Ipswich, England, UK
Army, SSGT, Intelligence Corps
11/12/2006, Iraq, Basra
A week ago Ted Elliott opened up a surprise parcel to find a pair of silk-lined gloves, an early Christmas present posted by his daughter as she set off for Iraq. It was typical of Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, 34, her family said yesterday after learning of her death on Sunday in Iraq, to be so thoughtful. She had noticed that Parkinson’s disease had left her father’s hand permanently frozen and in the flurry of pre-deployment had remembered to send the present.
“She was just such a lovely girl, so sensible and kind. We were just waiting to find out her new address so we could send something to her,” Mr Elliott’s wife said yesterday.
“Ted is utterly heartbroken. It was his only daughter. You just don’t expect them to go before you.”
Before deploying to Iraq, Sgt Elliott had been caring for a close friend suffering from cancer. Her letters home from Basra were full of concern about her father.
Her mother, Elsie Manning, said at her home in South Shields: “Sharron was the most beautiful, caring person in the world. She was very strong-minded and very compassionate. ”She had lots of friends and used to look after one of them who had cancer so that her husband could have a break – that is the sort of person she was. She loved cooking and used to take over the kitchen when she came home, whipping up all kinds of exotic dishes for us all to try. She was very close to her four stepbrothers and was ‘best man’ at her stepbrother David’s wedding. She was delighted to become an auntie again last year to her little nephew Bradley.
“Sharron deployed to Iraq just over a week ago. Her life was the Army and she had served all over the world. It is of some comfort to the family that she died doing what she loved.
“We all loved her so much – she has left such a big hole in our lives. She was the most fantastic person, she was just amazing and touched the hearts of everyone she met. We can never replace her.”
The Army had been Sharron’s life from the moment she was born and grew up in the small Suffolk town of Hadleigh. Her father had served in the forces, two of her elder stepbrothers went on to do so, and so did cousins and other relatives. Ted Elliott was fiercely proud of his girl taking up the mantle.
Neighbours remember a beautifully behaved child growing up among the small group of simple redbrick homes surrounding a green, where she played with her stepbrothers Michael, Gary and David.
Her commanding officer in Iraq, Lt Col Andrew Park, said she was “never afraid to challenge the status quo, she would always give her opinion. Dedicated and professional, Staff Sergeant Elliott was an inspiration to all she worked with.”