21-year-old British Army Sapper Connor Ray, from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on 18th April 2012 after being seriously injured on 11th April. He was injured during a search and clearance operation in the Nad 'Ali district of central Helmand when a hidden bomb exploded.
Sapper Ray, from Newport, joined the Army in January 2008 and joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in June 2009. He joined 49 Field Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), in April 2010, where he trained as an Advanced Searcher. During his time in Afghanistan, Sapper Ray and his team successfully conducted a number of high risk searches that undoubtedly saved numerous British and Afghan lives.
Describing Sapper Ray as "A very professional soldier," Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell, Commanding Officer of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said: "An extremely positive and determined young soldier, Sapper Ray was a real team player. Amiable and upbeat, he had a natural ability to encourage and inspire others with his limitless optimism. He would often be found in the gym, working hard to maintain his fitness, whilst setting an excellent example to those less motivated."
Sapper Ray's family said this about him: "In heaven with his mum now, we will always remember his love of life, his sense of humour and cherish the short time he had to touch our lives."
He leaves behind his brother Vinnie, stepfather Steve, sisters Hollie and Bonnie, Aunty Eileen, and girlfriend Hollie.