Major Matthew James Collins and Lance Sergeant Mark Terence Burgan killed in Afghanistan
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Major Matthew James Collins and Lance Sergeant Mark Terence Burgan, both from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 23 March 2011.
Both soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device after returning from an operation in support of an Afghan National Army Company, alongside C Company of the Danish Battle Group, to disrupt insurgent activity and search compounds of interest in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
Major Matthew James Collins
Major Collins, aged 38 came from Backwell in Somerset. He commissioned into the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in August 1996, and travelled all over the world with the Battalion, serving operationally in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on exercise in Belize, Kenya, Oman and the Falkland Islands.
Major Collins was the Company Commander of Number 3 Company and deployed on Operation HERRICK 13 as the Commander of the Advisory Team to the 3rd Kandak of the UK’s partnered Afghan Brigade. In this role, through his professional excellence, natural intelligence and force of personality, he has made a significant improvement to the operational capability of the Afghan soldiers and officers he advised.
Major Collins was passionate about his family. He spoke often of his wife, Lucy, his daughter, Freya, and his son, Charlie. He also leaves behind his father, Derek, mother Tricia, and brothers, Mark, Nick and Chris. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
The family of Major Collins have made the following statement:
“Not only a soldier but a caring husband, devoted father to Freya and Charlie, caring son, wonderful brother and friend to many. We will all miss him and remember him always.”
Lance Sergeant Mark Terence Burgan
Lance Sergeant Burgan (28) came from Liverpool, and joined the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in 1999. He served on Operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He rose to the rank of Lance Sergeant, joined the Battalion Signals Platoon, becoming a Signals Detachment Commander – a job at which he was hugely capable.
However, his skills stretched far beyond this. He was an extremely talented junior commander, professional in every way; this, coupled with his consummate loyalty to his friends and family made him a man his subordinates strove to emulate. A man who genuinely loved his job, he saw the Signals Platoon as being one big family, and one of which he was a key part.
Lance Sergeant Burgan was a strong family man to his core. He leaves behind his wife, Leanne, as well as his parents, Terry and Rita, and sisters, Laura, Kate and Jayne, and we offer our deepest condolences.
Mrs Leanne Burgan, the wife of Lance Sergeant Burgan, has made the following statement:
“I am so honoured to be Mark’s wife. I will always love my hero. Mark was an extremely proud Irish Guardsman, dad, husband, brother and son. He will forever be in our hearts.”
To read the full Eulogies for Major Matthew James Collins and Lance Sergeant Mark Terence Burgan click HERE.