In civilian life Chris lived with his fiancée of seven and a half years and was in full time employment as a manager with a powder coating business. He travelled across Europe supporting the development of new business. As well as giving his own free time to pursue a childhood dream to join the R.A.F., his employer allowed him time from work to enable him train with 504 Squadron.
In August 2006 Chris became a 'Regular' RAF Gunner and was attached to 1 Squadron RAF Regiment based at RAF Honington. As an Auxiliary Chris was 'called up'. He answered his Country's call and committed one year of his life to serve his Country.
After additional training with 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment Senior Aircraftsman Chris 'Dunny' Dunsmore and the Squadron deployed to Basra Airport in Southern Iraq and arrived on March 26th 2007.
PURPOSE: 1 Squadron RAF Regiment were tasked with protecting aircraft operating from Basra Airport. Their job was to ensure that the area over which the aircraft flew was clear from the threat of Militia. The Militia regularly attempt to target the aircraft whilst they are at their most vulnerable, during take-off and landing.
DEVASTATING INCIDENT: During the early afternoon of July 19th 2007 when there were no aircraft movements, Chris and his colleagues including Senior Aircraftsman Matthew Caulwell (22) and Senior Aircraftsman Peter McFerran (24) were resting, prior to going out to patrol again. During that period the Contingency Operating Base (COB) came under indescriminate mortar and rocket attack and tragically all three were killed instantly. A number of their colleagues were very seriously injured in the same incident.
SO UNEXPECTED: Chris had served four months in Basra. He was due to fly home for ten days leave on the evening of the day he was killed. During this period of leave, he would have celebrated his 30th birthday with family and friends.
SQUADRON RETURNED HOME: In September 2007, 1 Squadron having completed their tour in Basra returned home without four of their comrades and friends. Chris was due to return to civilian life after a period of adjustment and planned to continue his role with 504 Squadron.
REPATRIATION: On the 25th July 2007 Chris, Matthew, Peter and also L/Cpl Timothy Flowers of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who was killed on 21st July at Basra Palace were repatriated to RAF Lyneham with full military honours.
A ‘Celebration’ at a private setting was held later where family, friends and colleagues from work and the RAF Regiment's gathered. Tributes were dedicated to Chris and also to his colleagues and friends Matthew and Peter.
DEVASTATING INCIDENT: On August 7th 2007 Leading Aircraftman Martin Beard (20) also of 1 Squadron RAF Regiment, was taking part in a routine foot patrol in the Al Waki district north of the British Base at Basra Air Station. The aim of the patrol was to deter indirect fire attacks on the base and reassure the local population.
During this patrol he sustained a gunshot wound when the patrol came under attack as it moved through Al Waki Market. He was evacuated by helicopter to the field hospital but sadly did not survive.
*BRITISH TROOPS: The UK's armed forces are deployed across the world in a range of roles. Find out how many are where, and why. Where are British troops and why?
"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world" Unknown
National Memorial Arboretum - Armed Forces Memorial - Saturday 28th June 2008
Members of Chris' family were invited to a memorial service in honour of Chris and all comrades who lost their lives in action in 2007. At the memorial event Chris' name was amongst the other 102 servicemen and women killed during active service were unveiled on the memorial wall. The event was attended by HRH Prince of Wales who kindly talked to us about Chris, Matthew and Pete and their experiences in the RAF Regiment. Prince Charles also spent time with Martin's family too. More...... on the BBC News website.
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Youtube Footage: View y8tesy1's YouTube tribute to Dunny, Lip, Pete & Mart...
Youtube Footage: A mothers tribute - In memory of my son SAC Chris Dunsmore
Last Updated August 2016