Senior Aircraftsman Chris Dunsmore

Dedicated to Chris (Dunny) Dunsmore 1977 - 2007

Summary of Chris' involvement with the RAuxAF:

Chris joined Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) and had been a member of 504 Squadron based at RAF Cottesmore, since 2003.

ln civilian life Chris 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.

ln 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.

The RAuxAF is a fully functioning element of the Royal Air Force, playing a vital role in the nation's defence and peace keeping operations, both at home and abroad. It is staffed by part-time, voluntary personnel and provides an essential element of the RAF's capability.

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 indiscriminate 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.