British Soldier Killed in Estonia

by | Jul 8, 2020

British Army Announces Op CABRIT Fatality

The British Army has announced the death of Sam Brownridge, 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Fusilier Sam Brownridge, aged 23, died of a non-battle injury while deployed on Operation Cabrit in Estonia on Sunday, 5 July 2020.

The Army mourns the loss of a well-regarded and capable soldier.

Fusilier Sam Brownridge was born and brought up Cannock, Staffordshire. He joined the Army in January 2017 and completed his initial training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick before being posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in August that year. He moved from Z Company to the Battalion’s Mortar Platoon in January 2019, serving with them until his tragic death on 5 July 2020.

Fusilier Brownridge found a natural home in the Mortar Platoon; he demonstrated real skill for the practical aspects of mortaring, as well as great enthusiasm for his new role and a keen desire to learn. Although softly spoken, Fusilier Brownridge had a warm and dry sense of humour; he was a genuinely selfless comrade who would make time for anyone and could always be relied upon to raise a smile, even during the most challenging conditions.

Following his training cadre, Fusilier Brownridge deployed on exercise to Canada as the Number One in his Mortar Detachment, a position usually held by the more senior rank of Lance Corporal. His performance in Canada illustrated Fusilier Brownridge’s commitment to his profession and to his mates: he gave everything to them both.

In preparation for deployment to Estonia, Fusilier Brownridge completed the Bulldog Armoured Fighting Vehicle Driver’s Course which qualified him to operate and maintain the Mortar Platoon’s main platform. A petrol-head to his core, Fusilier Brownridge embraced his new responsibilities and applied himself thoroughly on the course. Fusilier Brownridge also took the opportunity to develop himself during the tour, learning Spanish, working hard on his personal fitness and preparing to compete for the Army Enduro Motorcycle Racing Team.

The tragic loss of Fusilier Brownridge is felt by all ranks and by the wider Fusilier family.  Fusilier Brownridge’s closest friends in Mortar Platoon were those who knew him best in the Battalion; he will be remembered as good humoured, generous, warm, devoted to his friends and family.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, particularly his cherished daughter Marcè.  Fusilier Brownridge will be sorely missed, but he will always be remembered.

Once a Fusilier always a Fusilier.

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Head, Commanding Officer, First Fusiliers Battlegroup, said:

“Fusilier Brownridge was everything we want in a young infantry soldier. Fun loving and fiercely loyal to his mates, hardworking, determined and professional in everything he did, and always up for a new challenge, he was a Fusilier through and through. Throughout the Infantry, Mortarmen are well known as unfailingly tough soldiers, who work hard and play hard, relishing the tight knit community the Mortar Platoon offers. Fusilier Brownridge was the epitome of a Mortarman and wore his qualification badge with great pride. I am proud to have served with Fusilier Brownridge. He will be missed terribly, and this tragedy has shaken the First Fusiliers family to its core. At this most difficult time, my heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers are with Fusilier Brownridge, his family, friends and fellow soldiers. Once a Fusilier always a Fusilier.”

The epitome of what it means to be a Mortarman.

Captain Dave Davies, Officer Commanding Mortar Platoon, said:

“Fusilier Sam Brownridge was the epitome of what it means to be a Mortarman. He was a solid pair of hands that took pride in learning and getting to grips with a highly specialised and unique skillset. He had been a member of the Platoon for almost 2 years and was part of the foundations on which the Platoon currently stands. He was a truly well-liked Fusilier, who brought laughs wherever he went. As a father, he often spoke of his daughter, Marcè, and she was the centre around which he conducted himself daily. He endeavoured to be the best father that he could. I believe that he had truly found his home within Mortar Platoon and leaves behind positive memories with all who he served with.”

Fusilier Ben Cribb, Mortarman, said:

“Sam was the mate who was always there when I needed him and always had the right answer for any problems I had. He loved to talk about cars, Land Rovers and a home he hoped to buy in Wolverhampton. I’d spent almost every day with him on the tour. He was a good soldier, a mortarmen who always strived to do his best at his profession.”

Some 900 British military personnel are currently deployed to Estonia on Operation CABRIT as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission.

The death of Fusilier Sam Brownridge is not the first fatality on Op CABRIT. In 2018 Private Reece Miller, 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (1 YORKS), also died as a result of a non-battle injury while serving in Estonia.

Further details of the fatality have not been released.

Source: British Army

Image: Sam Brownridge, The First Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Crown Copyright, nd).

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