About 1500 people gathered at Linton Camp yesterday (29 August) to farewell SAS soldier Corporal Dougie Grant, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on 19 August.
Funeral of CPL Douglas Grant killed in Afganistan. Service Funeral held a Linton Military Camp with family and soldiers in attendance. (20110829_OH_K1028040_0003).
CPL Grant died when he was hit by a bullet fired by insurgents while trying to rescue civilians following an attack on the British Council building in Kabul. Despite the efforts of New Zealand and Coalition medics at the scene he died en route to Bagram Air Base hospital.
The Prime Minister, John Key, gave a eulogy at the funeral, as did CPL Grant’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Parsons, his father, brother, and wife, Tina Grant.
Mrs Grant, who is also a soldier in the New Zealand Army, said her husband loved many things—being an SAS soldier, being a member of the Defence Patriots Motorcycle Club, being a carpenter—“but the most important thing in his life was his children,” she said.
LTCOL Parsons spoke about how he and CPL Grant began their Army training together in 1996. He recalled how they were mounted troopers together, how they had been shot at together, and how they had been together with their Australian counterparts when they helped rescue 600 East Timorese from the militia. “He was selfless, fearless and a free spirit – that was our Doug. The Prime Minister, Mr Key is right – Dougie Grant was a hero.”
LTCOL Parsons said he had been in a Kabul restaurant with Doug the night before he died, “and he was full of enthusiasm for the mission, and to be once again on operation with his SAS mates.”
He said CPL Grant had told him he believed the SAS’s contribution in training the Afghanistan Crisis response Unit and passing responsibility on to that unit was “doing it right”
“It is often tempting to ask can we win or not, and thereby weigh up the merits of helping the Afghans. But perhaps there’s a more important question to be asked: who are we if we do nothing to avert brutality?
He said New Zealand had always been a country that had helped others less fortunate.
“As a nation our finest hours have been when we have calculated the need rather than the odds. And it was this great sense of purpose in which Dougie Grant epitomises the indomitable Kiwi spirit.”
CPL Grant is survived by his wife Tina, and two children, Jemma, 7, and Jaden, 5.