On Thursday 7th May 2009 in southern Afghanistan Ben Ross and Kumar Pun were killed as a result of an attack by a suicide bomber using an improvised explosive device during a patrol in Gereshk, Helmand province.
Ben Ross was a Sergeant with 173 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment, Royal Military Police and Kumar Pun was a Corporal with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles
Sergeant Ben Ross, aged 34, was born in Bangor, Wales, in 1974 but grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He was educated at Hazlegrove Prep School and subsequently Kings School, Bruton, in Somerset.
Sergeant Ross joined the Army in September 1996 and upon completion of basic training joined The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, serving in Germany, Canada, Poland, in the Balkans, and as a Phase One instructor. Sergeant Ross transferred to the Royal Military Police in 2003 and was subsequently posted to the Weapons Intelligence Section in Northern Ireland.
He deployed on Operation TELIC 4, completed the Close Protection Course, and deployed to 177 Support Platoon, 6 Royal Military Police, with General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland. Having moved back to the Close Protection Unit as an instructor he subsequently deployed to Iraq as part of the Close Protection Team for the British Ambassador to Iraq.
He has served on various other tours including Operation TELIC a second time, Operation HERRICK (Afghanistan), and within a Close Protection Team in Sudan. In December 2008 Sergeant Ross was posted to 173 Provost Company, 3 Royal Military Police, in order to deploy on Operation HERRICK 10.
On Operation HERRICK 10 (Afghanistan) Sergeant Ross was a team leader within the Police Mentoring Company. His role was to mentor, train and advise the Afghan Uniformed Police on security, policing and law enforcement, a role he relished.
Sergeant Ross is survived by Sheena, a serving Royal Military Policewoman. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sheena and Sergeant Ross's family at this most difficult time.
Sheena Ross paid the following tribute to Ben:
"A very loving husband, a gentleman, his family are so very proud of him. A genuine, quiet, selfless man who was the centre of my world. He will be missed by all who knew him."
Officer Commanding 173 Provost Company, Major Adam Quantrell, said:
"Sergeant Ross's tragic death has come as a huge shock to all of us and the hole that has been left by him appears at the moment to be overwhelming. I know if Ben were still here he would just look at me, tell me to fill the hole and get on with the job.
"This was the nature of the man, a professional; a veteran of many tours with a warrior attitude and sprit. Fiercely determined yet compassionate and patient he added colour to all our lives.
"Despite him being in the unit for only a short time, his impact has been fundamental to the attitude, professional standards and outlook the company took on in preparation for this tour; forever looking for ways to improve the lives of those under his command, he always found time to mentor the young Junior Non-Commissioned Officers in the company. His impact on these young soldiers was immeasurable and will be long lasting.
"A wise man once said that a truly great man is somebody that doesn't remind you of anyone else. Ben Ross stood alone in this respect; utterly competent and truly professional. Dedication, Sacrifice, and Leadership were his mantras and they are the best words in which to describe him. He was a giant among men and I am blessed for having him under my command and the company is blessed for having served with him.
"At this time our thoughts and prayers go out to Sheena and Ben's family and I pray that they may be strengthened in some way by the effect Ben's death has had on all of us and find some solace in the lasting impact his life has had on those who knew him."
Company Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Kimber, said:
"For all the qualities that you ascribe to Ben, and there would be many that all his mates could think of, I believe impressive is the one that simply sums Ben up.
"Impressive as a soldier, who could always be relied on by both his commanders and those that he commanded; in many ways he was my 'go to' man. Ben fell in the manner that he performed as a soldier; by leading the way and not shying away from the difficult situations he was confronted with. In many ways Ben as a person was more impressive. His composed nature meant that he always had time for people; rank was neither here nor there for Ben when it came to assisting those that needed his calm words of advice or his experienced hands to help.
"It will be hard not having Ben around, especially at such an early stage of the tour, however it will be offset by the fact that I and the rest of the company knew such an excellent bloke."
8 Platoon Commander, Captain John Steele, said of him:
"Sergeant Ben Ross was a soldier who exemplified the Military Police ethos of leading by example. He was utterly selfless in his actions, hugely professional, and liked by all.
"He died on patrol whilst mentoring the Afghan Police, a job he excelled in and found hugely rewarding. He was a natural instructor and one who led from the front under any conditions. He touched all our lives in a positive manner and he made a huge impression on those he served with in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan .
"The company and the Royal Military Police as a whole has lost one of its finest and a void has been left which can never be filled. He was an inspiration to us all.
"He will be deeply missed and never forgotten. I extend my most sincere sympathy to his family and friends."
8 Platoon Second-in-Command, Staff Sergeant Dan Stephens, said:
"Big heart, big smile, enormous personality; as my right hand man and one of a few Senior Non-Commissioned Officers within a close-knit platoon, I relied on Ben hugely and he never failed to deliver. His keen eye, sharp style and forthright manner belied an immensely loyal and devoted soldier, a professional and outstanding military policeman and a compassionate and understanding man.
"In the time Ben and I worked together he quickly gained my trust, my loyalty and my unwavered respect. Never shy of responsibility and never afraid of saying what needed to be said, he earned the respect and the trust of those he knew and worked with.
"His steadfast dedication to the job at hand and his soldiers was unquestionable and surpassed only by the devotion, love and loyalty he quite clearly had for his wife Sheena.
"Our platoon's thoughts are with Sheena and Ben's family and I and the platoon miss him dearly. Your work here is done but will not be forgotten, rest in peace."