Rifleman Paul Donnachie, who died on 29 April, 2007, aged 18, was a keen and committed member of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles.Despite being in service for less than a year, Rifleman Donnachie was a very mature and enthusiastic soldier who had already volunteered to go to Afghanistan after his Iraq tour.He will be remembered for his loyalty to The Rifles, giving his life to save those of his friends and colleagues.RiflemanD onnachie was born in Reading and known affectionately as 'Donny' to his friends.He joined the Army in 2006 as a Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry recruit and was sent to Iraq in December of that year.Rifleman Donnachie was an intellectual and studious soldier, whose capacity to absorb everything he was taught earned him the nickname 'Potter'.His coolness and quick mind made him an accomplished poker player, challenging his fellow rifleman to games in the time between patrols.On 29 April, 2007, Rifleman Donnachie was providing vital ground observation for his patrol's stationary vehicles during an escorting patrol for a police training team in the Al Ashar district of Basra City.At 9.30am local time, Rifleman Donnachie had dismounted to check part of the patrol's route when small arms fire from an opportunist gunman left him severely injured.Rifleman Donnachie was immediately evacuated to Basra Palace, where he died of his injuries.Rifleman Donnachie leaves behind his parents, Anne and James, and older sister Kelly. The family made this statement: "Paul you were a wonderful son and brother, a credit to all of us. You always strived for what you wanted and what you wanted was to be part of the British Army."You have always made us very proud and you will never be forgotten. We love you and miss you so much. Take care my little sweetheart, love mum, dad and Kelly."Company Commander Major Alex Baring hailed Rifleman Donnachie as "the epitome of what it is to be professional. He was one of those rare sorts that never complained whatever he was told to do; in fact he used to volunteer to go out on patrols. Rifleman Donnachie was no average Rifleman; brimming with confidence and a cheeky sense of humour."It was almost impossible to ever get frustrated with him; he just delivered the goods on time, every time and with a smile. He loved the Army, he loved the Rifles, and he died protecting those around him. His loss is tragic and he will be sorely missed by those who had the privilege of working with him. He really was the Best of British."His section commander Corporal Farrell remembers Rifleman Donnachie fondly: "He'd do anything for anyone, and there's not much more I could really ask of a Rifleman. He was really coming out his shell, getting a bit cheeky, but he was the sort that would always get away with it, because he was so good at his job. I'll never forget what he did and that he died covering us on the ground."Lieutenant Colonel Justin Maciejewski MBE, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, said: "We are grieving the loss of a superb soldier who wanted to make a difference, and put himself in harms way to make Basrah a better place for Iraqis. He loved his work and took great pride in it. We are so very proud of him and honoured to count him as one of our comrades. None of us here will ever forget him."
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Published from: April 29, 2007.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning I will remember you