Tributes paid to soldier Sharron

A MOTHER has today paid tribute to her “strong-minded” and “compassionate” daughter who was today confirmed as the second female British soldier to be killed in Iraq.

A MOTHER has today paid tribute to her “strong-minded” and “compassionate” daughter who was today confirmed as the second female British soldier to be killed in Iraq.

Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, who was born and grew up in Ipswich was one of four people killed in an attack on a Multi-National Forces boat patrol on the Shatt Al-Arab waterway on Sunday - she had been serving in Iraq for just over a week.

Today her mother Elsie Manning told how the army had been her life.

She said: “Her life was the Army and she had served all over the world. It is of some comfort to the family that she died doing what she loved.

“We all loved her so much - she has left such a big hole in our lives. She was the most fantastic person, she was just amazing and touched the hearts of everyone she met. We can never replace her.

“Sharron was the most beautiful caring person in the world. She was very strong-minded but very compassionate.”

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The 34-year-old spent her early career in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, proving herself early on when she qualified as an aircraft technician, the first female to do so in the army.

Keen for new challenges, she transferred to the Intelligence Corps and served in the United Kingdom, Germany and Belize, as well as completing a number of operational tours including service in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq.

She was born and brought up in Ipswich and moved to the North East in 1998.

She had four step-brothers, two of whom are still serving in the Army.

At the age of 18, she joined the Army as an Aircraft technician transferring six years ago to the Intelligence Corps with whom she was serving at the time of her death.

Her mum added: “She had lots of friends and used to look after one of them who had cancer so that her husband could have a break - that is the sort of person she was.

“She loved cooking and used to take over the kitchen when she came home, whipping up all kinds of exotic dishes for us all to try.

“She was very close to her four step brothers and was 'best man' at her stepbrother David's wedding. “She was delighted to become an Auntie again last year to little nephew Bradley.”

SSgt Elliott had recently been posted to Cyprus from the Defence College of Intelligence where she had been a highly successful instructor. She was deployed to Iraq to fill a temporary post but had volunteered to extend to serve a full six months tour.

Her Officer Commanding in Cyprus, Major Nick Tuppen, said: “SSgt Elliott was fit, robust and full of life and ideas.

“She was a strong team player who was admired and respected by all. A no-nonsense, professional soldier who displayed both strength and compassion, we will remember her for her steel and determination, her calm, considered words and her smile. Our thoughts are with her friends and family.”

Sgt Elliott was single and leaves behind her parents and a wide circle of friends.

The other victims of the attack were Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Hopkins, Royal Corps of Signals; Corporal Ben Nowak of 45 Commando Royal Marines and Marine Jason Hylton of 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.

Do you want to play tribute to Sharron Elliott? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: