Thursday, 30 March 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




Warrant Officer Class 2 (Company Sergeant Major) Colin Beckett deployed to Afghanistan on 15 October 2010 as Company Sergeant Major C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA).  He was based at Patrol Base FOLAD in the Nad-e Ali District of Helmand Province.

On the morning of 5 February 2011, he was deployed on an operation to interdict the movement of insurgents into Shaheed, a village on the Nahr-e-Bughra canal where C Company have been developing a protected community.  At 0834 Company Sergeant Major Beckett was fatally wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device which detonated as he was moving into position to cover his fellow patrol members.

Company Sergeant Major Beckett, known as 'Tom' in the Army, was born on 20 February 1974 in his home town of Peterborough.  He joined the Army in July 1990 and was posted to 3 PARA on completion of his training.  A strong performance on the Anti-Tank Cadre in 1993 saw him take the first steps down a specialisation in which he would become a master, leading Anti-Tank soldiers at nearly every rank.  Company Sergeant Major Beckett's outstanding command ability was recognised early and he moved up the ranks swiftly, excelling on Anti-Tank and rifle command courses as he went, all fitted around operational deployments to Northern Ireland and Kosovo.


It was as an Anti-Tank Section Commander that he deployed to Iraq during the first Operation  TELIC in 2003 but he had been promoted by the time he deployed as a Platoon Sergeant with C Company on Operation HERRICK 4, 3 PARA's first deployment to Helmand in 2006.  He was soon back in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 8, again at the forefront commanding his soldiers, this time as a Fire Support Group Second In Command during 3 PARA's tour as Regional Battle Group South.  After promotion to Warrant Officer Class 2 in 2009, Company Sergeant Major Beckett took over as Company Sergeant Major C Company in the vital lead-up to operations.  It was in this most challenging role that he deployed to Afghanistan in October 2010 as part of 3 PARA Battlegroup, Combined Force Nad-E-Ali (North).

An inspirational and iconic leader with a staggering amount of operational experience, Company Sergeant Major Beckett was known and respected across the Parachute Regiment.  In a career that spanned two decades, he spent only a handful of months away from the Battalion in which he was a central figure, one of the Non-Commissioned Officers that make up its unyielding core.  In C Company, his company, and within the Anti-Tank specialisation his contribution of over 20 years of service is the stuff of legend and he will be profoundly missed.

He leaves behind his parents Del and Kim and his wife Rachel who is expecting their first child mid-February 2011. Mrs Rachel Beckett, said:

"Anyone whoever met or knew Colin 'Tom' would have been touched by him in a big way and he will never be forgotten. He was a fantastic soldier, a great son, a good brother and friend and a truly special husband. My bestest friend, my soul mate, my absolute world. We love him and shall miss him so very much. May his love for life, strength, humour and strong character, live on forever in his baby girl Freya."

Lieutenant Colonel James Coates, Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Colin Beckett was one of the most talented Sergeant Majors of his generation.  With a long and distinguished career spanning countless deployments and three tours in Afghanistan, he represented the very essence of a Paratrooper; professional to the core, devoted to his men and hugely respected.

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett died following an explosion on 5 February 2011 during a patrol near the town of Shaheed in Nad-e Ali District, central Helmand.  Under his close mentorship, in the weeks preceding his death, C Company 3 PARA had secured a huge swathe of Nad-e Ali District in a series of bold and decisive operations which already hold a legendary place in 3 PARA's history.  More recently his Company had been operating from a patrol base in Shaheed, aiming to deliver improved security and development to the area in the face of a significant threat from insurgent activity.  On the morning of 5 February, characteristically, he was deployed on patrol with his soldiers, seeking to disrupt this threat, when tragedy struck.

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett will be remembered for many reasons. Those who worked with him saw a man with humility and a natural aptitude that set him apart.  He dealt superbly with his soldiers and was immensely popular with everyone he met.  His sense of humour was second to none; I will never forget how he captivated the entire Sergeants' Mess during the last Summer Ball.  He was a family man and a true gentleman.  But most of all, to us, he will be remembered as a fellow Paratrooper and trusted friend who unconditionally gave his all in life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Rachel, who is expecting their first child, and his wider family.  We pledge now to keep his memory alive through our continuing actions throughout this tour and beyond.  His legacy will be the example he set to us all and the
decisive role he played in bringing lasting security to 3 PARA's area of operations in Helmand.

"Utrinque Paratus."

Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major) Richard Hames, Regimental Sergeant Major, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Tom Beckett is 'The' Company Sergeant Major. He drove his company forward continually whilst deployed on the ground. He was the Dad to the young toms, Uncle to the young officers, a Brother to his Platoon Sargeants, best friend to the OC and an utterly professional Paratrooper who I will dearly miss. The commitment he gave to every one of his Paratroopers in the Company was second to none.  He oozed professionalism, gave sound advice, and was level headed in the heat of battle.

"Not only have I lost a friend but the Warrant Officers' & Sergeants' Mess of 3 PARA has lost a warm hearted and dynamic character who would always bring his great humour and an infectious smile to any Mess member ho was sitting lonely gazing into a beer.  The Battalion has lost an icon of a soldier; looked up to by so many, respected by his peers and the chain of command.  A CSM who always worked for his Paratroopers, he will be dearly missed by all.  A true Airborne brother.

"Tom, thoughts and prayers from all of 3 PARA are now with your wife Rachel, and your parents Del & Kim."

Major Ollie Kingsbury, Officer Commanding C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Tom Beckett died as he had spent the whole tour: watching my back, taking a fire position to prevent anything getting at the company HQ.

"I had only known him for about 2 years, but he was a great mate as well as my right hand man.  He kept my feet on the ground for some of our wilder plans, but he never let us rest on our laurels.  He was as bright as any soldier I have met, and he could adapt his natural warrior instincts to the subtler requirements of Afghanistan.  When something really needed doing, however, it was hard to stay in front of him.  He could have used his job to stay comfortably in camp, but on every company patrol he was the first to get his kit on.  He was a constant example of how to operate in some very uncomfortable situations.  In a fight in Helmand, or in the Mess he was the same: cheerful but level headed, full of banter but with a core of steel. His credibility as a soldier was second to none.

"He has left a gap in the Company that simply will not be filled, but our grief and loss can not come close to that of his family.  His wife is expecting their first baby in less than 2 weeks, when he was due to be on R&R.

"God bless you, Tom.  We'll have a pint for you."

Captain Ed Withey, Company Second in Command C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 'Tom' Beckett is a great example of what a truly professional Paratrooper should be; he was tough and dedicated, but also had a level of understanding and compassion towards his men that is rare to find.  As a Company Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett offered me invaluable support and advice along with a professional friendship that I look back on with fond memories.  Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett had a sense of humour that would brighten up even the most stressful of situations, never letting any event get the better of him.

"The loss of a Company Sergeant Major will always be hard for a Company, but I believe that the memories and legacy of such a fine individual will strengthen its resolve for the remaining months of the tour.  I know that Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett died doing exactly what he loved; leading by example and taking the fight to the enemy.  His actions have been an inspiration to the men who have worked alongside him over the past months.  His presence in C Company will be sorely missed."

Lieutenant Ben Neary, 7 Platoon Commander, C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Company Sergeant Major Beckett had the very best qualities of a Parachute Regiment soldier.  He was firm yet fair and passionate about looking after the Company.  His unique laugh could be heard a mile off. I will always be thankful for the all the advice he passed onto me.  His death will have a lasting impact on us all.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Lieutenant Ben Sebley, 8 Platoon Commander, C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett - a true Paratrooper. May you rest in peace."

Lieutenant James Higginson, 9 Platoon Commander, C Company, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Company Sergeant Major Beckett's death has been felt by everyone in C Company.  He was a huge character who knew and understood every one of the blokes.  I will remember him by his jokes and his comical evil laugh, and mostly by his generosity in the time he gave to the young officers.  He made up the fabric and spirit of C Company - his company - and he will be missed by all of us."

Warrant Officer (Class 2) Matt Lawson, Regimental Signals Warrant Officer 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"My friend Tom.  Tom was a pivotal member of the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess, his approach and manner in all aspects relating to his work was done with the utmost professionalism, and as such were well respected.  He was a man of considerable moral courage, never afraid to make an unpopular decision to get the job done.  I saw Tom as what I would call a "People Person", someone with whom you felt at ease talking to and able to confide in; always taking the time to listen regardless of the personal and professional issues he was experiencing at the time. Tom was the ultimate professional, a paratrooper, someone who, in truth, I looked up to in most respects.  His attitude and approach were unrelenting, an example to us all.

"Tom, God bless, I will never forget you. We are left with a void that will be difficult to fill; until we meet again mate.  Your friend."

Colour Sergeant Glenn Hobbs, Company Quartermaster Sergeant C Company 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Tom, over the past year you have taught me how to be a Company Sergeant Major.  It's been a true pleasure over all these years.  Your humour and manner will be missed by me greatly.  My thoughts are with your family.

