Thursday, 10 March 2011

Theo and Liam

Hello everyone.

Today is a very sad and downbeat day on the boat.

The ashes of Theo a Springer Spaniel who died of a broken heart when his handler was killed in Afghanistan is to be repatriated home today. Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, a dog handler with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was shot while on patrol with his dog Theo, near Camp Bastion last week.

They served together and died together.

Three weeks ago Theo was praised by the Ministry of Defence for making 14 finds of hidden bombs and weapons caches in just five months - a record for a dog and handler. The 22-month-old spaniel, on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, had uncovered so many improvised explosive devices that his time in the country was extended by a month.  Lance Corporal Tasker had praised the dog for his dedication.  "I love my job and working with Theo. He has a great character and never tires. He can't wait to get out and do his job and will stop at nothing," he said last month.
Theo and Liam were deployed to Afghanistan last September and working together as an arms and explosives search team they saved countless lives by locating improvised explosive devices, weapons and bomb-making equipment.
Theo suffered a fatal seizure on his return to camp, just hours after Lance Corporal Tasker was killed in a firefight. The Ministry of Defence briefing revealed that  Theo’s ashes and Lance Corporal Tasker’s coffin would be returning to Britain on the same flight and that the 22-month-old dog’s ashes would be given to Lance Corporal Tasker’s family.

They are set to be flown into RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire, today.

In their tributes colleagues described Liam, who was from Kirkcaldy, Fife, as a character who was "larger than life". Major Caroline Emmett, said: “Lance Cpl Tasker was a joy to be around. He and his dog Theo were made for each other. Liam was one of the best people I have ever known. Kind, with a good heart, he always put others before himself. His professional excellence and positive attitude to life is something that I and others looked up to. He died a hero, doing a job he loved, and he will be very sadly missed. He will always have a place in our hearts and will never be forgotten.”

"A natural with animals, he had an affection for his dog that truly was a window to his soul ... he used to joke that Theo was impossible to restrain, but I would say the same about Lance Corporal Tasker" Major Alexander Turner, commanding officer.
Liam's girfriend Leah Walters, said she would have a Liam Theo-sized hole in her life forever.
Royal Army Vetinary Corps Military-Dogs. (Click)

Today we salute the memory of two brave members of the armed forces. Theo and Liam.

Yip Yap.

Poppy XX

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