Army tributes to tragic soldier

Warrant Officer
Warrant Officer

MILITARY chiefs have paid tribute to a brave soldier with a “northern charm” whose life was tragically cut short when he suffered an electric shock in a hotel room while off-duty.

John Marley, 42, died after a freak accident when he was staying in a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, where he was serving as a warrant officer (class 2) with the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATAK).

As reported by Wednesday’s Hartlepool Mail, John had survived being shot at while serving in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and Ireland during his 23-year military career.

But John, who lived with partner Paula, 42, in Cotsford Park Estate, Horden, and their children Jonathan, eight, and Jessica, six, went to plug in a lamp in the hotel and suffered a fatal electric shock.

Today warrant officer class 2 Darren Taylor, Regimental Sergeant Major and spokesman for 39 Regiment (Air Support) Royal Engineers, said: “It was with great sadness we learned that warrant officer John Marley’s life had been so tragically cut short.

“He had spent eight-and-a-half years of a career spanning two decades serving in 39 Engineer Regiment, most recently in 10 Field Squadron at Royal Air Force Station Leeming, in North Yorkshire.

“His distinguished career started in Germany in 1990 and included operational tours in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan as well as duties in Saudi Arabia, Canada and Belize.

“John’s northern charm and sense of humour gave warmth to all that met him.

“He was also a true professional, a great mentor to junior soldiers and was universally respected by sappers of all ranks.

“The officers and soldiers of 39 Engineer Regiment, along with the whole Corps of Royal Engineers, will feel the gap that he leaves behind.

“Most importantly our thoughts and support go out to his partner Paula, family and many friends at this very difficult time.”

John was with two colleagues at the time, on April 26, and one of them also suffered an electric shock when they went to help him.

John’s funeral was due to take place today (fri) at St Mary’s Church in Blackhills Terrace, Horden, at 11am.