On Saturday, 7th March 2009 Mark Quinsey and Cengiz ‘Patrick’ Azimkar were both killed in an attack on them by the “Real IRA” at the main gates of Massareene Barracks, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Two other soldiers and two civilians were injured in the attack which took place just outside the barracks when a number of gunmen attacked members of 38 Engineer Regiment waiting at the front gate.
Despite the tremendous efforts of their fellow soldiers, Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar both died at the scene.
They were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan at the time of the attack.
Mark Quinsey was a Sapper serving with 25 Field Squadron, 38 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers
Sapper Quinsey was born in Birmingham in 1985 and joined the Army when he was 19. Following his basic training he attended the combat engineer course at Minley before qualifying as an electrician at the Royal School of Military Engineering in Chatham. He served with 38 Engineer Regiment in both Ripon and Northern Ireland and deployed on a number of training exercises throughout the UK. Most recently he attended the intensive class 1 electricians' course, which he completed with flying colours in 2008.
Sapper Quinsey was a charismatic and affable young soldier. Eager to put his recently gained trade knowledge to use, Sapper Quinsey was looking forward to the operational challenges that Afghanistan would offer. At only 23 he had already emerged as a mature, reliable and hugely capable young soldier with vast future potential.
Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis, Commanding Officer 38 Engineer Regiment, said:
"Sapper Quinsey was an outwardly calm, resolute and motivated young soldier. A social live wire and hugely popular across the regiment, he was rarely away from the centre of the action.
"Professionally his approach reflected his infectious enthusiasm for life. As one of the few soldiers within my regiment to have completed the demanding class 1 electricians' course his trade skills were invaluable. He was hugely passionate about his trade and eager to put his new qualifications to good use in Afghanistan. We were expecting him to play a vital role maintaining the living and working conditions of British soldiers serving in southern Afghanistan. Tragically he has been denied this opportunity.
"This has been a traumatic time and the regiment and I are devastated to have lost such a fine and promising soldier. It is with greatest sympathy that I extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mark's family and friends for their irreplaceable loss."
Major Darren Woods, Officer Commanding 25 Field Squadron, said:
"The death of Sapper Quinsey has dealt a heavy blow to the squadron, many of whom have already deployed to Afghanistan. To lose such a charismatic young soldier in the prime of his life has been a tragedy of immeasurable magnitude.
"I have known Sapper Quinsey for almost two years and in that time have never found him without a positive word or the ability to make light of any situation. His wide circle of friends pays testimony to his popularity. As a soldier he was committed to achieving the best he could in all areas. In particular he was an accomplished tradesman who new that his work could and would make a difference to the daily lives of his friends and comrades on operations. This was always Mark's motivation.
"My last and perhaps abiding memory of Sapper Quinsey will be him helping the second-in-command work late to complete the final deployment preparations to send the squadron on operations. It was neither Mark's role nor responsibility, but he did it and did it well. That was his way; no complaints, just get it done. He will be sorely missed.
"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are now with Mark's family throughout this period and into what will undoubtedly be a difficult time ahead."
Lieutenant Chris Smith, 2 Troop Commander 25 Field Squadron, said:
"Sapper Quinsey was a humorous and willing soldier. He had a dry sense of humour and a thick brummie accent making him stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to get to know him as well as I would have hoped as he had recently returned to the troop having completed his electricians' training.
"He instantly threw himself back into troop life, both socially and professionally; keen to learn all the skills he needed for our deployment to Afghanistan this summer. In the short time I knew him I enjoyed working with him immensely; he was impossible not to like. I, and the Troop, send our sincere condolences to Sapper Quinsey's family in Birmingham."
Warrant Officer Class 2 (Squadron Sergeant Major) Paul Dixon said:
"If you ever needed a steady hand to crew the ship Mark was your man. He could and would turn his hand to most things. Yet, at the end of the working day, he would always be at the front, immaculate appearance, ready to party and charm the ladies with a bit of his brummie banter."
Sapper Sean Pocock, 2 Troop, 25 Field Squadron, said:
"The thing is, he wasn't just my friend in the Army, he was a friend from back home in Birmingham. It's hard to believe he won't be around anymore. He will be sorely missed by me and his comrades around him, within our troop especially."
Sapper Andrew Sharples, 2 Troop, 25 Field Squadron, said:
"Mark Quinsey was a good friend of mine, I used to share a room with him back at camp and used to weight-train with him now and again. I can't believe this has happened. My deepest sorrows go out to Mark's family, he will be greatly missed by all in the Troop and Squadron."
Brigadier Tim Radford, Commander of 19 Light Brigade, said:
"My thoughts and condolences go to all the families who have suffered such dreadful losses and to those who have been injured in this appalling incident.
"The two young Royal Engineers from 19 Light Brigade, although based in Northern Ireland, were about to deploy to Afghanistan for 6 months as part of Task Force Helmand. These brave and dedicated men typify the professional and selfless nature of the Armed Forces. We will cherish their memory."
General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, said:
"I am deeply shocked and angered by the attack in County Antrim on Saturday night. The peaceful garrison life so enjoyed by the soldiers and families of 38 Engineer Regiment has been shattered by this most tragic event, which is especially distressing as the regiment begins its deployment to Afghanistan.
"I offer the families and friends of those affected my heartfelt condolences and support."
Defence Secretary John Hutton said:
"Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar were young men who had trained hard and were on the verge of deploying to Afghanistan. By all accounts they were promising soldiers and had already achieved a good deal in their careers to date. My thoughts and sympathies are with their families and friends at this difficult time."