Corporal Tom Gaden
1st Battalion The Rifles
25th February 2009

 

Corporal Tom Gaden was killed in action on Wednesday 25 February 2009 when the vehicle in which he and two other Riflemen of his Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) were travelling was struck by an IED (improvised explosive device) on the highway east of Gereshk. He was on patrol with his OMLT with whom he had been operating since January 2009.

Tom Gaden was born on 23 November 1984 in Taunton, attending Bishop Fox's Community School. He took part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and had been a member of the Blackbrook Scout Troop.

He enlisted into the Army in Taunton and, on completion of the Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, was posted to 2nd Battalion The Light Infantry (2 LI, later to become 3 RIFLES) on 25 November 2002.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal in 2005 and attended the Section Commanders Battle Course in the summer of 2006. His performance was remarked upon as the 'best of the 2 LI batch'.

He served on Op TELIC 2 (Iraq) and on peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, joining the 2 LI Recce (Reconnaissance) Platoon where he was 'zealous and enthusiastic' by nature, earning the respect of his peers and becoming one of the most popular members of his platoon.

Corporal Gaden was posted to 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES) in February 2008, moving to E Company that April, and was immediately selected to attend the Close Quarters Battle Skills Course with a view to passing on these skills to the company for the tour to Afghanistan.

However, he was almost immediately selected to deploy as a Section Commander to Umm Qasr, Iraq, as part of the battalion's commitment to that operational theatre. He spent four months working with the Naval Transition Team before redeploying just after Christmas 2008 to rejoin his original team in a remote Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Helmand, southern Afghanistan.

Corporal Gaden was a competent and assuredly professional operator, selected for the technically complex skills of Close Quarters Battle, then selected again to carry out a discrete and independent task for the battalion.

He took these rapid changes in his stride, remaining resourceful and flexible to the operational requirements and always relishing the challenge. He thrived in Iraq and led his section with skill and determination throughout that short tour.

On arrival in Afghanistan, he immediately involved himself in the small team environment in an isolated and austere FOB as team third-in-command, stepping up where necessary as second-in-command of the team.

Corporal Gaden was a Rifleman of the calibre that has shaped the regiment's reputation and the battalion's character and ethos. He was well known for his strong faith and deep sense of duty, which was reflected in his qualities as a commander and friend to those around him.

He was part of the future of this great organisation and his sacrifice will be felt by all Riflemen. Our sense of loss cannot match the sorrow and grief that is being felt by Corporal Gaden's family, and his fiancée. Our prayers are with them at this time.