Guardsman Jamie James

Guardsman Janes was killed as a result of an explosion that happened whilst on a foot patrol near to Nad e-Ali district centre in central Helmand province on Monday 5 Oct 2009. He was mortally wounded by an improvised explosive device, which also wounded three of his colleagues. The explosion was followed up by an insurgent ambush which the patrol then had to fight off before evacuating the wounded soldiers. Unfortunately Guardsman Janes died en route to hospital.

Jamie was a Guardsman in 6 Platoon, 2 Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. Born on 16 May 1989 in Stafford, his family moved to Brighton when he was two. He attended Hove Park Comprehensive School and began his Army career at Harrogate Foundation College when he was 16, before moving to the Infantry Training Centre Catterick. Guardsman Janes joined Nijmegen Company in Woolwich aged 17 where he carried out numerous state ceremonial and public duties. In 2007, on turning 18, he was posted to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who were in Afghanistan. He spent four months on operations before returning to England. Between tours he served in the Falkland Islands and also conducted training exercises in Kenya with the battalion.

Lieutenant Alexander Rawlins, his Platoon Commander, said:
"I worked with Jamie since joining the battalion in late 2007. He was an enthusiastic, passionate man who took both his job and his friends very seriously. Never afraid to speak his mind, he was painfully honest and always had something to say. Professionally and socially, he was an integral part of 6 Platoon, good at his job and was always up for a laugh. He would speak often of his girlfriend, Kate, whom he loved very much and with whom he was hoping to start a family. He died as a result of wounds he received whilst on patrol, clearing safe passage for his comrades. He will be sorely missed by the platoon and all who knew him."

Lance Sergeant Arron Harris, his Section Commander, said:
"I met Jamie in Wellington Barracks shortly before we deployed. I was aware of his previous operational experience and he very quickly proved his worth during the final stages of our training. Jamie was a person I relied on heavily. His position in my section meant he created a safe passage for me and the rest of the lads whenever we went out on patrol. He was totally professional in everything he did and was a role model to the other lads who didn't share the same operational experience. As a Section Commander I know I will struggle to find somebody as capable and reliable as Jamie. As a friend and comrade, although I didn't know him for long, I know the atmosphere won't be the same without him. He will truly be missed."
Guardsman Stephen Loader, a close friend, said:
"I met Jamie when I had just got to the battalion just after Op HERRICK 6 and, being the new boy in town, it was hard to try and fit in, being one of the only people who had not gone on the tour at the time. Jamie made me feel appreciated and was always there for me when things weren't looking good; he was a unique person who really knew how to treat his friends with respect and joy. He was a good friend and will always be with all of us; I wish the best for his family and girlfriend, Kate. It is a terrible tragedy."

At Jamie's funeral his mum Jacqueline, girlfriend Kate Woolley, three brothers (one of whom is serving in the British Army) and two sisters were joined by hundreds of mourners at St Philip's Church in Hove, East Sussex. Rev Peter Hewlett-Smith, chaplain to the Grenadier Guards, told them Jamie showed "selfless commitment, physical and moral courage". His coffin, wrapped in the Union flag, was carried from the church by his comrades. Jamie, one of six children, was buried at Hove cemetery.

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by Stephen Luscombe