Regimental Sergeant-Major Darren Chant

WO1 Daz Chant, aged 40, was killed by a rogue member of the Afghan National Police while relaxing off duty with several other soldiers at a Checkpoint on 3 Nov 2009 in Nad e-Ali, Helmund. Five soldiers were killed (3 Grenadiers and 2 MPs) and 8 more badly injured. It was a cowardly attack on men who were temporarily unarmed and unprotected and it is unclear whether the attacker escaped or was later killed. RSM Chant was born in Walthamstow on 5 Sep 1969 and lived in Camberley. His wife Sheenie was pregnant at the time, and he had three children from his first marriage. Two years previously he had braved heavy fire to carry a wounded comrade to safety.

University undergraduate, Alexander Shirreff, son of Lt Gen Richard Shirreff CBE, remembers WO1 Chant when he was attached to the Grenadiers this summer: "I never met WO1 Chant personally, but he walked past me inspecting our company with the CO one morning during a long tactical patrol. My section commander whispered back to me that this was the big dog, but there was no need to point it out. He looked like a formidable man who, like Hector going into battle, marched past proudly with his head held high and with an obvious glint and satisfaction in his eyes that indicated that he could not be happier than out in the damp cold of an early morning inspecting his boys.

"The only other time I came across him was at the very end of the exercise. Everyone was busily and excitedly chatting and intermingling with their mates in other Companies who they had not seen for a while. Personal kit was thrown about chaotically and there was a great end of job atmosphere. WO1 Chant's voice suddenly cut sharply through this mood like a knife. Within seconds, platoons and companies alike were in perfect order and every Gren was sitting to attention like their life depended on it. He had the same satisfied look on his face as he stood in front of his men and briefly addressed them before introducing the CO. He laconically, but inspiringly mentioned something about the tour and taking the fight to the enemy. Indeed the real tragedy is that he did not die doing just that; leading his boys and proudly taking the initiative to crush the enemy - a death he deserved. It is, unfortunately, a tragic end for all five of them. My only hope is that they will get the chance to get on the front foot and do what they do best in hunting down those responsible. This event will certainly have roused the whole battalion and good luck indeed to the Taliban in facing the Grens with their blood up."

Darren Chant completed his basic training at the Guards Depot, Pirbright, in 1986 and was deployed to South Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1993. After an attachment to the Pathfinders Platoon from 1997-1999, he returned to the 1st Battalion before being posted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) as a Colour Sergeant instructor until 2003. At Sandhurst WO1 Chant quickly made a name for himself with his straight talking, no nonsense approach to training and soldiering. After two years at Sandhurst, WO1 Chant rejoined the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. As the Company Sergeant Major of the Inkerman Company he deployed to Bosnia from September 2004-June 2005 as part of the NATO and latterly European Union's peace keeping operation. On return from Bosnia he was posted back to RMAS as a Company Sergeant Major from August 2005 until December 2006 where he met his future wife. After a year at RMAS he returned to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, firstly as a Liaison Officer for the Battalion while deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 6 in 2007.

On return to the UK he took post as Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (Technical). In the summer of 2008 he was appointed Sergeant Major and moved the 1st Battalion to London and on to Pre Deployment Training. In September 2009 he deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 11 as The Sergeant Major 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. WO1 Chant was the senior Warrant Officer within the Battalion. In this position he was a natural figurehead for all Grenadiers and was unflinching in his pursuit of the highest possible standards.

The day before WO1 Chant was killed it was announced that he had been awarded a Commission in the Grenadiers as an Officer. It is a tragedy that he was due to be informed of his success on the day he was killed. WO1 Chant leaves behind his beloved wife Nausheen 'Sheenie'. He also has three children from a previous marriage, Connor, Victoria and Adam. Major Mark 'Vince' Gaunt OBE, Quartermaster, First Battalion Grenadier Guards, said: "He was a big bear of a man and his presence was what anyone would expect from a Regimental Sergeant Major, a larger than life character who would always have an opinion and would tell you whether you wanted to hear it or not. "No one could ever escape his eye if you were in his gaze it was either going to be painful or painfully funny, never in between. "He had an infectious sense of humour that would make his mates roll with laughter and they in turn would tease him that all of his impressions sounded the same, he, with colourful language would always disagree."

Regimental details | Soldiers


Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames | British Empire on Ebay

by Stephen Luscombe