Warrant Officer Class 1 (RSM) Darren Chant, Sergeant Matthew Telford and Guardsman James Major killed in Afghanistan
Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major) Darren Chant, Sergeant Matthew Telford and Guardsman James Major were killed in Afghanistan on 3 November 2009 in an incident at a police checkpoint in Nad e-Ali.
The soldiers were part of a mixed team from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and the Royal Military Police. Corporal Steven Boote and Corporal Nicholas Webster-Smith, both of the Royal Military Police, were also killed in the attack.
The team had been tasked with mentoring a number of members of the Afghan National Police at the checkpoint.
The Grenadier Guards Battle Group had identified the need for increased mentoring of the Afghan National Police within its area of operations.
WO1 (RSM) Chant and his team were sent to a police checkpoint of vital importance as it provided protection to the bazaar area of Nad e-Ali where the Battle Group's Forward Operating Base is located.
Paying tribute to the five men, Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, said:
"I was so very sorry to hear of the deaths of these five brave soldiers, killed in the course of their duties in Afghanistan. That they were killed by one of those they were working alongside is a particular tragedy.
"The memory of WO1 (RSM) Darren Chant, Sgt Matthew Telford, Cpl Nicholas Webster-Smith, Cpl Steven Boote and Guardsman James Major will live on. They were men of courage who died building security in Afghanistan and protecting people in the UK from terrorism.
"My deepest sympathies and condolences lie with their grieving families, friends, and all those who served alongside them, who will feel the pain of loss most intensely. They are in all our thoughts."
Sergeant Matthew Telford, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards
Sergeant Matt Telford was temporarily employed as a mentor to the Afghan National Police (ANP). As the Regimental Police Sergeant he was perfectly placed to work with such a team drawn from soldiers of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and the Royal Military Police. The team had been tasked with mentoring a number of members of the ANP at a checkpoint.
The Grenadier Guards Battle Group had identified the need for increased mentoring of the Afghan National Police within its area of operations. Sergeant Telford was part of a 16-man team who were sent to a police checkpoint of vital importance as it provided protection to the bazaar area of Nad e-Ali where the Battle Group Forward Operating Base is located.
Sergeant Telford was born in Grimsby on 10 October 1972. He passed out of the Guards Depot in February 1991 and was immediately posted to the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards.
On amalgamation of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Grenadier Guards in 1993, Sergeant Telford was transferred to the 1st Battalion where he served until 2004. In 2004 he was posted to Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, where he served for two years before being detached as a regimental recruiter.
In early 2009 he returned to the battalion as the Regimental Police Sergeant.
Sergeant Telford leaves behind his beloved wife Kerry and two sons, Harry and Callum.
Sergeant Telford's size, stature and presence were entirely in line with what you would expect of a Regimental Police Sergeant. However, what you found behind the mountain of a man was a thoughtful and caring family man who would work tirelessly all hours of the day to help someone out. He was professional and meticulous in everything that he did.
Sergeant Telford was a fantastically popular individual across the battalion. He was a definite battalion character and it was a pleasure for all his colleagues to have him back serving with the regiment.
Sergeant Telford's family said:
"Matt was a larger than life character - a gentle giant of a man. He will be sadly missed by his wife Kerry and sons Harry and Callum, his extensive family and friends, and his colleagues."
Lieutenant Colonel Roly Walker, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Sergeant Telford, a quiet giant of a man, has died. He was working with a small detachment of Afghan police to improve security in a village infiltrated by insurgents.
"As the Regimental Police Sergeant for the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, he was well placed to help the police learn new skills; and as a soldier he was more than ready to face the challenges. So his death at the hands of those he was helping is all the more tragic.
"His was an unwavering and reliable presence in the battalion. His easy-going style and happy humour made him everyone's friend.
"He was thriving in his role as a police mentor, and his spirits were high because he could see the results in the men he was working with - both our troops and the Afghans. He was utterly professional in his duty, and the respect he had from the villagers was clear to anyone who visited.
"Our loss is as nothing to that of his family and close friends. Our deepest condolences go with him on his final journey home."
Captain Bernie Broad, Quartermaster Technical, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"I knew Sergeant Matt Telford as a Guardsman in The Queen's Company when I was the Company Sergeant Major. A larger than life character, he was large, fit and intelligent. He epitomised to me what being a soldier, and more so a Guardsman, is all about.
"Throughout his career his enthusiasm for the job never diminished and with his excellent sense of humour and gentle touch for such a giant of a man, he was known, respected, and trusted by all.
"Sergeant Matt Telford was a big man, not just in size but also in everyday life. A very professional man who was immensely proud to be a Grenadier Guard, he epitomised what the regiment are all about."
Lance Sergeant Roberts
"On promotion he became a Recruiting Sergeant in Grimsby where his charming and professional manner boosted recruiting for the regiment. The quality, well-motivated soldiers who joined as a result of his endeavours will never forget the big guy who recruited them.
