Fallen Oxfordshire soldier honoured

19 March 2010, 11:49 | Updated: 19 March 2010, 12:04

The Oxfordshire soldier, who last summer became the most senior British serviceman killed in action since 1982, has been given a top military honour.

Lieutennant Colonel Rupert Thornloe, 39, from Kirtlington, died in an explosion in Afghanistan on 1 July 2009.

He was the commanding officer of 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards.  He's posthumously been given the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service.

At the time of Lt Col Thorneloe's death, Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said: "Lt Col Thorneloe was an outstanding Commanding Officer and a born leader, who I knew well. His courageous, thoughtful stewardship of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards since October last year has seen them superbly prepared for the demands of Afghanistan, both in terms of their professional capability and their unbreakable spirit as a team.

"At the leading edge of his generation, his loss will be felt deeply not only by his family but also by his soldiers and others, who like me, had the privilege to serve with him."

Lt Col Thorneloe left behind his wife Sally and their daughters Hannah and Sophie.

At the time of his death, his wife Sally said: "Rupert was my very best friend and his death is a devastating blow. Our daughters Hannah and Sophie will have to grow up without their beloved Daddy, although I will see a part of him in them every day.

"I could not have asked for a more caring, adoring and loving husband and father. While he was with us our lives were filled with joy and happiness, they will never be the same again. Hannah always said the best bit of Daddy was his coming home and that will never happen again."

Read more tributes to Lt Col Thorneloe

The announcement of Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe's posthumous award comes a day after Didcot-based bomb disposal expert Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid was posthumously given the George Cross, one of the highest awards for bravery.  He died trying to defuse a bomb in Afghanistan in October 2009, having successfully defused more than 60 during his tour of duty.

Watch a video report on SSgt Schmid's award