Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England, UKArmy, GM, 1st Btn The Grenadier Guards11/3/2009, Afghanistan, Nad e-Ali district
Guardsman James Major was born in Grimsby on 12 November 1990. On 16 November 2008 he completed his training at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick. His first posting was to Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, for a period of five months. With Nijmegen Company he conducted numerous state ceremonial and public duty engagements.
In April 2009 Guardsman Major was posted to the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and joined them in their pre-deployment training. Six months after arriving in the battalion, Guardsman Major deployed to southern Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 11.
Guardsman Major, known as Jimmy to his family, friends and colleagues, was employed as a top cover gunner within the Commanding Officer’s Tactical (TAC) Group.
Guardsman Major had only recently joined the TAC Group and was in the early stages of getting to know his new team. The TAC Group had been tasked with mentoring a number of members of the Afghan National Police (ANP) at a local checkpoint.
The Grenadier Guards Battle Group had identified the need for increased mentoring of the ANP within its area of operations. Guardsman Major was part of a 16-man team who were sent to a police checkpoint approximately one-and-a-half kilometres from the main Battle Group location.
The checkpoint was of vital importance as it was on the main road into the bazaar of Nad e-Ali where the Battle Group Forward Operating Base is located. This provided protection not only to the base but to the local inhabitants of the village itself.
Despite his short time spent with the TAC Group, Guardsman Major had already made a strong impression. His character and humour had begun to shine through his naturally quiet demeanour. It is clear that this was a tragic and abrupt end to such a short career.
Guardsman Major was tragically killed as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in an attack at a police checkpoint in the Nad e-Ali district of Helmand province on Tuesday 3 November 2009.
Guardsman Major leaves behind his mother Kim, father Adrian, brothers Lewis and Daniel, sister Paige, and grandparents Harry and Pat Gilliatt and June and Fred Major.
Guardsman Major’s family said:
“Jimmy was a tremendous son. He was proud to be a soldier and died doing a job he loved. We are devastated by the loss of Jimmy. He was a loving son, brother and grandson and a dear friend to everyone. We are proud of the fact that Jimmy was prepared to do his duty, helping the people of Afghanistan.”
Jimmy father had the portrait that Michael drew of his son tatooed on his back (see embedded photo)