Today my old regiment, The Highlanders, have suffered their first operational fatality. It is a terrible thing and I needn't tell you how devastating it will be for his family. Soldiers face the ultimate sacrifice with astonishing fortitude backed up with brilliant leadership and outstanding training. Please note that this regiment has been in Iraq for nearly four months without previous incident.
I served with my regiment for 8 years and, along with my family back home, I faced my own moments of danger in Northern Ireland and on the entry into Kosovo in 1999. Rest assured that their courage and determination will be unmoved. They will grieve another time. For now the team and the job take priority. They will remain professional and ever more motivated to ensure it does not happen again. You would be amazed how well they disassociate what they are there to do from the political process which sent them to do it.
Bydand, boys, Bydand.
[In gaelic this means "Standfast" and was the motto of the The Gordon Highlanders, one of the two regiments amalgamated in 1994 to form The Highlanders.]