British Para Killed Fighting ISIS
Sergeant Matt Tonroe Killed in Action Near Manbij, Syria
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Sergeant Matt Tonroe, 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (3 PARA), was tragically killed in action whilst on duty in the Middle East on the 29th March 2018.
Sergeant Tonroe is the first British soldier to be killed in active duty during operations against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, aka Daesh) as part of Operation SHADER. Sgt Tonroe, 33, served with the 3rd Battalion’s sniper platoon attached to US military forces in Syria. He was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) on Thursday.
Sergeant Tonroe was born in Manchester on the 14th of August 1984. He enlisted in the British Army on the 27th September 2004. On completion of his initial training he joined the 3rd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment in Colchester where he served as part of the Sniper Platoon. He rapidly developed an array of competencies and combat experiences that were to lay the foundations of an outstanding career.
Based at Merville Barracks, Colchester Garrison, 3 PARA is a battalion-sized formation within 16 Air Assault Brigade. Roled as an airborne light infantry unit, the battalion is capable of a wide range of operational taskings.
During his service, Sgt Tonroe deployed numerous times on operations to Afghanistan and the Middle East. His distinguished service reflected a man that was happiest when professionally tested on operations. He relished responsibility, the opportunity to contribute and when the time came, to lead. He was a natural in this role.
Sgt Tonroe was also a capable and respected parachutist. As a gifted instructor he was free with his time and his advice, and would dedicate himself to support and develop this skill in others.
He was well known within his unit, well-liked by all and he will be sorely missed. When talking of Sgt Tonroe, his colleagues recount his humour, mischief and endless endeavours. Laid back, but a consummate professional, Sgt Tonroewas utterly selfless and always strived to achieve excellence.
Sgt Tonroe was very much a family man, making every effort to see his beloved mum around numerous overseas deployments. He is survived by his mother Michelle, his brother Alex and girlfriend Olivia.
A Life Lived to Its Full
Sgt Tonroe’s Officer Commanding said:
If you had met Matt Tonroe, then you would have liked him. He bristled with the contentment of a life lived to its full. His bravery and talent as a soldier, was matched by his compassion as a human being. He was an individual, with the courage to set his own course, and the perspective to see new possibilities at every turn. He was destined for great things in our unit; his leadership was both natural and apparently effortless. He is already missed. Without Matt, our company has lost some of its humour; some of its warmth; and some of its sheer opportunism. We will always remember him.
Daring and Fearless in Duty
Sgt Tonroe’s Commanding Officer said:
Matt Tonroe was a deeply intelligent man and one of life’s characters. He was a caring and considerate soul, a loving and dutiful son, and a friend to many. Yet he had a steel core, served his country with pride and was a first class soldier, proven in combat, faced risk willingly and was ever ready for more. He thus died as he lived: daring and fearless in duty. We mourn his loss dearly, are proud to have known him and will honour him by continuing this fight.
Served His Country With Great Distinction
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Sergeant Matt Tonroe at this dreadful time. Sergeant Tonroe served his country with great distinction and it is clear from the tributes made by his colleagues that he was not only exceptionally dedicated and courageous but also a gifted and intelligent instructor who was respected by everyone he served with. Sergeant Tonroe fought to protect British values, our freedoms and to keep us back at home safe. His sacrifice, unflinching commitment and bravery will never be forgotten.
Image: Sgt Matt Tonroe, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, British Army (Crown Copyright, 2018).