Tuesday, 25 July 2017
logo
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
        



dv-header-dday
     |      View our Twitter page at twitter.com/defenceredbox     |     

inmemoriam

Sapper Connor Ray, from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), died in hospital in Birmingham on 18 April 2012 from wounds sustained in Afghanistan. On 11 April 2012, Sapper Ray was involved in a search and clearance operation in the Nad 'Ali district of central Helmand near to Checkpoint Kahmanan. The aim of the mission was to clear a compound previously used by insurgents, allowing the local population to safely return to the area.

During this operation Sapper Ray was seriously injured in an IED strike. He received immediate medical attention before being taken to the Camp Bastion Role 3 Hospital and was later evacuated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.


Sapper Connor Ray, aged 21, from Newport, started his military career in January 2008 at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. He joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in June 2009 and qualified as a Building and Structural Finisher upon completion of his trade training at Chatham.

He joined 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), in April 2010, where he trained as an Advanced Searcher. He was kept busy in his specialist role, which included providing support for a number of high profile events. During his time in Afghanistan, Sapper Ray and his team successfully undertook a number of high risk searches which undoubtedly saved numerous British and Afghan lives.

A popular young soldier who was cheerful and engaging, Sapper Ray showed much promise. He was professional and dependable and was well liked by those that knew him. He leaves behind his brother Vinnie, stepfather Steve, sisters Hollie and Bonnie, and girlfriend Hollie.

The family of Sapper Ray have made the following statement:

"We are intensely shocked, distressed and saddened after losing our hero Connor Ray, who died as a result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan. We are all tremendously proud of Connor. Connor was part of Britain's engineer search unit - 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD); he was critically hurt last Wednesday, the eve of his 21st birthday.

"In heaven with his mum now, we will always remember his love of life, his sense of humour and cherish the short time he had to touch our lives."

Sapper Ray's family

"He loved his time in the Army and made great friends. Connor was a hero to all of his family and friends; brother Vinnie, 21, sisters Hollie, 17, and Bonnie, 16, Aunty Eileen, stepfather Steve, grandparents Leo and Linda, Keith and Sue, girlfriend Hollie, and all of his good friends and family will miss him terribly.

"In heaven with his mum now, we will always remember his love of life, his sense of humour and cherish the short time he had to touch our lives. We would like to thank everybody for their kind words, love and support at this tragic time."

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell, Commanding Officer 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said:

"The tragic loss of Sapper Ray has shaken both the EOD and Search Task Force and the Regiment deeply. At this most difficult time my thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with his family and his many friends.

"An extremely positive and determined young soldier, Sapper Ray was a real team player. Amiable and upbeat, he had a natural ability to encourage and inspire others with his limitless optimism. He would often be found in the gym, working hard to maintain his fitness, whilst setting an excellent example to those less motivated. A very professional soldier, he had taken to the extremely challenging role of being a High Assurance Searcher with gusto and had already demonstrated significant potential in this specialist role. Sapper Ray undoubtedly had a bright future ahead of him.

"During physically and emotionally demanding times here in Afghanistan, Sapper Ray remained his upbeat and professional self. Hard working and dedicated, his positive attitude had a tangible effect on those around him. He easily integrated into an Advanced Search Team from another Squadron, quickly making his mark and new friends. Sapper Ray epitomised the 'One Team' ethos of the disparate Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Task Force and was an absolute pleasure to have within the Unit.

"An extremely positive and determined young soldier, Sapper Ray was a real team player. Amiable and upbeat, he had a natural ability to encourage and inspire others with his limitless optimism."

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell

"The Corps of the Royal Engineers has today lost an inspiring young soldier who was certainly going places. He set an excellent example to others, had many friends and leaves a gap in our ranks. He will be sorely missed by all members of both the EOD and Search Task Force and his Regiment, but never forgotten. His family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at this time."

Major Ben Hawkins, Officer Commanding Operations Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Task Force, said:

"Deliberately going into an area suspected to contain improvised explosive devices is perhaps one of the most challenging jobs in the world; to do so takes a certain type of character. It demands a stoic resolve and resolute dedication. Sapper Ray had these virtues in abundance.

"I have known Sapper Ray for nearly a year; he was always happy, never more so than when busy. Always smiling and exceptionally personable, Sapper Ray had the kind of 'can do' attitude that every commander would want in his soldiers.

