Catterick, England, UK
Corporal, Royal Army Medical Corps
5/4/2007, Basra, Iraq
Corporal Kris O’Neill, aged 27, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, was a committed soldier who had worked hard to recover from a knee injury in order to deploy to Iraq. From Catterick, he arrived in Iraq in January 2007 to serve with the Close Support Medical Squadron which is part of the UK Medical Group based at the Contingency Operating Base, Basra.
An experienced and confident medic, with an unflappable nature, Cpl O’Neill was a trusted member of the squadron who could be relied upon to always strive to deliver his best. Even when officially off-duty he would make sure that his soldiers had everything they needed, and as such he would often work long hours behind the scenes to ensure this.
As a future senior NCO Cpl O’Neill made great efforts to mentor those who were junior to him, taking time to teach and develop their skills, whilst also ensuring their welfare needs were always met. A committed family man with two small boys, those who knew him were always struck by his kind and gentle nature.
Corporal O’Neill had recently been tasked with teaching First Aid to the Iraqi Police Service. This was something that he readily threw himself into and gained a great deal of satisfaction from. He was the sort of man who valued helping others and enjoyed his role as a military medic, greatly.
His friend and colleague Cpl Martin Blaker-Hood said: “Kris was pleasant, hard working and very well respected. He loved his family and was a really good bloke. His death is a big loss.”
Another friend Corporal Dennis Read added: “Kris was an extremely well liked individual in and out of work. His commitment to his job, the soldiers and the equipment he was responsible for, was second to none. Each day working alongside him was a pleasure and a privilege.”
His Squadron Commander, Major Phil Carter RAMC, said: “I could always depend on Cpl O’Neill. Whatever he was doing he would give it 110% and make sure it was right. He was dedicated to ensuring that the soldiers we support receive the best possible medical care and his death is a tragedy.”
Cpl O’Neill’s Commanding Officer, Lt Col Martin Toney, said: “Cpl O’Neill was a reflective and utterly dependable soldier who used his maturity and common sense to great effect, becoming the squadron’s “safe pair of hands”. He would turn his hand to all sorts of things, including helping to rebuild Iraq by training the police service, and was a key player in the unit. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, especially his wife and children, at this hugely difficult time.”