Lance Corporal Paul Upton
1st Battalion The Rifles
25th February 2009

 

Lance Corporal Paul Upton was killed in action when the vehicle in which he and two other Riflemen of his OMLT were travelling was struck by an IED on the highway east of Gereshk on Wednesday 25 February 2009. He was on patrol with his OMLT with whom he had been operating since April 2008.

Paul Upton was born in Paderborn on 17 March 1977. On completion of his Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick he was posted to A Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, on 24 February 1997.

He served in the anti-tank platoon with a tour to Northern Ireland and exercises in Canada. Lance Corporal Upton left the Army in 2000 to pursue other interests, although he was deployed as a reservist to Kosovo with the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. He re-enlisted in December 2007 and was posted to E Company, 1st Battalion The Rifles, in April 2008 in time to commence pre-deployment training for their operational tour in Afghanistan alongside his brother Leon, a serjeant [spelling of 'sergeant' with a 'j' is unique to The Rifles] in C Company of the same battalion.

Lance Corporal Upton was thirty-one years old. Mature and experienced, he immediately settled back into regimental life. It was as if he had never been away and he clearly relished being back in the battalion environment and back with many of his friends from his former regiment.

His determined and friendly manner was evident in his energetic approach to all he did, and he took many of the younger Riflemen under his wing, offering advice, but never forcing it, and 'digging out blind' at all tasks. He led by example and encouraged others with boundless enthusiasm and a ready smile.

He was a clear candidate for the forthcoming Non-Commissioned Officer cadre and had already shown his ability and potential as an Acting Lance Corporal during the tour.

As a mentor to the Afghan National Army, his patience and maturity shone through and he was a vital part of the mentoring effort.

This tragic loss will be felt sorely by all who knew him in the battalion, and particularly by his team-mates. He was a constant presence and a rock for the team, bearing adversity and hardship with consummate ease and a constantly bright outlook on life, which was a bonus to all who knew him.

However, we feel most for the sorrow and grief of Paul's parents Peter and Christine, his brother Leon, and his much loved son Jake. Our sense of loss is nothing compared to their grief and we are thinking and praying for them at this time.