Rifleman Aidan Howell
3rd Battalion The Rifles
28th December 2009
Rifleman Howell was killed as a result of an explosion that happened near Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge, in the Kajaki area of Helmand Province, during the afternoon of 28 D ecember 2009. He had been on patrol when an improvised explosive device detonated.
Aidan Howell was born in Sidcup, Kent on 25 June 1990 and went to the Montsaye Community College in Rothwell before enlisting to join the Army in 2006. He was selected to attend the Army Foundation College in Harrogate before completing his training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick. In March 2008 he joined C Company, 3 RIFLES based in Edinburgh.
Known to friends as 'H', he completed his Pre- D eployment Training with C Company as part of the specialised Fire Support Group, a role normally reserved for more senior Rifleman. An extremely fit and active young man he was an avid Leeds United supporter, travelling far and wide to cheer them on whenever he could.
Rifleman Howell's family paid the following tribute:
"We can not begin to express the total and utter devastation we feel at the loss of our beautiful son Aidan. He may be recognised as a hero now, but to his family and everyone who was lucky enough to know him, he wasalready a hero.
Aidan was a big Leeds United fan and even met the players, his heroes, before he left for Afghanistan. He was known as 'Sunshine Boy' to his family and he was a loving son, grandson, and a cheeky and cocky brother.
He loved his mates both at home and in the Army and he was so proud to be a soldier as we were utterly proud of him."
His loss is a tragedy and he goes to join a line of gallant Riflemen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country and their mates out here in Afghanistan."
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, Commanding Officer 3 RIFLES Battle Group, said:
"Rifleman Howell, at the age of 19, was already established as a man of promise. His infectious humour and engaging personality had quickly endeared him to his Company and his Platoon.
Despite being a relatively new arrival to the battalion, he was already operating with the C Company Fire Support Group which demands the experience and ability of our older Riflemen. In this he found no difficulty and held his head high, belying his tender years.
His loss is a tragedy and he goes to join a line of gallant Riflemen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country and their mates out here in Afghanistan. Those who remain here will take strength from his courage and dedication and will honour his memory always.
At this most difficult of times our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We know that they, like us, will find some comfort in the knowledge that he died doing the job he loved and whilst bringing peace and stability to this troubled region."
Captain Ben Morgan, Fire Support Group Commander, C Company Group, 3 RIFLES, said:
"Rifleman Aidan Howell joined the Fire Support Group in March 2009 for the hectic six months Pre-Deployment Training and threw himself into it whole-heartedly.
A very social young Rifleman he always had a smile on his face that made you wonder what he'd been up to the night before! Other soldiers were drawn to his confidence and he was part of a tight knit band of brothers eagerly making holiday plans for when the tour was over.
A tall man, he used his height to look out for others, a trait that made him a leader amongst men and stayed with him right to the very end.
On the day of his death a British newspaper arrived with messages of Christmas wishes from loved ones back in the UK. Where most people had one or two messages Aidan had more than anyone else. He leaves a gaping holein the lives of many and our hearts go out to his bereaved family at this terrible moment.
To have served alongside him in Afghanistan was an honour and he will be remembered by us all as a hero."