West Berkshire Soldier Repatriated

Hundreds line the streets of Wooten Basset to pay their respects to a soldier from West Berkshire, who was killed in Afghanistan on his 27th birthday.

Lieutenant Douglas Dalzell, who was from Hamstead Marshall, died on February 18 from wounds received in an explosion in the Babaji area in central Helmand.

A private ceremony was held at the RAF Lyneham's chapel before the cortege passed by the war memorial. Hundreds lined the streets of the market town in tribute, as has become the custom when soldiers' bodies return.

In the crowd at Wooten Basset was one of his closet friends, Cyrus Molavi, 27, who had come from London to pay tribute.

Asked why he had made the journey, Mr Molavi said: "Because he was my best mate. I think it is a great turn out and the people here are very accommodating. That makes it a lot more bearable.'"

Also present to watch the cortege was Company Commander Major Simon Carpenter. Major Carpenter said of Lt Dalzell today: "He was a young officer in a different company but I knew him from the mess for the last four or five months. He was a sparky, professional young officer with lots of get up and go. He lost his platoon sergeant a couple of months ago. He took that in his stride. It was a huge devastating blow for the whole platoon. But he took it, carried on, got up and got his platoon going again. Unfortunately he has now paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Asked how the men dealt with the deaths of their comrades he said: ``They are professional soldiers. They don't think too much about it at the time. But when they do come back at the end of a tour, that's when they think slightly deeper and can grieve in a more personal manner.'"

Lieutenant Douglas Dalzell is survived by his parents Anthony and Colette, brother Angus and sister Olivia. After his death his family paid tribute:

"You only ever looked for the good in people and kept strong and happy in all you did. You are a true hero and we will miss you forever.''

After his death, Lieutenant Colonel Toby Gray, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, paid tribute:

"Had I been a Platoon Commander at the same time as Lieutenant Dougie Dalzell, I would have wished to be like him: assured, confident, utterly professional and hugely popular with his men and held in the highest regard by his seniors. He was the ultimate role model and example for any young officer. Not just a fantastic soldier and leader, he was an exceptional sportsman and he had dashing good looks. Beyond all this, he was also a bloody good bloke.

A bright light has gone out in this glorious regiment. In his memory I know all ranks will rise to the challenges of the coming months so that Dougie's sacrifice is not in vain - he would want us to push hard to the end. He did."

Along with Lieutenant Dalzell, Lance Sergeant Walker was fatally wounded on the same day while conducting a ground patrol which was met with Taliban fire. The 36-year-old was serving with Right Flank, Scots Guards, attached to Combined Force Nad-e-Ali (North).

 

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