Royal Engineers death in Helmand (21st September 2012)

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce the death of Captain James Anthony Townley from the Corps of Royal Engineers. He died in Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan from wounds sustained whilst serving at Forward Operating Base Shawqat on Friday 21st September 2012.

Captain James Townley was born on 22 September 1982 in Tunbridge Wells. He grew up near Glastonbury in Somerset, going to school in the local area. Having received a first-class degree in Engineering and Computer Science from University College Oxford, he worked as a tax associate for Price Waterhouse Coopers before attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2007.

He commissioned into the Corps of Royal Engineers in December 2007 and promoted to Lieutenant soon after completing his Royal Engineer Troop Commanders’ Course before serving in 28 Engineer Regiment, based in Hameln, Germany.

Captain Townley was an avid sportsman who enjoyed a wide variety of sports including skiing, mountain biking, kite surfing and sailing. Having rowed for his college at university, he later went on to represent the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and his regiment.

Captain Townley was attached to 21 Engineer Regiment from 28 Engineer Regiment for the duration of Operation Herrick 17. He deployed to Afghanistan on 5th September 2012 with 4 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 21 Engineer Regiment and was based in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand Province as the Battle Group Engineer supporting 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Upon arrival, he immediately immersed himself in operations that directly supported the transition to Afghan-led security, providing specialist advice on engineer tasks and capabilities. He had quickly established himself as a professional and charismatic officer.

In his time with 28 Engineer Regiment he shone as an intelligent, experienced and highly competent individual who had great plans for the future. With unrivalled commitment to his soldiers, he combined consummate professionalism and ability with a personable, humorous and approachable character. Extremely popular with his fellow officers, Captain Townley lived life to the full and was at the heart of the Regiment both professionally and socially.

Above everything else, he will be remembered for his selfless commitment to every undertaking, his strength of character and his faultless integrity.

Captain James Townley, was a remarkable young man. He leaves behind his parents Peter and Jacqui, his brother Nick, and girlfriend Helen.

James’s family said:

“James was a wonderful, loving and caring son and brother. He was devoted to his girlfriend Helen. He was our guardian angel and our hero. We were so proud of him. He touched every part of our lives and his loss has left a huge chasm that we can never fill.

“James will never be forgotten and always in our hearts and thoughts.”

Captain James Townley

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