"His quick wit and easy going nature endeared him to all who had the privilege of working with him. He was an ideal and immediate choice to integrate into a Search Team from another Squadron; such was our faith in his abilities and character. In short he was a fine soldier, ideal Sapper and an excellent searcher.

"Sapper Ray's loss will be keenly felt by my Squadron and in particular by those many who were privileged to have been his friends."

From the offset, I recognised that Sapper Connor Ray was a superb soldier. He never failed to impress those around him with his infectious wit and humour. Totally professional and reliable as a young Royal Engineer he would, without question, have been a future leader of men."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Kevin Prevett, Squadron Sergeant Major, Operations Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Task Force, said:

"From the offset, I recognised that Sapper Connor Ray was a superb soldier. He never failed to impress those around him with his infectious wit and humour. Totally professional and reliable as a young Royal Engineer he would, without question, have been a future leader of men. My abiding memory of Connor is simply his smile, which infected those around him. It was these qualities, to name but a few, which will be cherished by his friends and colleagues of the Royal Engineer Search community. The lads and I will never forget him."

Sergeant Simon Gardner, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operator and Troop Sergeant, 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said:

"Sapper Connor Ray was an irreplaceable character within 3 Troop, 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). His infectious smile and keen sense of humour will be sorely missed. Throughout his two years with 3 Troop, he carried out many duties including maritime interdiction and search assistance to the civil powers. In this diverse role, Connor excelled in every aspect. He was a young soldier filled with promise for the future. Always full of morale, he was the first to volunteer for any task. He was a pleasure to serve with. There will be a huge hole left in the lives of all that met Connor, but these will be healed by the fond memories of such an inspiring young man. RIP Connor."

Corporal Jamie Paul, Section Commander, 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said:

"Connor was simply one of the best Sappers I've ever known and even more, he was a true friend. I'd known Connor for three years. He was quiet at first but as he settled into his role his true personality began to shine. Kind in nature, Connor is what a Sapper should be; extremely fit, reliable and trustworthy. He will be sadly missed by his friends, family and loved ones.

"Connor was simply one of the best Sappers I've ever known and even more, he was a true friend. Kind in nature, Connor is what a Sapper should be; extremely fit, reliable and trustworthy."

Corporal Jamie Paul

"Connor, you will never be forgotten, memories I have will last forever, sleep well pal, we'll meet again soon."

Sapper Sean Cairns, 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said:

"Connor was a great lad - always smiling, always laughing. He made the best of a bad situation. He loved having a good laugh whether it was with the lads or generally messing about. He was looking forward to coming on tour and getting on 'Op Bronze' and 'Op Massive', then going back to see his girlfriend Hollie and enjoying a good holiday with her. I noticed when joining the Squadron, he was a popular lad and after meeting him, I soon realised why. He was an all round top bloke. Stay safe now and see you soon big guy."

Sapper Daniel Kelly, 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said:

"Sapper Connor Ray, you can never trust a man with two first names, especially Connor. He was a fan of practical jokes and having a laugh. However, one thing you could always trust him to do was to be at the troop bar with a crate under his arm and a big smile across his face.

"Connor, it was a shock to hear of your injuries and worse when we found out you had passed away, you were a big lad with a big heart and a big smile. You will leave a big gap but you will never be forgotten. I will always treasure the memories that we shared; my favourite memory being the time spent growing your massive fringe, like your film heroes. You will always be a hero in my eyes."

