Lance Corporal Paul Watkins killed in Afghanistan
It is with regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal Paul Watkins, from 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s), was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday 16 July 2011.
On the morning of 16 July 2011, Lance Corporal Watkins deployed with his Advisory Team and a section from their partner Afghan National Army company to an area west of Gereshk in central Helmand province. The Advisory Team was conducting a routine patrol with their Afghan counterparts.
Lance Corporal Watkins was in a fire support position, providing overwatch for the foot patrol from his Jackal vehicle. As the second-in-command of his patrol team, he was providing both fire support and a command and communications link to his higher headquarters.
The foot patrol was nearing the end of its route and returning to Lance Corporal Watkins’ location when it came under contact from enemy small arms fire. It was during this small arms engagement that Lance Corporal Watkins was fatally wounded.
Lance Corporal Watkins served with C Squadron, 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s). He deployed to Afghanistan in early March as part of the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) Brigade Advisory Group.
Lance Corporal Watkins was from Port Elizabeth in the Republic of South Africa, and was born on 11 April 1987. He joined the Army in September 2007 as a Foreign and Commonwealth soldier and attended basic training at the Army Training Regiment in Winchester before joining the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s). A determined and intelligent soldier, he completed his special-to-arm training at Bovington, the home of the Royal Armoured Corps, before joining his new regiment in Hohne, Germany.
During his four years of service, Lance Corporal Watkins served on Operation TELIC 12, as part of a mentoring and training team to the Iraqi airborne forces in Az Zubayr. In September 2010, he completed his Junior Command Course on which he performed to an excellent standard.
He will be sorely missed by his regiment. He leaves behind his mother Jill, father Rod, and brothers Luke and Simon.
The family of Lance Corporal Watkins have made the following statement:
“Paul wanted to join the Army from a very young age. He was proud to be a soldier and was proud of what he was doing; he died doing a job that he loved. He was such a loving and caring son, grandson and brother. He will be very sadly missed by his family and friends who loved him dearly.”
Lieutenant Colonel William Fooks, Commanding Officer of 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s), said:
“Lance Corporal Paul Watkins was absolutely someone you’d want on your team and by your side; tough, hugely dependable and determined, yet compassionate. When all around him was frenzied activity Lance Corporal Watkins would be serenely and reassuringly calm. And combined with his arid sense of humour and his disarming grin, a big problem very quickly became no problem at all.”
To read the full eulogy for Lance Corporal Paul Watkins click here or the images above.