Christian was born at home, in Leeds on 4th April 1975. He was our second child. His older brother Mark was almost two, when Chris arrived. He was a very active baby who needed very little sleep, and was almost two years old before he slept through the night. During his early years, he presented as hyperactive and was constantly on the go. Chris could be very strong willed and occasionally had tantrums at the checkouts in the supermarket, regarding the sweets on display. He was a very loving child who got on well with his older brother Mark most of the time, although they did argue and fight occasionally.
When Chris started primary school, everyone used to comment on him asking many questions, and not giving up until he had a satisfactory answer. The Religious Instruction teacher told me Chris had brought a new meaning to her classes with him wanting answers to questions about God that she was unable to answer. During his years in school, he excelled in most sports, and was often the captain of the football, rugby and cricket teams. Even at this early age people seemed to look up to him for leadership and encouragement. He did not excel academically, and left with a handful of GCE’s, not sure of what he wanted to do.
Chris started employment as a heavy goods mechanic. He did not enjoy this; he found it boring and needed something more stimulating. He had several jobs in between, before announcing he wanted to join the Army. Initially I was very against the idea, with the preconception that only young men with no family ties, or having left local authority care were the ones that went into the army. However, several months later, Chris had persuaded his father and myself to sign, as in three months time he would have been able to join without consent. We believed it better to support him in his new venture.
Chris joined the Coldstream Guards in Pirbright in 1993. He aquiried the nickname “Tricky” which was to stick with him throughout his army career. Initially we did wonder who would give in first, Chris or the British Army. We had expected Chris may have experienced difficulties with the discipline and rigid rules within the army, and told them where to stick their orders, as he could be outspoken. However, six months later he proved us all wrong, and passed out with an award and distinction as the best recruit
His first posting was to Bosnia, which obviously worried and concerned us. He was there under the directions of the U.N., and his first task was to exchange the bodies of women and children of the warring factions. For several years, Chris was based in Munster in Germany, and did several tours of Northern Ireland. He had been to Jamaica, Canada, and Belize on exercise, and experienced scuba diving, parachute jumping, skiing and many more sporting activities which he excelled in.
Chris met Gemma when he was based at Catterick. They were engaged two years after meeting, and married in May 2003. They moved down to Aldershot after the wedding, to start a new life together. A chocolate Lab. Named Fudge completed their family at the time. They had planned to start a family in 2006, after he came home from Iraq.
He progressed through the ranks quickly and was a popular member of his battalion. He had the knack of engaging with people, making them feel valued and listened to, and their opinions were valid. Chris’s sense of humour and enjoyment of life, as were his sessions in the Sergeants Mess were legendary within his regiment.
When Chris was killed in Iraq, 3 days before he was due to come home, everyone reacted with disbelief. Everyone had thought he was invincible – he was 6’3” tall and well built, and it is only just hitting us that we will not see Chris again in this life…., and that is heart breaking…