Fusilier Simon Annis
2nd Bn The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Once a Fusilier always a Fusilier
The music playing is Angel by Sarah McLach
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence
must confirm that Lance Corporal James Fullarton, Fusilier Simon Annis
and Fusilier Louis Carter, all of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of
Fusiliers (2 RRF), were killed in Afghanistan on Sunday 16 August 2009.
Born in Salford in 1987 Fusilier Simon Annis attended Culcheth High School, Warrington, until he had completed his GCSEs. After leaving school his desire to test himself saw him pursue a challenging and varied career when he joined his local Infantry Regiment, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers aged just 19.
In 2006, he completed the physically demanding Infantry Training course at ITC Catterick ready to embrace the varied lifestyle on offer in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Having completed training he was to move to Cyprus to join the Regiment in a demanding training year where he deployed to Jordan on a tough 6 week training exercise.
From the outset Fusilier Annis was to experience the full range of activities on offer to a young man in the infantry. In his short time in the Army Fusilier Annis has served in Cyprus, Jordan and latterly Afghanistan. It was in Jordan that Fusilier Annis developed his taste for scuba diving. He was able to deploy to Egypt in 2007 and Belize in 2008 to further his diving skills and love of the sport.
Having experienced a plethora of activities he returned
to the UK in the early part of 2008 to Hounslow West London as part of
a Battalion move. Here Fusilier Annis stood proudly outside the Royal
Palaces as part of the Battalion's Public Duties commitment. In February
2009 Fusilier Annis married his beloved Caroline just one month before
he was called upon to deploy to Sangin, Afghanistan. Fusilier Annis approached
his first operational tour as he did everything else in his life with
good humour and a professional attitude.
"Simon was the perfect husband, son and brother. He will be sorely missed by all of us. He was a true hero who made all of us so very proud and he will always have a place in our hearts. We will love and miss him always."
His Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Calder, CO 2 RRF, said:
"Fusilier Simon Annis was a larger than life character, and a dedicated soldier. Always at the heart of whatever was going on, it was no surprise to me that he died whilst trying to save his mortally wounded section commander. He should be seen as a shining example to the nation of what selfless commitment really means. The heartfelt condolences of every Fusilier in Afghanistan go to Caroline, his wife of only a few months."
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson MBE, CO 2 RIFLES Battlegroup, said:
"Fusilier Annis was delightful in addition to being a quality soldier. A huge man, I used to encounter him on my way to breakfast on an almost daily basis and he used to stop me and ask me if I was OK. He had an ever-present grin and used to carry far more than his normal share on patrol. He was always laughing and used to lighten the mood in the darkest of times, often by breaking into particularly tuneless song. He leaves behind Caroline, his beloved wife of less than six months, who will be devastated. Our prayer is that somehow she will find the strength and courage to face this the most unimaginably awful time."
His Company Commander Major Jo Butterfill, OC A Company Group 2 RRF, said:
"Fusilier Annis was an A Company character from
the moment he arrived. A quiet, sometimes unassuming personality, his
extraordinary, wry sense of humour and his incredible capacity for shouldering
more than his fair share of any task nevertheless made him immensely popular
across the ranks. If the job of the infantryman is sometimes simply to
endure, then Fusilier Annis had that ability, and then some.
Lieutenant Alan Williamson, Platoon Commander, Three Platoon, A Company 2RRF, Attached 2 RIFLES, said:
"How do I sum up Fusilier Annis in just a few short words? Cheeky would be an understatement, the life and soul of the platoon would not be too far from the truth. During our darkest days out here in Sangin Fusilier Annis has been there to lighten the mood and pick up morale. The man was a delight. Whether it be his jokes and banter or his spontaneous outbreak into song he could always make you smile and forget your troubles how we could do with him now."
"Fusilier Annis was no joker when the chips were down! He was fiercely competent with his LMG, bragging that he was the 'best gunner in battalion', a statement not far from the truth. He was a soldier who was always there for his friends and commanders, never to busy to stop and talk, he has touched a lot of hearts within the Battlegroup. I spent three weeks scuba diving in Belize with Fusilier Annis a year ago and he was the centre of attention for the entire trip. On his 21st birthday night out in San Pedro he even managed to befriend some American tourists and convinced them to buy him drinks for most of the night, such was the personality of the man."
"Fusilier Annis was a man with a big heart and a bright future, he was a real people person. It's fitting that he died trying to save his friend, right at the front of the CASEVAC party. I shall miss Fusilier Annis and his quirky sense of humour, his mischievous ways and his appalling singing! But this loss is nothing compared to his wife Caroline whom he loved so much. My thoughts and prayers are with her and his family now during these darkest of days."
Corporal Paul Whiting, Section Commander 3 YORKS, said:
"Fusilier Annis was a character, the little time I knew him, he would always make you smile, whatever the situation. He was another legend of the platoon, if not the legend. He was great and very professional. I'm just sorry he won't be able to live out his dreams of becoming a pro poker player. Rest in peace buddy."
Corporal Dan Henderson, 9 Platoon C Company, said:
"I was Simon's Corporal when he was in training at ITC(C). I got to know him very well. He was the light in the Section, he had a cheekiness that only he could get away with. No matter how hard things were, Simon could bring a smile to people's faces. Simon was very caring and full of joy, the world is a lesser place without him."
Lance Corporal Nike Thomas, 10 Platoon C Company, said:
"Simon was one of the funniest lads I have ever met. I was in A Company with him in Cyprus, we would always go out for a few beers together and he would ensure that every night would be memorable. My thoughts go out to all his family and his wife."
