Tributes have been paid to the Leeds-born Royal Engineer who was killed in an “insider attack” in Afghanistan.
Spr Richard Walker was attached to 21 Engineer Regiment, based in Ripon, he was killed by a rogue Afghan soldier who turned his weapon on Afghan troops and British soldiers at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj region.
Major Chloe Plimmer, officer commanding Spr Walker’s 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron, has paid tribute to a “likeable, polite and motivated young soldier.”
She said: “Whenever I saw Sapper Walker he always made a point of saying ‘hello’ and I felt that I got to know him better than many other soldiers in the Squadron. I never once doubted his motivation and he always said he was ‘living the dream’. He was a bright, cheerful, fun soldier who was relishing the challenge.
“We in 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron have been hugely privileged to have Sapper Walker’s Troop attached to us and as an individual he was a shining example to all ranks across the board. His positive attitude and excellent performance ensured that he was seen as one of our own, and our heartfelt sympathies go out to all of those in his Troop and also his friends and colleagues in 42 Field Support Squadron and 28 Engineer Regiment back in Germany.
“He was one of the very best and we are all left feeling hollow and saddened by his loss.”
Spr Walker’s squadron from 28 Engineers was attached to the Ripon-based 21 Engineer Regiment for its current tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Tributes have also been paid by his friends and comrades, who described him as a “devoted father” to his young daughter Lilly-Faith. Tragically, Spr Walker had only known his daughter for 18 months before he deployed. Spr Liam Ballantyne said: “Richie, you were a truly wonderful person and that is why people were naturally drawn towards you as a friend. You were a true brother to me; you will never be forgotten and you will be sadly missed by all who knew you.”
Lt Col “Jack” Nicholson, commanding officer of 21 Engineers, has spoken of the regiment’s grief at losing a young soldier.
“His tragic loss has stunned the whole Engineer Group and we are all trying desperately to come to terms with this awful event. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family and friends at this terrible time, most especially his young daughter Lilly-Faith.”