rifleman, 'Swift and Bold'
Rifleman Jamie Gunn's family including his mother, Janet; father, Mervyn; and sister, Jessica, made the following statement:
"Jamie's proudest desire was that he wanted to shine in life.
"He was a funny, popular lad who loved his mates and the girls but most of all we are so proud of our son, brother and grandson who will always shine in our hearts forever."
Rifleman Gunn's friends and colleagues paid the following tributes:
Lieutenant Colonel Joe Cavanagh, Commanding Officer, 1 RIFLES:
"I was shocked and stunned by the news early yesterday morning that Rifleman Jamie Gunn had been killed with two fellow Riflemen by an Improvised Explosive Device. This was a terrible shock for us and will be heart-rending for his family and friends.
"For one so young and inexperienced at the start of this operation, he had been performing superbly, and had grown into a very impressive, mature and confident Rifleman.
"He was showing as much potential as anyone and would no doubt have 'smashed' through the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer training later this year as he pressed on to even bigger and better things.
"We will remember his enviably calm, cool attitude under pressure - and his smile when the going was better. He will be very deeply missed."
Major Jonathan (Jonny) Kitson, Officer Commanding E Company, 1 RIFLES:
"Rifleman Gunn was a typical example of the calibre of young men in this Battle Group, and showed all the characteristics and grit that have helped to make the mentoring mission here in Helmand so successful.
"As a junior member of the Company during the pre-deployment training package, he was relatively quiet and unassuming, but he listened intently, took on board the lessons being taught, and worked hard to establish himself in his Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team. His skills as a former apprentice mechanic were quickly pressed into service.
"When I saw him in January, I did not recognise the fresh faced young Rifleman I had met in May last year. He was confident, assured, clearly at the top of his game as a soldier – a professional in all aspects. Despite his relative lack of experience, his Team Commander had already identified him as a potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer.
"We have lost a fine Rifleman and a dear friend."
Captain Rich Camp, Team Commander OMLT 9:
"Rifleman Jamie Gunn ('Gunny') joined my team fresh out of training and quickly established himself as a key member of it, deploying with OMLT 9 to Afghanistan in September 2008. Working in a difficult environment where maturity is critical, he impressed all who had the pleasure to work with him.
"He was immensely popular; ever smiling and always willing to laugh whatever the situation. Physically and mentally strong, Gunny worked tirelessly alongside his team-mates - no job was ever too big and he was never too tired to ‘crack on’ and get something sorted if it needed doing. He was often to be found at the centre of the banter, giving easily as good as he got, passing the time with the many close friends he had around him.
"He retained a cool head regardless of the situation throughout the tour, something of great credit to a man of his age. He learned and understood his core business remarkably quickly and had clear aspirations for life in the Regiment after Afghanistan; I have no doubt that he would have thrived in the Rifles.
"Working in the teams we do, fellow Riflemen stop being colleagues and start being friends in the first few days – it is an honour to say he was a good friend of mine; a feeling echoed by every man in the team.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents and sister of whom he talked a great deal, and who will be feeling this tragic loss more than anyone."
A/Cpl Woolley, A/Cpl Southwick, A/Cpl O’Neill, Rfn Diamond, OMLT 9 team mates:
"Rifleman Gunn, also known as Gunny, or Gumbo, was a fairly new and young Rifleman, but that did not stop him from being outstanding at his job and having a brilliant sense of humour. He was loved by all that worked with him.
"He will best be remembered for being the only Welshman who was scared of sheep and for being a brilliant friend to us all."