Working within the bomb disposal arena when a tragedy happens, you realise just how close the whole EOD community is.
It is a day of feeling compelled to make tributes as Vicky alluded to earlier. I feel privileged to have seen it from the perspective of the wife of an operator and am now working within the commercial EOD world.
I really want to remember someone special to us today.
While posted and living in Didcot we were fortunate to have known former EOD Operator Dan Read. We had one particularly good evening in the mess at our Christmas ball (around 2005) which Dan had helped to organise. My my memory of Dan is of him stood in an apron wielding a carving knife ready to carve the turkey for us all at our table.
A great evening ensued. Dan told us all of his great ideas for the evening which he had been unable to put into action for the evening. This was due to some Senior Officer meddling – it seems he had tried to get us a jacuzzi by the bar!
Unfortunately Dan was tragically killed while on tour in Afghanistan. This was during a particular hard year for our operators, who were under enormous pressure to disarm a relentlessly increasing number of IEDs.
Any loss within a community is felt very deeply by everyone, whether you knew them personally or not. All families within this world have a deep appreciation of the work carried out by the operators and their teams. You genuinely feel such a loss, as you would for a member of your own family.
The facebook page Not forgotten is run by the charity the Felix Fund. It offers a great tribute to all EOD operators – I’ve used their image above of Dan. Every year it honours heroes who are no longer with us.
It is these heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, helping to keep us safe. Like the Felix Fund, we remember Dan a special friend, also all those who lost their lives and importantly their families who live with that loss everyday. We really empathise that your work is dangerous, but you undertake such a necessary job.