Tributes paid to servicemen
GLOWING tributes were today paid to two Suffolk servicemen who were killed instantly in a surprise mortar attack in Iraq.Senior aircraftsmen Matthew Caulwell, 22, and Peter McFerran, 24, who were based at RAF Honington near Bury St Edmunds, died in an attack by insurgents on Thursday.
GLOWING tributes were today paid to two Suffolk servicemen who were killed instantly in a surprise mortar attack in Iraq.
Senior aircraftsmen Matthew Caulwell, 22, and Peter McFerran, 24, who were based at RAF Honington near Bury St Edmunds, died in an attack by insurgents on Thursday.
A third, senior aircraftsman Christopher Dunsmore, 29, of RAF Cottesmore, was also killed as the trio were safeguarding aircraft operations from Basra Airport.
Military officials said the men's role was to ensure the ground was clear from the threat of the militia who targeted aircrafts as they took off and landed at the airport.
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But it is believed there were no aircraft movements at the time of the attack on the Contingency Operating Base as the men - all members of the B Flight - rested prior to going out on patrol again.
Squadron Leader Jason Sutton, commanding officer for the No 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, said: “The loss of senior aircraftsman Caulwell, Dunsmore and McFerran has been felt very deeply by all on the squadron and by other members of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.
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“To lose any member of our Squadron is a tragic blow to all who knew, trained and fought alongside them. The loss of three such popular and professional men is simply devastating.”
Sqn Ldr Sutton also paid poignant, individual tributes to the soldiers whose death has plunged RAF Honington into mourning.
He said: “SAC Matthew Caulwell was 22 years old, from Birmingham and had served on 1 Squadron since 2002.
“Better known to the Squadron as 'Lip', he was a true character known for his outgoing, gregarious nature.
“Throughout all, his trademark good humour would keep up the spirits of his many friends, one of whom, SAC Greenwood said about him 'Lip was morale, when morale did not exist'.”
Sqn Ldr Sutton continued: “SAC Peter McFerran was 24, from Connahs Quay in Flintshire and the Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) operator for his unit, a position requiring great skill for which he had been carefully selected.
“He demonstrated during training a genuine and natural aptitude for the role and brought to it the professionalism and ingenuity that characterized all he did.
“He was utterly dependable and as his Squadron Commander I knew I could rely on him not only for the consummate skill he brought to the job but also for his honest, incisive opinion.
“His job was his life, his hobby, everything, and in Pete we have lost one of our finest.”
Sqn Ldr Sutton also paid tribute to SAC Dunsmore, from Leicester, as “intelligent, determined and a fine comrade and friend.”