The RAF A400M with the coffin bearing Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon touched down at 13:30hrs. On landing, the aircraft made its way to the end of the runway where it was prepared before taxiing to the front of the base’s repatriation centre.
To the sound of a lone bugler playing the last post, the ramp ceremony commenced in front of her bereaved family, senior military figures and representatives of her regiment. LCpl Gillon’s coffin, borne by six of her comrades was carefully collected from rear of the aircraft and placed in a waiting hearse to be taken to the Repatriation Centre’s Chapel of Rest.
The funeral cortege left RAF Brize Norton via the Britannia Gate to proceed through the village of Brize Norton passing the memorial garden and its tolling bell. There to greet the hearse were several of Lance Corporal Gillon’s friends and colleagues, Members of the British Legion bowed their standards in honour as the hearse came to a stop in front of the garden of remembrance for friends and families to pay their respects and place flowers on the roof.
Colleagues pay their respects
LCpl Gillon, a sports physiotherapist in her civilian life, joined the Army Reserve in 2015 as a Combat Medical Technician as part of the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry.
She deployed in November 2019 with the Irish Guards Battlegroup to Iraq on Op SHADER, the British military’s contribution to the multi-national coalition delivering training and mentoring to Iraqi Security Forces in support of their fight against Daesh.
LCpl Gillon was a hugely popular member of the medical team and was well respected for her professional competence and her willingness and desire to help others. Her colleagues in the Irish Guards Battlegroup with whom she was deployed, remember her as an inspiring and dedicated soldier.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Money, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Irish Guards said:
“LCpl Brodie Gillon of the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry was serving as a medic attached to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards Battlegroup on Operation Shader 10 in Taji, Iraq when she was tragically killed by enemy action on the night of Wednesday 11th March 2020.
“A bright, confident and highly competent soldier, she was liked and respected by all who knew her. She served the men and women of the Irish Guards fantastically well during her time with us, quickly fitting in and making friends across the Battlegroup as we played our part in the vital work of training Iraqi and Kurdish Security Forces.
“The Irish Guards and those from across the Coalition of nations working in Iraq have been enriched by her professionalism and character. It was typical of LCpl Gillon that she had been generously offering physiotherapy in her own time to anyone who needed it and had been recognised for her performance and potential with recent promotion.
“The thoughts and prayers of all Irish Guardsmen and those deployed on Op Shader 10 are with her family and friends at home in Ayrshire.”
Captain Parke, Battlegroup Logistic Liaison Officer, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, said:
“On meeting LCpl Gillon at pre-deployment training, I knew she would settle into the Irish Guards easily. I had the pleasure of living next door to her in our accommodation and was always greeted with a friendly ‘Hello Sir’ when we met. In her role she was the ultimate professional, treating everyone in a friendly and professional manner. The Irish Guards Battlegroup have lost a hugely respected soldier and I pass on my prayers and condolences to LCpl Gillon’s family.”
Lance Corporal Harry Towers, 4th Battalion The Rifles Sect 2ic, said:
“Brodie was a caring and loveable woman. She would always give up her time to benefit the guys down at the training team with advanced med training and scenarios. She was an outstanding soldier and the definition of selfless commitment. I will miss her, and we will remember her.”
Craftsman Teece, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, said:
“I got to know Brodie quite well; she was a fun, bubbly and outgoing girl and we enjoyed many funny evenings together among friends back in camp. I am hurt at the recent events and my thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Lance Corporal Hamilton, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, said:
“I knew Brodie not only as a work colleague but as a friend. She inspired many and left fond memories with everyone she met. Until we meet again. See you in the re-org Brodie.”
Guardsman Williams, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, said:
“Brodie was more than just a friend to me; she was a person I could not only trust but also care for. We shared many conversations and many fond memories. She is sorely missed, and I hope she is now at peace. Rest easy soldier, your duty is done.”
Lance Corporal Wilson, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, said:
“Brodie will be sorely missed by everyone. I am honoured to have called her a friend. She touched everyone’s hearts since joining us. We will never forget her. Rest easy kid.”
Drummer McDowell, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, said:
“Even though I only knew Brodie for just short of a year, she was a person I knew I could trust. She always had a huge smile on her face; she was honestly one of the nicest people I have ever met. She will be sorely missed, and I will never forget her. Rest easy Brodie.”
Sapper Salmon, 29 Field Squadron, 21 Engineer Regiment, said:
My Dearest Brodie and I started a journey and only recently spoke about the end of the tour and going forward. Brodie became indispensable to the Battlegroup and made a huge impact during her time in Camp Taji. She was passionate in the way that she treated her peers and there was never a dull moment with you, especially with your strong Scottish accent. Rest in peace.
Her family said:
"Our hearts are irreparably broken at the loss of our beautiful, bright and fun-loving Brodie. She brought immeasurable love, fun and energy to our lives and was so generous in every way. She was determined and tenacious, wonderfully funny, courageous and caring.
"Brodie was a force of nature, a strong independent young woman. She was fierce, with a strong mind and a sensitive soul. Her healing and strength will guide us as we carry on without her, for her."
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“From the warm testimonies of those who served with her, it’s clear that LCpl Gillon was held in the highest regard and was a shining example of what our Armed Forces stand for, inspiring those around her and always putting others first.
“My thoughts go out to her loved ones at this incredibly difficult time and we will ensure they receive all the necessary support.”