Corporal Steven Boote and Corporal Nicholas Webster-Smith of the Royal Military Police killed in Afghanistan
Corporal Steven Boote and Corporal Nicholas Webster-Smith, both of the Royal Military Police, were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 3 November 2009 in an incident at a police checkpoint in Nad e-Ali.
The soldiers were part of a mixed team of soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and the Royal Military Police tasked with mentoring a number of members of the Afghan National Police 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.
WO1 (RSM) Darren Chant, Sgt Matthew Telford and Guardsman James Major from the Grenadier Guards were also killed in the incident.
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."
Corporal Nicholas Charles Webster-Smith, Royal Military Police
Corporal Nicholas Webster-Smith, known as Nic or W-S to his family, friends and colleagues, was 24, when he was killed in action whilst carrying out his duties at Blue 25, an ANP checkpoint in the Nad-e'Ali District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 3 November 2009.
Corporal Webster-Smith was born on 2nd May 1985 in Glangwilli Hospital, West Wales. He attended Llangunnor Primary School and Queen Elizabeth Cambria Secondary School in Carmarthen before moving to Tenby, West Wales where he completed his education at Greenhill School, Tenby. He lived latterly in Brackley, Northamptonshire.
Following his Phase 1 training, Corporal Webster-Smith enlisted into the Corps of Royal Military Police in February 2005 and upon successful completion of his training was posted to 160 Provost Company, Aldershot in November 2005.
During his time at 160 Provost Company, as well as conducting Garrison Policing he completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 5, a deployment in Kosovo, and a Joint Service Policing tour of the Falkland Islands, where he contributed to the Joint Service Provost and Security Unit, for which he was awarded a Commander British Forces Falkland Islands Commendation.
Corporal Webster-Smith was the eldest son of his proud parents Richard and Jacqueline and a loved brother of Christopher, Samuel and Hannah. Corporal Webster-Smith leaves behind his much loved partner and soul-mate Emma Robinson, along with a loving and proud family.
Corporal Webster-Smith's family said:
"An irreplaceable son, brother, boyfriend and friend. One of the most loving, generous, kind-hearted men you could meet. He always put others first and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Nic will forevermore always be in our hearts."
His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Debbie Poneskis (Commanding Officer 4th Battalion Royal Military Police), said:
"Corporal Webster-Smith was a real character amongst the Regiment and the Company. A professional and determined soldier, Corporal Webster-Smith was always the first to volunteer and the last to give up.
"A spirited Non-Commissioned Officer with a keen sense of humour, Corporal Webster-Smith was at his most comfortable in the midst of fellow soldiers, either guiding and mentoring them, or having a laugh and a joke with them.
"During his short military career he undertook operational tours to Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as volunteering for a six month deployment to the Falkland Islands before deploying again to Afghanistan this year.
"Serving with Corporal Webster-Smith has inspired and humbled us all. He exemplifies the Royal Military Police Corps motto, Exemplo Ducemus; By Example we Lead."
Major Phil Hacker
"His continual deployments are testament to Corporal Webster-Smith's desire to be a soldier first, alongside his mates. He was very much a part of every aspect of Company life and could normally be found in the thick of it with a cheeky smile on his face.
"The Regiment is currently overwhelmed at the sad loss of Corporal Webster-Smith; it is a much poorer place without him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his girlfriend at this difficult time; we share in their grief."
His Company Commander, Major Phil Hacker, said:
"Corporal Webster-Smith's death is a tragedy to us all, especially so early on in the tour. Corporal Webster-Smith loved Army life and he also knew and accepted the dangers that faced him during this tour of Afghanistan.
"He cared deeply for his fellow soldiers and this was reciprocated by all who served with him. He was a very popular soldier within 160 Provost Company and touched all of our lives with his humour, laughter and great professionalism.
"He set the best example of what it is to be a Junior Non-Commissioned Officer within the Royal Military Police, accepting difficult and demanding tasks with great pride. Serving with Corporal Webster-Smith has inspired and humbled us all. He exemplifies the Royal Military Police Corps motto, Exemplo Ducemus; By Example we Lead."
The Operations Officer for 160 Provost Company, Captain Karen Tait, said:
"W-S was a true soldier and Military Policeman. His pride at wearing his beret and working alongside his colleagues was evident.
"He had a fantastic sense of humour that he brought out when we all needed it, always at the centre of activity. His professionalism and courage is what stood him out amongst his peers. He demonstrated his 'wilco' approach to life until the end.
"A sociable character who always made time for his friends and loved ones. The loss of W-S has left a void in the Company."
2nd Lieutenant Richard Evans said:
"Corporal Webster-Smith was a respected, fun and well liked Military Policeman. He was a key member of the Corporals' Mess and Regimental sports teams.
"He was always at the heart of any social function and part of a close knit circle of friends. He was a fantastic example to those he served with - knowledgeable, confident and open.
"He was an asset not only to his Company but to those he served with. Corporal Webster-Smith had a keen, dry sense of humour which he often shared with those around him. A sure source of morale, and a reliable individual, he was selected for his role in theatre because of his robustness, clarity of thought, and professionalism.
"Corporal Webster-Smith was an exemplary Royal Military Police Junior Non-Commissioned Officer. He would soldier on regardless of the situation, he knew his job, and was adaptable. He will be sorely missed."