On Wednesday, 25th July 2007 in southern Afghanistan Alex Hawkins was killed and two other soldiers were injured in an explosion at around 5.50am local time in the north eastern outskirts of Sangin in Helmand province. The soldiers had been taking part in a routine patrol and were returning to their patrol base when the explosion struck their Vector vehicle.
An emergency response helicopter was requested and Alex was flown to the ISAF medical facility at Camp Bastion, but sadly he did not survive. The two other casualties were also taken to the ISAF hospital to receive treatment for their injuries. The Vector vehicle could not be removed so it was destroyed to avoid it falling into enemy hands and the convoy continued to its destination.
Alex Hawkins was serving as a Lance Corporal with 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins showed a huge interest in the military from an early age and joined the cadets in his home town of East Dereham, Norfolk at the first opportunity. Having thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Army Cadet Force it was no surprise that he decided to join the Army as a career. He chose to forge that career in his county regiment; The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment. He joined up in January 2003 and from the start he was an impressive soldier. His commitment was unquestioned and it was clear that he thoroughly enjoyed the military life.
Lance Corporal Hawkins was a huge fitness fanatic and also played rugby and loved skiing. He was modest by nature and let his actions speak louder than words. He had all the key attributes of a soldier and showed courage, determination and leadership skills in abundance.
Having completed his first operational tour of duty as a Rifleman in Iraq, it was no surprise that Lance Corporal Hawkins volunteered to undertake the demanding training to qualify as a sniper. He relished the challenge and earned his sniper badge in 2006. Having made this significant achievement, he went onto complete a Non Commissioned Officer's cadre after which he was immediately promoted to Lance Corporal. He relished the challenge of deploying to Afghanistan and was highly motivated by the opportunity to do his job for real. On operations, he proved himself in combat during intense engagements with the Taliban many times.
Lance Corporal Hawkins was very highly thought of by his fellow soldiers and had a bright future ahead of him. He will be very sorely missed throughout the Battalion and leaves behind his parents, his elder sisters, and his younger brother who has recently joined the Army.
Lance Corporal Hawkins' family said:
"Alex died doing the job he loved. He dreamed of joining the Army and becoming a sniper. This he achieved within his first year and was the top student on his course.
"He was an excellent cadet and an excellent soldier, a kind, loving son, brother and boyfriend, always thinking of others before himself. He was the light of our life and the world will be a duller place without him. Will the media please respect our wishes and not make any further contact at this time."
His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, said:
"Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins was one of the most promising soldiers of his generation. A natural leader and trained sniper he was a superb example to others and highly respected throughout the Vikings. He leaves behind some fond memories and a lasting legacy that we will all strive to live up to. Never to be forgotten, he will go down in Regimental history as a true professional and close friend who we feel privileged to have served and fought with. Our sincere condolences are with his family and friends at this very difficult time."
Major Charles Calder, the Officer Commanding Lance Corporal Hawkins' Company, said:
"Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins died doing the job he loved in the company of some of his closest friends. He was a truly professional soldier and will be sorely missed, but not forgotten, by all ranks in the Company."
Captain Ollie Ormiston, who knew him, said:
"Lance Corporal Hawkins epitomised the British Infantry soldier. Whatever role he was deployed in, he always displayed the utmost professionalism and the other men in the platoon always looked up to him. He was one of the boys and no-one had a bad word to say about him. We will miss him as a soldier, and more importantly as a friend."
Lance Corporal Hawkins' friend, Lance Corporal Craig 'Chicken' Rouse, paid this tribute to him:
"Any soldier in the British Army would have been honoured to have him fight by his side. He will be sorely missed. Recruits passing out of training should model themselves on him. He was a model soldier."
Lance Corporal John 'Elvis' King said:
"He was a soldier, a friend. He's gone but not forgotten. His name will always live on in Sniper platoon."
Private Harrison 'Ford' McCabe said:
"He'd always help you out, no matter how stupid or trivial the question. I could always go to him."
Private Vince 'S-J' Saunders-Jones said:
"He was a good bloke, quick to smile and a friend to many."
Private Jonathon 'Gucci' Cucciniello said:
"No matter how hard or tough things got, he never let it get the best of him. He always cracked on with it."