"Rest in peace friend."

Colour Sergeant Michael Taylor, Anti-Tank Platoon, Fire Support Commander attached to C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment said:

"Company Sergeant Major Colin (Tom) Beckett - A career-long friend, we will miss you.

"Rest in peace Tom."

Corporal Rupert Reynolds, Joint Terminal Attack Controller attached to C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"Tom, from Platoon Sgt to Company Sergeant  Major, a good few years.  I never did get you back for hot spoonings.

"Rest in peace mate."

Private James Stark, 9 Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"A truly inspirational sergeant major, who certainly inspired me to be a good paratrooper.  Also good on 'The Bear'!"

The private soldiers of C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, said:

"He was everything a Company Sergeant Major should be: firm, fair, funny and professional every second he was awake.  He was as proud to be a paratrooper as anyone could be. He has respect from his men that will never be lost in the Parachute Regiment.

"He will always be with us."

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Latest from icasualties.org

  • AP- 6 fired from Afghanistan embassy for drugs
    Six people working at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, have been fired for using or possessing illegal drugs. A State Department official says the firings followed an investigation into allegations of misconduct. The official says those who were embassy employees have been fired and others who were contractors for the embassy have been removed from the contract.
  • KP- 3 ISIS militants killed in airstrike in East of Afghanistan
    At least three militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group offshoot operating in Afghanistan have been killed by the Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar province. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the ISIS loyalists were killed in the past 24 hours in the airstrikes conducted in the vicinity of Achin district.
  • Pajhwok- Intelligence agent’s murder: 2 suspects held in Kabul
    Two suspects were detained on Wednesday in connection with the killing of an intelligence officer in the Qarabagh district of Kabul, an official said. The district’s administrative head, Abdul Sami Sharifi, told Pajhwok Afghan News intelligence officer Murtaza gunned down by unknown gunmen near his house in Qaol village district on Tuesday.
  • iwpr- Afghanistan's Silent Killer
    In a dark, narrow hallway at the Herat breast cancer treatment centre, women with anxious faces wait for their diagnose. Nafas Gul (not her real name), a woman in her forties, said that she had been in pain for a long time but the cost of seeing a doctor meant that she had not sought medical advice. She also said that she had not realised that the problem might be cancer.
  • KP- 4 Taliban commanders among 22 killed in Lashkargah airstrikes
    At least four commanders of the Taliban group were killed in airstrikes conducted in Lashkargah city, the provincial capital of southern Helmand province. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the airstrike was carried out in the past 24 hours in the vicinity of Lashkargah city. MoD further added that six militants were also wounded in the airstrike and two vehicles along with 8 motorcycles and five hideouts of the militants were totally destroyed.
  • huffingtonpost- American University Of Afghanistan Is Reopening After A Devastating Attack
    It takes a rather extraordinary act of violence in Afghanistan for the news to break through to American audiences that have long moved on. The attack on the American University of Afghanistan last August, however, was one such act. Since its establishment in 2006, AUAF had turned into the beating heart of the young society in Kabul. Though it boasts few American students, it serves as a symbol for those who want to see a closer relationship between the United States and Afghanistan. As much as anything else, it was likely this symbolism that made it such an alluring target to attackers.
  • Newsweek- Military Recruits Elite Troops to Stop Taliban Attacks
    Afghanistan wants to double the number of its elite soldiers trained to block attacks from Taliban fighters and other militants. Defense officials said they would increase the number of elite special forces stationed throughout the nation to counter growing incidents of terrorism and violence, Reuters exclusively reported Thursday. The announcement came a week after Afghan forces in the Helmand province withdrew from the strategic area, effectively ceding the territory to the Taliban.
  • KP- 23 arrested in connection to deadly Kabul military hospital attack
    At least twenty three people have been arrested in connection to a deadly attack on main military hospital in Kabul, Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital. The Minister of Defense Abdullah Habibi informed regarding the arrest of the individuals as he was briefing the lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament.
  • KP- Taliban insurgent admits beheading of civilians after joining peace
    A Taliban insurgent who has joined peace process in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan has confessed that they have butchered innocent civilians. A group of eighteen Taliban insurgents have joined peace renouncing violence in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
  • KP- MoD confirms arrest of senior Afghan army general over corruption
    A senior Afghan Army General and the former commander of the 215th Maiwand Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces in the South has been arrested on charges of corruption. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) spokesman Dawlat Waziri confirmed that General Mohammad Moein Faqir has been arrested on charges of embezzlement of funds and misuse of the authority.

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.