Soldier shot in Afghanistan 'was a fine young man'

 

The father of Lieutenant Andrew Robert Chesterman of the 3rd Battalion The Rifles, who died as a result of wounds sustained in enemy action while on patrol in Afghanistan, said today that his family had lost “a fine young man”.

Paul Chesterman said that Lt Chesterman's family were "immensely proud" of him.

The 26-year-old, who was born in Guildford, Surrey, and lived in Bristol, was commanding a vehicle patrol in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand Province on Thursday when the lead vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

The Ministry of Defence said that as Lt Chesterman moved forward to take control of the situation, insurgents opened fire and he was shot.

He was taken to hospital in Camp Bastion but could not be saved.

Lt Chesterman, a Platoon Commander in C Company, 3rd Battalion The Rifles, was deployed to Afghanistan on April 7 this year.

He leaves behind his father and sisters Anna and Olivia.

Mr Chesterman said: "We have lost a fine young man. It was readily apparent that Andrew gave himself fully and wholeheartedly to his career in 3 Rifles.

"At a battalion dinner shortly before Op Herrick 16, I was proud to see his easy, close and well-accepted rapport with his fellow young officers.

"Andrew was accomplished in many areas. He developed a skill to play both the trombone and piano, graduated with a Masters Degree in engineering, qualified as a Mountain Leader, enjoyed team yacht racing and was proficient on skis.

"His family are immensely proud of him and will carry him very dearly in their hearts."

During his time in Afghanistan, Lt Chesterman worked for both the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment Battle Group and he was also given the task of forming a Police Advisory Team as part of an increased focus on mentoring the Afghan National Police - which he did while working for 1st Battalion Welsh Guards Battle Group.

He was commissioned into The Rifles in December 2010 after attending the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and then the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

The rifleman was described as an "outstanding leader" by Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Maconochie, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion The Rifles.

"Professional excellence, self-discipline, integrity and loyalty are characteristics that immediately spring to mind when I think about Andrew," said Lt Col Maconochie.

"He was always extremely personable, charming, and very charismatic with an ever-present sharp sense of humour and wit. We are all the richer for having had the privilege and honour to have served alongside such a talented and popular young officer."

Captain Rob Fellows, Company Second-in-Command, C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Rifles, added: "Andy was utterly committed to his men and not afraid to stand up for them to anyone he felt he needed to, regardless of rank.

"His selflessness was typified by the way he died moving forward to support his men following an IED (improvised explosive device) strike."

Lieutenant James Cowen, Intelligence Officer C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Rifles, said: "He was diligent and caring while also ferociously protective when it came to the men under his command, something I know they are extremely grateful for.

"Among his many good traits this is the one I admire the most, as there is nothing more honourable than absolute loyalty to the men you fight alongside.

"The ferocity with which he defended his men was only equalled by that with which he pursued the enemy. He felt a real responsibility to the people of Afghanistan and was proud to be working towards a better future for them.

"His work with the Afghan National Police was something he took great pride in. He forged extremely strong bonds with the Afghan National Police and was regarded by them, in a culture where bravery, honesty and loyalty are held in the highest regard, as a great leader.

"Personally I will miss a great friend, the man that you share that late-night brew with before climbing under your mosquito net; the man who set the bar so high and through example demanded it be met by all of his peers."

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said: "I was immensely saddened to learn of the death of Lieutenant Andrew Chesterman. We have lost an extremely talented and well-thought-of young man and my thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.

"Lt Chesterman made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting Britain's national security and the nation will always remember him."

Another soldier, who is yet to be named by the Ministry of Defence, was killed in Afghanistan yesterday.

The serviceman from 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 26 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, was killed as a result of injuries sustained by enemy action while undertaking a construction task in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

The serviceman's family have been told.

PA

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