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Latest from icasualties.org

  • AP- Afghan security scrutinized after suicide bomber kills 24
    A Taliban suicide bomber killed 24 people in a horrific early morning assault in a neighborhood where prominent politicians reside, causing residents and analysts to question the government's ability to protect Afghanistan's capital. Another 42 people were injured in the attack that took place during morning rush hour as government employees and students made their way to work and school. Plumes of black smoke were seen billowing skyward outside the entrance to a private high school. Students in nearby dormitories were injured by flying glass.
  • Reuters- Mattis bristles at Pentagon waste of $28 mln on Afghan uniforms
    U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has criticized Pentagon officials for wasting as much as $28 million by making a questionable choice of forest camouflage-patterned uniforms for Afghan National Army soldiers. The uniform pattern was selected without evaluating its effectiveness when only 2.1 percent of Afghanistan is covered by forests, the U.S. government's top watchdog on Afghanistan said in a report last month.
  • AFP- At least 26 killed in Kabul car bomb claimed by Taliban
    At least 26 people were killed and 41 wounded Monday after a Taliban-claimed car bomb struck a bus carrying government employees through a Shiite neighbourhood in Kabul, raising fears of sectarian violence in the Afghan capital. The assault came as a presidential spokesman said the Taliban also killed at least 35 civilians in an attack on a hospital in central Ghor province over the weekend.
  • VOA- Taliban Captures 2 Districts in Central Afghanistan
    Heavy fighting is raging in central Afghanistan where officials say the Islamist Taliban has captured two key district headquarters and is assaulting government outposts in nearby areas. Insurgents stormed Taywara district in Ghor province early Sunday, after seizing control of the border district of Kohistan in the adjoining northern province of Faryab, according to Afghan and Taliban officials.
  • PressTV- Police search for kidnapped villagers in southern Afghanistan
    Afghan security forces have launched a major search operation for some 30 villagers still missing two days after a mass kidnapping blamed on the Taliban militants in the country’s troubled south. Zia Durrani, a police spokesman in the southern province of Kandahar, said on Sunday that about 30 people were released on July 23 but around 30 others were still missing
  • WaPo- Behind the front lines in the fight to ‘annihilate’ ISIS in Afghanistan
    A recurring rumble of explosions echoes off the barren, boulder-strewn slopes of the Spin Ghar mountains, each ordnance aimed wishfully at redoubts where Islamic State militants are suspected of hiding. Afghan and U.S. special forces listen in on enemy chatter, intercepting dozens of their radio channels. American AC-130 gunships and F-16 fighter jets whir in circles overhead, at low altitude, waiting for strike orders. Soldiers on the ground man the mortars.
  • Reuters- As U.S. weighs Afghan strategy, hopes set on fledgling Air Force
    As the U.S. administration prepares its new strategy for Afghanistan, the Kabul government and its Western allies are working hard to develop an air force that gives government forces the advantage in their war against Taliban militants. The level of equipment, training and assets falls far short of matching the air assets the Americans still maintain in Afghanistan, but billions of dollars are earmarked for the force which is being built up almost from scratch.
  • Pajhwok- NATO says probing airstrike that hits Nangarhar funeral
    Several people were killed and wounded when a drone strike hit a funeral ceremony in Haska Mina district of eastern Nangarhar province on Sunday, an official said. District administrative chief, Sazoli Shinwari, told Pajhwok Afghan News the incident took place in Mariz Kandaw area of the district around 3pm today.
  • rferl- At Least 70 Afghan Villagers Kidnapped By Suspected Taliban Fighters, Seven Killed
    At least 70 Afghans have been abducted by Taliban extremists in a series attacks in southern Kandahar Province, the provincial police and governor’s office say. Abdul Raziq, head of Kandahar provincial police, on July 22 said the attackers kidnapped the villagers from homes along the main highway in the province, later killing at least seven of them.
  • KP- Home » Afghanistan » Taliban’s logistics chief operating between Afghanistan and Iran has been killed Taliban’s logistics chief operating between Afghanistan and Iran has been killed
    An important commander of the Taliban group has been killed during an operation in western Herat province of Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) informed regarding the killing of the Taliban group, stating that Mullah Abbas was the logistics chief of the group in the region.

British military casualties - Editorial policy

In the service of our country.

Eulogies for all personnel killed on UK operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are posted as soon as they have been released by the UK Ministry of Defence. Each eulogy we publish for men down in operations brings a lump to the throat. We are losing the best of the best. Politicians must ensure that, when the newspaper cuttings have faded, their sacrifice has had some meaning, has helped bring about a good result. Anything else would be a waste for which they will be eternally condemned.

There is invariably at least a 24 hour gap between the official release of news of an event and the naming of the dead. This is to allow families to be informed and proper eulogoies to be produced. Occasionally families request no euologies or comment. We abide by guidance we receive on such sensitive matters. We regret that information on those who sacrifice almost as much through grave injury is seldom released by the MoD for operational reasons, and so we are unable to pay tribute.

 

Cookies
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.