At about 6.30pm local time on Thursday, 23rd August 2007 John Thrumble together with Robert Foster and Aaron McClure tragically died in a ‘friendly fire’ incident in southern Afghanistan. The three soldiers, all serving in 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company, were killed when the platoon came under accurate fire from a determined Taliban force during a fighting patrol to disrupt enemy activity and reassure the local population north west of Kajaki, in northern Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.
During the ensuing fire fight air support was requested from two US F15 aircraft to engage the enemy positions and it was then that a bomb tragically struck the compound where the three soldiers and their section were located. An emergency helicopter was tasked to assist, however, sadly John Thrumble , Robert Foster and AaronMcClure were pronounced dead at the scene.
Two other soldiers were also injured in the incident.
John Thrumble was a Private serving with 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
Private Thrumble, aged 21, from Chelmsford, enlisted into the British Army in April 2004 and joined the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in July 2005 after completing his training as a rifleman at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick. In the same year he completed a tour with the Battalion in Iraq, on Operation Telic 6, where he served with distinction. He had recently participated in exercises in the UK, Canada and Kenya.
As a machine gunner in 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company Private Thrumble had been serving in Helmand Province in Afghanistan since March 2007. During this time he had been involved in numerous, close quarter engagements with the enemy where he had proven himself to be a brave, tenacious and steadfast soldier who would not yield irrespective of the circumstances - in a fight he was always there for his mates.
Private Thrumble was a unique character, known by all within B (Suffolk) Company for his quirky sense of humour and unshakably high morale. He had the rare ability to 'light up' any situation with a well timed, good humoured remark or gesture that would always raise the morale of his fellow soldiers. A kind-hearted and sincere soldier, he had developed into a highly competent and professional infantryman who loved his job and Army life; he revelled in the operational challenges of service in Afghanistan. He talked enthusiastically of the upcoming promotion course where he aspired to succeed and gain promotion to Lance Corporal. Sadly his significant potential will go unrealised.
Mr Stephen Thrumble, Private John Thrumble's father, said:
"John was well known and well loved by all that knew him; he leaves behind parents Stephen and Pearl and a younger brother Luke and foster brother Semicjan Dalti. Although John loved his family dearly he had become attached to his second family, B Company, 'the Vikings', and was proud to serve alongside the friends he had made on the way. All the family are very proud of John and what he had achieved on the way whilst with the Vikings."
Poem from Mum Pearl Thrumble:
"Our son the soldier, how great a man he must be
To be joined in the fight to set another world free
Our son the soldier, so very proud of you we are
To all of us who love you, you will always be a shining star
Our son the soldier so far away from home in a foreign place
Just close your eyes to see a familiar smiling face
Our son the soldier so very far away
We will be waiting with open arms on your coming home day."
Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said:
"Private John Thrumble was one of the mainstays and leading characters within the Battalion. An inspirational model to others and a caring and compassionate friend to many, he will be sorely missed. Proven in combat on countless occasions – his raw courage and ability to raise a smile were invaluable in these testing times. He joins the ranks of his fellow fallen Vikings but his reputation will live on and he will never be forgotten. The most sincere condolences of the entire Battalion are with his family and friends at this tragic time."
Major Tony Borgnis, Officer Commanding B (Suffolk) Company, said:
"Private Thrumble was one of the B Company characters. He was utterly dedicated to his job and in particular, fiercely loyal to his platoon and protective of his friends. This attitude was shown countless times during operations, where he was frequently under heavy enemy fire. His courage and professionalism were always evident during the most demanding periods, where he was often a 'rock' for the younger members of the platoon. His loss is felt deeply throughout the Company, he will be sorely missed. All our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
Lieutenant George Seal-Coon, Officer Commanding 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company, said:
"Private John Thrumble was a stalwart member of 7 Platoon. He was always professional, taking great care in all aspects of his work. He was courageous and determined, proving himself on numerous occasions. He was an inspiration and a friend to all, putting the welfare of others before his own and showing compassion at all times. His sense of humour, high morale and character set him apart as a great soldier and a great friend. He will not be forgotten."
Sergeant 'Woody' Woodrow, Platoon Sergeant, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company, said:
"Private 'Mumbles' was a true character within the platoon, with a great outlook on life. He was a real team player with a heart of gold. We will miss him deeply and he will never be forgotten."
Lance Corporal Stevie Veal, Section Commander, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company, said:
"Thrumble was a very strong member of the section. Being the most senior private, he will be remembered for his random sense of humour which most of the time only he could understand. But still he always managed to raise a smile on anyone's face in the worst of times."
Private Aaron 'Ronnie' Barker, 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company, said:
"John was the joker of the platoon and even the Company, and always managed to make you laugh whatever the circumstances. Although he was hard as nails, he had a soft side to him which most people did not know. He had some ambition and wanted to stay in the Army and work his way up through the ranks. My thoughts are now with his family, his brothers and his girlfriend who he loved very much. Rest in peace. I am going to miss you very much, mate."