"Matt, you are a true professional and a loving family man who never let anyone down in the course of his duties at work or at home. A very large gap will be left in the hearts and minds of all who knew him and he will never be forgotten."
Warrant Officer Class 2 Miles, Company Sergeant Major, Headquarter Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"There aren't enough quality words to describe Sergeant Matthew Telford. He was a giant of a man in both the physical and personal sense.
"I knew him personally for 18 years; his sense of humour was infectious and where morale was needed Matt always provided it in spades.
"The consummate solder, his professionalism and leadership were the envy of most of the regiment. Posted out from the battalion for a few years, he returned as the same compassionate and understanding man, who when someone really needed support he was able to offer it without question.
"Bravery for Matt came with the territory, he led by example and expected nothing of his soldiers that he personally would not undertake.
"To say Matt was a totally committed family man probably wouldn't do him justice. His family was his life, he talked about them constantly and my heart sincerely goes out to them at this difficult time.
"To serve with Matthew was an honour and a privilege, and I really couldn't be more proud to call myself his Company Sergeant Major, but more than anything, his friend."
Lance Sergeant Roberts, Medical Sergeant, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Sergeant Matt Telford was a big man not just in size but also in everyday life. A very professional man who was immensely proud to be a Grenadier Guard, he epitomised what the regiment are all about.
"Matt was a keen martial arts expert and was always keen to show this off, his favourite saying was 'grab me here and I'll show you how to get out of it'. On grabbing him he would then proceed to put you on the floor in some ridiculous arm lock.
"Big-hearted and an even bigger family man, he loved his wife Kerry and his two boys Callum and Harry. I was privileged to have attended his wedding which was one of the proudest and happiest days of his life.
"Matt was a man I could call not only a colleague and friend but a brother. Rest in peace mate, you will be sorely missed by all who knew you."
Lance Corporal Lee Dutton, a close friend, said:
"I first met Matt on return from a Northern Ireland tour in 1994 when he joined The Queen's Company. Even then as the junior Guardsman we instantly became the best of friends and through the years that friendship strengthened.
"When we both got married our families' houses in Pirbright were next door to each other and we spent many evenings together with our families, running, or just going to the gym.
"Matt had an enormous personality and heart to match. He was big and strong and could always be relied on when you needed help for anything.
"Always with a smile on his face, he was always the first to cheer people up when they were down and cheer up any situation with some of the worst jokes I have heard or by showing a new arm lock he had learnt.
"Matt was a true friend who will be deeply missed by all who knew him."
"We would have daily discussions with the Operations Officer on how to tackle the next issue. I knew that once he had it in his grasp, the problem was gone.
"The indelible memory I have of him is standing in (and filling) the doorway after each such discussion saying, 'Not a problem, leave it with me, Sir, I'll sort it'. And so he did."
Major Mark 'Vince' Gaunt, Quartermaster, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Daz Chant was not only a good friend but an outstanding soldier to work alongside.
"His death is a huge loss to the regiment and my immediate thoughts and sympathy are with his family, his wife Sheenie and his children Connor, Victoria and Adam, of whom I know he was hugely proud.
"He was a man that you would only have to have had the briefest of dealings with for you to remember him forever.
"He was a big bear of a man and his presence was what anyone would expect from a Regimental Sergeant Major, a larger than life character who would always have an opinion and would tell you whether you wanted to hear it or not.
"No-one could ever escape his eye, if you were in his gaze it was either going to be painful or painfully funny, never in between.
"He had an infectious sense of humour that would make his mates roll with laughter and they in turn would tease him that all of his impressions sounded the same; he, with colourful language, would always disagree.
"Passionate about his role as the top soldier in the battalion, and even more so for the soldiers under him, he led from the front and would take the phrase 'Don't ask people to do something you would not do yourself' to the letter.
"For a huge man his fitness was legendary. As an ex-Pathfinder he would never give in and never come last at anything. He and I would run most lunch times and sort the regimental world out; well, he would sort it out, and I would concentrate on keeping up with him.
"On a previous tour of Afghanistan I was present when he carried an injured man in full kit at night across uneven ground for two kilometres, chatting to him all the way about drinking, fighting and his beloved Inkerman Company.
"Daz was an immaculate Regimental Sergeant Major and it was a tremendous honour and privilege to have known him, to have drank with him, to have laughed with him, and to have been a Grenadier alongside him."
Warrant Officer Class Two Steve Munro, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Daz took over the battalion following on from the end of Operation HERRICK 6. From the outset he made his mark and set a standard from which he never faltered.
"Socially he had the most wicked sense of humour; he lived his life to the full. To recount his exploits would take a book, the ups, the downs, the funny and comical.
"I would read it over and over apart from the last page, a page I would never turn. He was a good friend and a true professional, I and the regiment will miss him. My thoughts go to his wife Sheenie and his children Connor, Victoria and Adam."