Announcement of fatality

It is with regret that the MOD must announce the death of Captain Dean Sprouting of the Adjutant General’s Corps at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on 31st January 2018.

He was serving with Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland. The incident is currently under investigation, but we can confirm that it was not the result of enemy activity.


Captain Dean Sprouting joined the Army in 1989.  On the successful completion of his basic training he joined the Royal Green Jackets (RGJ) before transferring to the Adjutant General’s Corps (AGC), Staff and Personnel Support (SPS) Branch in 1991.   During his twenty-nine years of service, Captain Sprouting had served in a number of operational theatres including Northern Yugoslavia, Cyprus and Kosovo.

In 2011 he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.  Having been awarded his Late Entry Commission, Captain Sprouting joined the Regimental Administration Office of 3 SCOTS, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland in late 2017 from Headquarters 51st Infantry Brigade and deployed to Iraq on 4 Jan 18 for Op SHADER 6.

Captain Sprouting, of Denny, Stirlingshire, was a hugely experienced and respected man.  In addition to his operational tours he had served in Sudan, Angola and Germany, and he had accumulated a huge amount of professional knowledge as a result.  As the Detachment Commander of a small human resources team Captain Sprouting was responsible for looking after the administrative support required to maintain 300 British Service Personnel on operations.

He had seamlessly settled into the role, dispensing advice and support in equal measure. He was genuinely excited at the prospect of deploying on operations and relished the responsibility he was entrusted with.  He looked after his small team with paternal care, not only developing the professional knowledge of those with less experience but also ensuring they were happy and coping with the demands of an operational tour. He epitomised the Army value of selfless commitment and he was never anything other than a joy to be around.

However, Captain Sprouting’s love of the military paled in comparison to the love he had for his wife and two children and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.  The entirety of 3 SCOTS, the Adjutant General’s Corps and all those lucky enough to know Dean Sprouting will miss him dreadfully. 

Major Joe Petty, Adjutant General’s Corps, said:

“A well-known, popular and highly respected member of the AGC(SPS), Dean’s passing will come as a great shock to his colleagues and many friends within the Branch.  He was an immensely professional officer who was intensely proud of the work of the SPS Branch.  A mentor to many young soldiers and officers, Dean will be remembered fondly for the care that he took of those in his charge, and the diligence shown in the delivery of his duties.  Always approachable and hugely capable, Dean’s character was self-effacing, generous and warm; he was the epitome of our Late Entry Officer community.

“One of life’s real characters, Dean will be remembered for his old fashioned values, good humour and generosity of spirit.  He was a man with a big heart which often sat squarely on his sleeve, which he tried to hide behind a straight-laced exterior.  Those that truly got to know Dean, will have valued his loyalty, honesty and the vigour at which he lived his life; fun was always on his agenda, followed by a good meal and a glass of wine.  Having only recently commissioned, Dean’s passing will be a considerable loss to the SPS Branch and to a Detachment that have now been deprived of his leadership, stewardship and care.

“Devoted entirely to Linda and his two sons Oliver and Harry, his love for the Army was only ever out shadowed by the love that he had for them.  His loss will be felt greatly by all, and our most sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies are extended to his family at this time.”

Lt Col Rob Hedderwick Commanding Officer, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“It is hard to do justice to a man such as Dean Sprouting with simple words.  In no time at all he had become an indispensable part of the battalion, not only for his professional expertise but also for his compassionate manner and camaraderie.  His intelligence and sharp wit was apparent from the outset; there was an ever-present twinkle in his eye and he would gladly admit that his youth had been full of adventure.  Dean was simply one of those people whose infectious humour and enthusiasm drew others to him and he was already a well-known figure within the battalion.  His professional knowledge was second to none, his sage advice already something I had come to rely on. His loss is keenly felt by us all and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children whom I know he cherished more than anything else in this world. I am hugely proud and thankful to have known him. He was a very good man.

Major Jim Reid, Battalion Second in Command, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“I had known Dean by professional reputation for two years before we had the opportunity to work together in the preparation for and deployment to Iraq.  The task of taking over an operational role from another unit is always frenetic and I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside him; it was clear to see that he enjoyed the task in hand and his diligence and professionalism shone through in all that he did.

Deploying with a unit on operations brings with it a sense of camaraderie that is hard to replicate elsewhere and I had the good fortune of sharing a room with him for our first few days.  Dean was great company, and, as is often the case with a soldier of his long service, he had plenty of tales to tell and we found that we had a number of friends in common.  What also became apparent was that we had a shared affliction in the form of a gentle snoring habit, so when the opportunity allowed I gave Dean some space and moved out.  It was a welcome relief to us both, although we could never agree who was the worst offender!

Dean Sprouting was the embodiment of a professional administrator who worked tirelessly in support of the battalion and as the Second in Command, I hugely appreciated his help and support.  It is with great sadness that our friendship has been cut short and a large number of current and former colleagues will feel his loss.  I can only express my heartfelt sympathy to his wife, sons and their family; their loss is immeasurably greater than ours can ever be and my thoughts are foremost with them at this tragic time.”