Fusilier Tom Swann, 3 Platoon A Company, said:
Si was one of those blokes you couldn't help but love. He was always smiling and taking the piss out of someone. He was one of the few people who could cheer you up. Whether it was with his snide comments, stupid songs or his atrocious beat boxing. He was always the first to complain about things, but when out on the ground he was fearless, always the first to return fire in contact. He knew when to draw the line and always got the job done. The bloke was an absolute legend, the Platoon, Company and Battalion has lost a true friend. Our thoughts now turn to his beloved wife, Caroline and his family. Our deepest sympathies go out to them. Miss ya mate x."
"Simon Annis was one of my best mates. We got to Battalion at roughly the same time and have spent all three and a half years in 1 Pl and now 3 Pl. Annis was a pain in the arse at time, but I wouldn't have changed him for any other way. Going to your stag do was one of the best nights of my life and was gutted I couldn't get to your wedding. Reading your eulogy at your Vigil Service was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but one of the proudest, telling everybody how awesome a friend you were and how much you meant to me and the Three Platoon lads. The good guys always die young and that's an understatement for you mate. Been a pleasure mate and I'm sure you'll always be watching over us, keeping us safe. Gone but not forgotten Si!"
Fusilier John Jones, 3 Platoon A Company, said:
"Si was a good friend of mine, I spoke to him now and then in Hounslow and he made me laugh back then, but it wasn't till we came on tour that I started to know him a lot more. He was always morale for the section and even if he did wind everyone up now and then, he could always take it when the joke was on him. He was a big fan of poker and always loved taking money of us when we lost. Well, rest in peace my friend, and I'll never forget you or the good times we had. Specky."
Fusilier Jay Connolly, 3 Platoon A Company, said:
"'Si' was an awesome soldier and a very loyal friend. If I was to describe Annis in one word, that word would be legend , he would always know how to make you smile, however bad you felt.
"As a friend I couldn't ask for any better than Si. Me and him were going away over Christmas, with the wifey's and he kept saying that he couldn't wait to get minging at the 24 hour bar even though it would only take him two pints. He was always talking about his wife Caz who he loved with all his heart. He couldn't wait to spend the rest of his life with her. Si you will always be a great friend. I will miss you mate. My thoughts and sympathies go out to your wife Caroline your family and friends. RIP mate, see you on the other side."
Fusilier Andrew Evans, 3 Platoon A Company, said:
"Si was a person that everyone liked, he had a heart of gold and never had a bad thing to say about anyone, unless it was banter, which he gave out as well took. He always had a smile on his face and had a way of putting a smile on everyone else's face, no matter how bad things were.
"As a soldier, he knew when to be the joker and when to be a soldier, which he did extremely well. He could be given any task, which he would always do, and smiling whilst doing it. He will always be missed but never replaced all our thoughts now go to his family and wife Caroline."
Fusilier Adam Gregg, 2 Platoon A Company Group, said:
"I can't think of many words to describe his sense of humour, which everyone knows was second to none, but if I was to describe him as a soldier and a friend the list is endless. He was honourable, loyal, brave, honest and a true hero, one in a million, just a few that could describe this true hero. He was a true Fusilier and no one could have asked more of him. My thoughts are with his wife Caroline, his family and friends."
Fusilier Craig Ashwell, 2 Platoon A Company Group, said:
"I've had the privilege to have known Simon for
about three years since he first rocked up to Battalion in Cyprus. In
the time that I've known him he always put a smile on my face. Some of
the stuff he would come out with was unbelievable - put it this way, there
was never a dull moment with him. He was definitely the joker of the company.
He made a lot of friends with his time spent in A Company, you couldn't
do anything but love the guy but that was just typical of his nature and
the way he did things.
Fusilier Lawrie Stevenson, 2 Platoon A Company Group, said:
"Since the start Annis was one of those characters who always made you laugh and we all loved him when he arrived at Battalion. In Cyprus I got the privilege to know Annis quite well, he had the ability to make anyone laugh with his dry sense of humour and I'm sure that right now he is watching over the Company and most importantly his wife and family. Farewell mate you will always be remembered."
Fusilier Jonathan Hooley, 2 Platoon A Company Group, said:
"Good friend and a brilliant soldier. He was laid back and always had a smile on his face no matter what. Annis kept spirits high and he was always there to listen and give a helping hand. He would put others needs first. He was a brilliant man full of life and will be sorely missed."
Fusilier Ryan Hyndman, 2 Platoon A Company Group, said:
"There are so many words that could describe Annis; that's the sort of person he was, full of character. He was one of the friendliest people to meet in this Battalion and I am privileged to be one of his many friends. His sense of humour was pure morale and he always made me and the lads laugh. He had this cheeky way about him that you just had to admire. It's a massive loss to this Battalion and Regiment. He is in all of our thoughts and our hearts and I can only offer my deepest sympathy to his family and his beloved wife."
Fusilier Daniel Swales, 9 Platoon C Company, said:
"Simon and I first met on a diving expedition. He was a very good diver and was always cracking jokes, messing around and had a smile on his face. He was the life of the group and I will truly miss him."
From all the men at Patrol Base Woqab:
"Fallen but not forgotten. Good memories of another great man and once a Fusilier always a Fusilier."
THE death of Fusilier Simon Annis has 'saddened' his former teachers at Culcheth High School.
This afternoon head teacher Martyn Froggett released this statement: "It is with great sadness that we have been informed of the untimely death of Fusilier Simon Annis on Sunday 16 August 2009 whilst serving for the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Afghanistan.
"It is difficult to put sentiments into words when we hear of the death of one of our former pupils.
"Simon attended Culcheth High School from 1998 to 2003.
"Our memory of him is one of a sunny natured young man with a great sense of humour who, even then, was committed to joining the army.
"Simon was popular amongst his peers, worked hard and was always very polite, friendly and courteous.
"Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and all his family and friends at this very difficult time."