Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Royal Marine, Corporal, 6 Troop, X-Ray Company
12/12/2008, Sangin, Afghanistan
Corporal Marc Birch, known as ‘Birchy’, was born in Northampton on 23 March 1982. After completing Royal Marines Commando Recruit Training in March 2000, he joined 42 Commando Royal Marines. He served at 42 Commando Royal Marines for seven years. During this time he gained considerable operational experience in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland and Iraq. In 2005 he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and subsequently served in the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines in April 2007 before moving on to 45 Commando Royal Marines in November 2007.
He was a keen footballer and when serving at 42 Commando he played for the unit team on a regular basis and was a crucial member of the team when they won the Navy and Tunney Cup in 2000. As testament to his sporting ability, he scored the only goal against the Sierra Leone National Team when 42 Commando played them in Freetown. This fact was also an integral part of his comedy routine.
Corporal Birch was an outstanding character, a good friend and an absolute pleasure to work alongside. He had a cheeky, quirky sense of humour and never failed to see the bright side of life; this combination made him incredibly popular. His gregarious nature was enhanced with the attributes of courage and loyalty. He exemplified all the qualities any Royal Marine Commando would aspire to have. He hoped to progress through the ranks and serve in all of the Commando Units.
Corporal Birch was killed in action on 12 December 2008 in Sangin, southern Helmand, on operations with X-Ray Company, 45 Commando Group, Royal Marines. The company was conducting an operation alongside Afghan National Army troops to dominate areas posing a dangerous threat to British forces and the local Afghan population. Whilst acting as Second-in-Command of the Quick Reaction Force in support of a company operation, Corporal Birch was killed by a suspected enemy suicide bomber. Despite the efforts of all those around him, Corporal Birch tragically died from his injuries at the scene of the incident.
Corporal Birch’s family paid the following tributes:
“So very, very proud of such a wonderful son. We are so proud of everything you have achieved in your short lifetime. Our hearts are broken and we will miss your infectious smile and your unbelievable wit forever. Goodnight, God Bless Marc, we will all miss you terribly son. Love Mum and Dad xxxx.”
“When Marc first came into our house to take Charlene out for the first time it was like somebody had put the light on. He had a fantastic charm about him along with that cheeky smile. Marc has been a salvation for my little girl since her mum has past away. They bonded together right from the first day they met and it was quite evident that they were right for each other.
“There was partnership, friendship and commitment to each other which was second-to-none. Whenever Marc came home from leave we always had a good banter together, mostly about my height. His love to Charlene, his family and the Marines was his life, he lived life to the full. Marc’s attitude to life was to get on with it and do his best whatever was put in front of him. This attitude got him a lot of respect from his comrades in his troop and also the lads he trained.
“Marc has left a big void in our lives and he will be dearly missed by his wife, family and friends. Love Phil, proud father-in-law x.”
“My boy, my heart, how will I ever survive without you in my life? I miss you with every heartbeat, my life will never be the same again, I love you beyond any words darling, the impact you have had will stay forever with everyone you ever came into contact with.
“I brought you into this world and now all too soon I have to let you go. There is no-one prouder in all this world, thank you for being my baby boy, Mum x.”