It’s a strange one, I never thought I’d be in the position where I had to defend myself over my own apparent death.
I noticed some strange searches hitting the blog just over 24 hours ago in the style of “gavin elliott dead” and “gavin elliott killed” which started raising some alarm bells. Our family name is quite strong and there are plenty ‘Elliott’s’ to go around but matching both my first and last name is not something that happens frequently.
I ran my own couple of searches which led to newspaper articles that were possibly pre-published then taken down, and further investigation in the last few hours has shown why it’s been happening.
Unfortunately/Tragically, Private Gavin Elliott of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan after being shot on Thursday 3rd September.
It is very close to home, just over 3 years ago I was serving in the British Army, in the Royal Engineers. A few friends from home have been killed and some soldiers I knew of have also lost their lives. To have someone die in a war with the same name as you is eerie to say the least and I feel for his family and friends.
This, very short blog post, is a quick note to say that it is not actually me who passed away and a very big tribute to Gavin Elliott of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment for doing something he believed in whether it was protecting the Afghan people or serving with his mates.
Doug Beattie was born in Northern Ireland and joined the British Army at 16. A boy soldier who at 15 had accidentally shot his best friend in the head. His friend survived however Doug needed to get out of Northern Ireland. Following in family foot steps Doug joined the Royal Irish Regiment and throughout training was subjected to intense bullying. Quickly recognised for his soldiering skills Doug was promoted through the ranks to Regimental Sergeant Major and then commissioned. As a Captain in the Royal Irish Regiment he was sent to Garmsir, Afghanistan as part of a Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT).
Doug was part of a small contingent of British Forces sent to to recapture Garmsir with the help of member of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP), whilst this was supposed to be a 48hr operation it ended up over a week long with British and Afghan casualties. They were up against a determined enemy with a small amount of forces, Doug leading from the front came close to losing his own life on numerous occasions. JTAC Sam New and Doug fighting from the front on regular occasions bringing in fast air strikes within 60 metres of their own position, well within the safety guidelines.
The silence was broken by a burst of fire from the first building on the left, which was still only just emerging into view. The earth in front of the Danish sergeant erupted into little fountains of dust. Then more bullets came my way, zipping and fizzing through the air, scything through the crops. Instinctively I ducked even lower and pulled my trigger, spewing ammunition towards our attacks.
Doug Beattie, MC – “An Ordinary Soldier”
Doug left Garmsir on R&R and only took 48hrs to get back to his wife and family in the U.K. No one at home could imagine the ferocious fighting he had been through after all he had stabbed an enemy fighter through the throat with his bayonet, fired on and slotted a number of enemy as well as bringing 500lb + bombs down on groups of fighters dismembering bodies.
He saw through his own two eyes like so many other soldiers around the world. He was invited to go back to Afghanistan even though he was determined to leave the Army however he had to do something first. He had to write about his experiences to help him deal with what had happened, he had to write “An Ordinary Soldier”.
He pulls no punches and doesn’t look for forgiveness for what he made decisions to do, he has enough time answering the questions he asks himself. It’s a terrific read and constantly keeps you engaged throughout the entirety of the book.