Private Nathan Cuthbertson was killed on 8 June, 2008, by a suicide bomber in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan. He was 19.
Pte Cuthbertson was serving as a Machine Gunner and Infantry Assault Engineer with the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. He was on foot patrol near his Helmand Province base when he died alongside two colleagues - Private Daniel Gamble and Private Charles David Murray - in a suicide attack. Their deaths brought to 100 the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan since fighting began in 2001.
Pte Cuthbertson's mother, Carla, and father, Tom, said:
"Nathan realised his childhood dream by following his dad’s footsteps and joining The Parachute Regiment as a Machine Gunner. He died a hero, doing a job he loved amongst his friends. Nathan had a real passion for life; he always had a smile and was quick to make friends. Football, socialising and girls were his hobbies and he was never far away from any of them. A dearly loved and devoted son, brother, grandson and friend to all who had the privilege of meeting him, his death will leave a massive hole in all of our lives. We will not forget him."
Born in Sunderland on 5 January 1989, Pte Cuthbertson began his military career aged just 16. Having left school he chose not to wait until he was old enough for adult service and attended the Army Foundation College in Harrogate in October 2005. While at the Army Foundation College he stood out as a soldier and chose to join the Parachute Regiment. After completing his initial training he moved on to the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick where he completed his basic training and passed the physically demanding Pre Parachute Selection, P Company. Once he had earned his military parachute wings he joined 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment in December 2006. He quickly embraced the spirit of the regiment and in under a year had undertaken and passed the technically challenging Infantry Assault Engineers course, usually reserved for more experienced soldiers. During pre-deployment training and deployment to Afghanistan he again excelled operating the platoon’s specialist weapon, the general purpose machine gun.
Commanding Officer of 2 PARA, Lieutenant Colonel Joe O’Sullivan, said:
“Private Nathan Cuthbertson, Private Daniel Gamble and Private Charles Murray were wounded by a suicide bomber near Forward Operating Base INKERMAN, and despite the best efforts of the medics on the ground and at the hospital in Camp Bastion they could not be saved.
"They died doing their duty and doing their best, taking care with a potential threat, but also understanding the importance of connecting to the people around them. All three had been in Afghanistan for two months and had already experienced physically draining patrols in the high heat of the Afghan summer, combat with the Taliban, and the danger which is inescapable in our part of Helmand.
"They tested themselves to join the Parachute Regiment and they welcomed the challenge of operations. They knew the risks, and in facing them today as they had done every day before, they demonstrated the clear, cold courage which is the hallmark of their comrades and their Regiment.
"We will all take some time to think about them, and we salute them as brave young men, but our thoughts are also with their families who bear the greatest burden of their loss. We will turn to our job again and continue the relentless pressure on the Taliban in this valley, which in time will create space for a better life for the people here.
"When our job in Helmand is completed we will return home and honour them as members of 2 PARA who have given their all for their friends, their Regiment and the difficult task they faced. We will remember what they have done and the life that they have given, and what we achieve here will be their memorial.”