Bromyard in Herefordshire, England, UK
Army, Rifleman, 2nd Battalion The Rifles
7/10/2009, FOB Wishtan in Sangin, Afghanistan
Rifleman William Aldridge came from Bromyard in Herefordshire. He attended Minster College in Leominster and was keen on Martial Arts.
Rifleman Aldridge joined C Company 2 RIFLES in Ballykinler, Northern Ireland, in December 2008 at seventeen years of age, after attending The Army Foundation College at Harrogate and completing his Infantry Training in Catterick. Rifleman Aldridge completed pre-deployment training for Afghanistan with his Platoon but was unable to deploy on tour until he turned 18 on 23 May 2009. Rifleman Aldridge played a key role with the Battalion’s Rear Party in Ballykinler, guarding the families of those already in Afghanistan until he was old enough to deploy himself. Rifleman Aldridge was fiercely proud of being one of the very youngest British soldiers in Helmand.
Rifleman Aldridge was tragically killed by an IED blast in Sangin on 10 July 2009 whilst helping to extract casualties from a previous explosion in which he too had been injured.
He leaves behind his mother, Lucy, and two young brothers, George and Archie.
Rifleman Aldridge’s Family made the following statement:
“The family can’t pay William or his comrades who died with him a big enough tribute. He achieved his dreams by becoming a Rifleman and was very aware of the sacrifice he may have to make. He will leave a huge void in our lives and always remain the perfect son.”
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson MBE, Commanding Officer 2 RIFLES:
“Rifleman Aldridge arrived in the Battalion as we started our training for Afghanistan and it was clear from very early on that he was a natural field soldier who relished the challenge of preparing for the intensity and complexity of operations in Afghanistan. He has stood tall in Sangin – a selfless, capable, thinking Rifleman. He had been to the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, evidence itself of nascent talent and had got to grips with the myriad of skills needed for Afghanistan quicker than most.
“He was a big going concern and was already ear-marked for more responsibility. We will miss him dreadfully and our hearts go out to his beloved family.”
Major Alistair Field, Officer Commanding C Company 2 RIFLES:
“Although new to my company for the Afghanistan tour, Rifleman Aldridge had impressed me from the outset. Well-mannered, well turned out, and very much a thinking Rifleman. Such was his stature he reminded me of an old Platoon Serjeant friend of mine from 2RGJ. There is no doubt in my mind that Rifleman Aldridge could have gone all the way. We were injured together in the first explosion. We were both injured and in shock together but he comforted me with his patience and kind words. Sadly his life was snatched by another explosion on the way back to the FOB. Another new talent whose potential will tragically never be known.”
Lance Corporal Powell, Section Second-in-Command:
“Rifleman Aldridge was a keen soldier. He was an ambitious man and always with a smile on his face. He wanted to do his best at everything. He loved the Army and wanted to serve for a long time. I got to know him when we served together in a small patrol base for a month away from our normal FOB in Sangin. He always talked about his parents and the rest of his family. It will never be the same without him and he will always be in my mind. He was a gleaming bloke. He will never be forgotten – rest in peace.”