Bournemouth, England, UK
Royal Marine, Marine, UK Landing Force Command Support Group
11/12/2008, Garmsir District, Afghanistan
Marine Neil Dunstan, aged 32, successfully completed Royal Marine Commando training with 854 Troop in 2003 at the age of 27 – quite an achievement in itself! He joined J Company 42 Commando in Plymouth and, in recognition of his innate skills as a soldier, was selected to work in the unit’s Reconnaissance Troop.
He travelled the world, visiting the USA, Ghana, Egypt and Bavaria. He also worked in close defence of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent, serving with the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines. He developed a keen taste for mountaineering when working for the Mountain Leader & Reconnaissance Company. After a winter deployment to Norway and a number of mountaineering trips to Switzerland he succeeded in selection for the Brigade Patrol Troop where he fulfilled his goals of becoming a reconnaissance soldier and a trained military parachutist.
A confident soldier, he deployed to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick looking forward to proving himself on the battlefield; an aspiration which he rapidly and convincingly fulfilled. He had great ambition and huge potential; he passed the Royal Marines Mountain Leader selection course with flying colours and would have made an outstanding Mountain Leader.
With an honours degree in French and Tourism he was fluent in spoken French. Marine Dunstan came from a small loving family in Bournemouth where, until meeting his fiancée Kate, he lived with his mother and brother. He was due to be married to Kate in the summer of 2010. He also leaves behind his father and grandmother who, like all his family, have supported him throughout his life and career.
On Wednesday 12 November 2008, Marine Dunstan and fellow Marine Robert McKibben were taking part in a routine joint patrol with soldiers from the Afghan National Security Forces when their Jackal vehicle was struck by an explosive device. Sadly, despite the best efforts of medics, both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
Kate Miller, Neil’s fiancée, paid this tribute:
“Neil was so proud to be a Marine and lived each day to the full. He was my soul mate and the love of my life. Neil was very much loved by all the family.”
Neil’s family made the following statement:
“From Sue (Mum), Keith (Dad) and Andrew (Brother): Neil Dunstan BSc. Neil lived life to the full, he loved his time in the Marines. He had recently got engaged to Kate and they had bought a house together. He was a happy individual and a dutiful son, brother and partner. He was a keen supporter of Arsenal, even having the results sent to Afghanistan. He will be very much missed by his family and friends.”
Keith Dunstan, Neil’s Dad, said:
“Neil was a fine, upstanding, happy, healthy young man, with most of his life still to be enjoyed. He was a thinking soldier who always tried to do the right thing. Any man would be proud of a son like Neil and I consider myself privileged to be his father. He will be much loved and missed by all who knew him.”