Lt. Dan Clack: Hero

Lt. Daniel Clack of 1st Batallion The Rifles was killed in Afghanistan on Friday, August 12 2011. He was leading his patrol into a nearby village, to meet with local elders, when an Improvised Explosive Device killed him and injured five others.

Dan was in my year at school. We were friends, but not close friends. Dan was one of the funniest and most sincere people you could ever hope to meet. You couldn’t fail to smile, when you were with Dan.

Please do take the time to read the tributes to Dan on the MoD website. They are absolutely amazing.

This is what Lieutenant Colonel James de Labillere, Commanding Officer of 1st Batallion The Rifles, said about Dan:

“Lieutenant Dan Clack was a young officer who was, quite simply, part of the heart and soul of the Battalion. He died commanding his Riflemen on operations in the most demanding of circumstances. He had, day on day, demonstrated a courage and bravery that was profound and inspiring but, as was his way, exercised with the lightest of touch.

“Dan joined 1 RIFLES just over a year ago, and even in that short time he had achieved much, just as he had done before joining the Army. I remember his first day in Battalion as he met his platoon for the first time at the beginning of a huge endurance march across Dartmoor. It was wet and miserable but he successfully made his mark, teasing us with a glimmer of the great things he still had in store to show us.

“He was, like many officers of his generation, completely committed to both his Riflemen and to achieving success on the battlefield. He had excelled on both accounts. His men quite evidently adored him and they showed him a loyalty and respect in a way that is reserved for only the very few and the very best. And it was clear to me that he walked the thin line between command and friendship with an ease and professionalism of one well beyond his years and experience.

“He was, in all respects, a natural Rifles officer. He was also a man blessed with complete integrity. This was a gift in the main although latterly proved less beneficial when pitching himself against his wily second in command at Monopoly, a game they often played together in the quieter moments in their patrol base in the Green Zone. But competitor he was, and his contribution to rugby or a mess challenge with his closest of friends will be very much missed.

“His parting has come too soon, by far. Dan had so much to give, so much to look forward to and so many opportunities ahead of him. The Rifles has been denied one of our best, and a professional commander for the future has been taken from us.

“But our tragic loss is insignificant compared to that of his family; his mother, father, brother and Amy, all of whom he loved so much. And so to them we offer prayers and our thoughts, and our thanks too, for sharing with us someone so very special. Dan will never be forgotten and our memories of him will forever be cherished. Swift and Bold.”