Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

British army leads online tributes to Iraq rocket attack victim

Fallen soldier Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon could not have a full military funeral because of the coronavirus pandemic

A barrage of rockets hit a base housing coalition troops north of Baghdad in March. AP
A barrage of rockets hit a base housing coalition troops north of Baghdad in March. AP

Thousands of social media users on Tuesday paid tribute to a British soldier killed in a rocket attack on a base in Iraq.

Fellow soldiers, relatives and well-wishers lit candles to remember Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon, 26, who was killed in the attack on Camp Taji on March 11.

“Our hearts are irreparably broken at the loss of our beautiful, bright and fun loving Brodie,” the family of the fallen soldier said in a statement.

“She brought immeasurable love, fun and energy to our lives and was so generous in every way. She was determined and tenacious, wonderfully funny, courageous and caring.”

The family could not hold a full military memorial service due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. But family members, as well as her commanding officers, were able to pay their respects when Gillon’s body was repatriated to the country on March 19.

The British Army led the tributes, in which the hashtag #shinebrightbrodie trending on social media.

Former Royal Air Force pilot John Nicol, who became a prisoner of war after being shot down over Iraq in 1991, thanked Gillon for her service.

“You couldn’t have the military send-off you deserve Brodie,” he said on Twitter.

Victoria Moorhouse said: “From one medic to another. Rest in peace L Cpl Brodie Gillon.”

Gillon joined the British army as a reservist in 2015, becoming a combat medical technician with the Scottish and Irish Yeomanry.

She was sent to Iraq with the Irish Guards on Operation Shader, the British-led mission to support the coalition in the fight against ISIS in the region.

Colleagues of the British soldier remembered her as popular and highly respected.

L Cpl Harry Towers, who served alongside Gillon in Iraq, said: “She was an outstanding soldier and the definition of selfless commitment. I will miss her, and we will remember her.”

Two American soldiers were also killed and a dozen more coalition personnel were injured, when a salvo of 18 rockets struck the camp, north of the capital Baghdad, in the March 11 attack.

Coalition forces carried out retaliatory air strikes on weapon storage sites run by an Iran-backed militia.

Updated: April 1, 2020 06:37 PM

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