Comrades pay tribute to tragic soldier
COMRADES of the reservist soldier who died while on an SAS exercise in the Brecon Beacons have paid tribute to him today.
Corporal James Dunsby, 31, of the Swindon-based A Squadron Royal Yeomanry, was one of three soldiers who died following the exercise last month.
He was laid to rest at a funeral service at St James' Church, Trowbridge, earlier today, attended by family, friends and fellow servicemen and women.
The loss of Corporal Dunsby is a tragic loss at a time when A (RWY) Squadron, based in Church Place, is already reeling from the news that it is to be disbanded in October 2014, despite having reached full manning at a time when the Army Reserve is to expand.
Speaking after the service Major Conn MacEvilly, who was Corporal Dunsby’s officer commanding at A Squadron, Royal Yeomanry, said: "JD was a first-rate soldier and a wonderful man.
"Intelligent – a visiting fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford – and very fit, he was rightly ambitious for himself and for those around him. He struck just the right balance of discipline and care as a junior leader.
"We drew on JD's expert knowledge of the human geography of Afghanistan, and on his operational experience from deployment there, throughout the time when the Royal Yeomanry was preparing for deployment to that country on Operation HERRICK 18.
"I have no doubt that his assistance to our training was of direct and significant benefit to those who have deployed and will have materially reduced the risk our currently-deployed soldiers face.
"JD actively took part in the social and sporting life of the Squadron, especially field sports. He rowed competitively for Bradford-on-Avon Rowing Club.
"His easy wit and excellent chat made him just as much at home with, and loved by, the officers and the other ranks. He was as happy turning his humour on himself as on those around him and was never shy to dispense praise when it was deserved.
"We in A Squadron and our colleagues in C Squadron of the Royal Yeomanry were lucky to have worked with someone of JD's calibre, and will miss him terribly."
John Boulton, formerly of HQ (Westminster Dragoons) Squadron, the Royal Yeomanry, who served with Corporal Dunsby in Afghanistan, said: "'Mick' was quite simply unique. You'd be hard pushed to find anyone of any worth who could ever speak ill of him.
"His capacity to inject his warmth, humour, devilish wit and zest for life into any given situation stands alone.
"Of his many fine attributes, the greatest of them all was his bespoke style of eccentricity, 'the James factor!'
"Having touched so many and achieved so much, James leaves this place triumphant.
"I wish my friend peace and my thoughts go to his family.”
Corporal Adam Honeysett of C (Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry) Squadron, Royal Yeomanry, who went to Afghanistan with Cpl Dunsby, said: "James was a scholar and a quintessential English gentleman.
"Always looking to further his significant achievements and be an even more rounded individual. A natural born leader and exaggerated story teller, he was dearly loved by all who had the pleasure of spending time in his company.
"His passing has left me numb inside, but I am eternally grateful for the wonderful memories I have of our adventures together at home and abroad. My thoughts, and love, at this time, remain with his wife and family."