Captain Ian Houston, Battlegroup Logistics Officer, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“Dean had recently arrived in the battalion and had integrated well.  He was already gaining a reputation amongst the soldiers as a thorough and helpful Detachment Commander, always willing to offer his advice and wisdom in a cheerful manner.  Dean often spoke of his family and how proud he was as a father and husband.  Dean’s warm character and cheery disposition will be sadly missed.”

Captain Craig Treasure, Operations Officer, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“I have been privileged to serve alongside Captain Dean Sprouting over the last few months.  In just a short space of time he made a positive and enduring impact on our battalion.  In work he balanced attentiveness, compassion and joviality; a combination that only a select few can achieve. 

His family was never far from his thoughts and would routinely be brought up in conversation.  His love and admiration for his family was clear for all to see and I offer my sincerest condolences to them at this tragic time.  Dean’s advice and companionship will be sorely missed”.

Captain Paul Brown, Regimental Administration Officer, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“I first met Dean when we both attended the All Ranks Brief in preparation for Op SHADER.  Dean was about to attend the Detachment Commanders Course while I was about to attend the Regimental Administration Officers Course, both held at the Personnel Administration Training Wing, Worthy Down.  An extremely likeable character, we spent the week discussing our future appointments and deployment on Op SHADER.  Dean was extremely enthusiastic about his new role and for taking command of his detachment and was keen to provide administrative support to the battalion in Iraq.

Sharing a Mess at Worthy Down, both courses interacted throughout.  It was clear to see that Dean was a popular and valued member of his cohort; he had a depth of expertise and was a great source of support and mentoring for newer members of our Corps.

Our arrival at the battalion was during the final stages of preparation for the operation.  At all times he remained focussed on the needs of the detachment and battalion while also ensuring he spent time with his wife Linda and sons Oliver and Harry.  Dean was a dedicated professional and a true family man.  He will be sadly missed by the Corps, battalion and all that knew him.  My thoughts go out to all Dean’s family and friends.”

Warrant Officer Class 1 Kevin Stacey, Regimental Sergeant Major, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“Captain Sprouting had only just started with 3 SCOTS but he had already made a big impression on me.  I had got to know him quickly in Iraq and had found him to be a deeply professional and diligent man who was great fun to be around.  I could tell immediately that he was going to be a great addition to the battalion, not only professionally but also socially.  I can only imagine the pain and hurt his family are going through but I feel deeply privileged to have met Captain Sprouting and to have spent time with him.  My deepest sympathies and condolences go to his family”.

Warrant Officer Class One Tam Millsip, Visiting Warrant Officer, 51 Infantry Brigade said:

“I knew Dean for more than two years and we were next door neighbours for much of this time.  The way Dean conducted his duties as the Visiting Warrant Officer Class 1 spoke volumes for who he was as a person.  Dean’s warm, personable nature was never diluted while conducting his duties and those who he had dealings with were always left smiling after Dean imparted his unique wisdom and outlook on life.

“Dean was a tremendously entertaining man to be around.  He would bring a great deal of joy and laughter to those around him often at the expense of himself; there was never a boring day spent with Dean and my thoughts go out to his family at this very sad time”.

Warrant Officer Class Two Sharon Young, Regimental Administration Warrant Officer, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“I first met Captain Dean Sprouting when he commenced his appointment as Visiting Warrant Officer in 51st Infantry Brigade.  An external inspection is not normally an occasion to look forward to and at the end of the first day, I did wonder what had hit the battalion as Capt Sprouting assessed and scrutinised our work.  By the end of the second day however it was clear that he was a consummate professional and his assistance then, and in the future, would only bring improvement to the unit and brigade.  Captain Sprouting was a larger than life character and his loss will not only be felt in the battalion, but across the entire Corps.  My thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.”

Lance Corporal Rebecca Rhodes, Human Resources Administrator, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“It’s strange how close you can become to a person on operations. With this being my first tour I was initially apprehensive about it.  These feelings soon disappeared when Captain Sprouting and I got into our work routine.  He would lift my mood with one of his sarcastic jokes or his facts about old music that would play on the radio.  He made me feel like I could talk about anything with ease.  My colleagues and I would have competitions with him on our fitness watches, whoever had the least steps in the day would fetch the ice creams at evening meal.  I think he would do laps of the building to always make sure he didn’t lose!  Meal times would be entertainment in itself with his stories and his love for covering his food in hot sauce.  He tried to make it homely here by getting the largest rug on sale and dragged us along with him to haggle the cheapest two for one deal.  The daily banter between us made working with him a pleasure.  We became a good team and I loved how enthusiastic he was about his love for his wife (his childhood sweetheart) and his two sons.  I only knew him for just under a month but grew the greatest respect for him.  My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

Lance Corporal Stephanie Bell-Bailey, D Company Administrator, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“Captain Dean Sprouting arrived in 3 SCOTS in a bit of a whirlwind!  The first time the other Junior Non-Commissioned Officers and I met him was on our Mission Readiness Exercise prior to deploying to Iraq. Capt Sprouting did everything he possibly could to prepare us for our future role in the weeks leading up to the deployment and he was an excellent role model.  Although only with 3 SCOTS for a short time, he will be hugely missed by the Detachment and Battalion.  Our thoughts are very much with his wife Linda and his two sons Oliver and Harry.”