Tributes are pouring in for ‘lion-hearted’ soldier James Brynin from Pulborough who was killed in action while serving his country in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Brynin, 22, known to his friends as Jay, died on Tuesday October 15.
He is the first soldier from the village to have lost his life since 1948.
A memorial and peace garden will be planted near Pulborough Library and the village hall.
Pulborough parish councillor Martin Dale said: “We will be planting a memorial and peace Garden to commemorate the casualties - military and civilian - from Pulborough, and also to recognise the services and sacrifices made by the villagers on the home front during the two world wars.
“The project was to commemorate all casualties since WW1, which until this Tuesday (October 15) meant the last casualty was in 1948, so this project has become much more poignant.”
Horsham district councillor Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Colwaltham) added: “It’s the ultimate sacrifice. We all watch movies and war films but when we see the real thing we try to think what would I have done. Unless you’re there yourself you can’t comprehend for these soldiers.
“It’s always very sad.”
His family said: “Heart of a lion, we will always stand strong for you. We will never forget. Rest in peace.”
Horsham Youth Football Club said it is saddened to hear of the news as James was a ‘valued member of the squad’.
On its website, Hornets U18s Manager Ivan Raby pays tribute. He said: “I remember Jay well. He was a nice lad who was a popular member of the squad when he was with us. Whenever he played for the side he was a hard working and determined player who gave 100 per cent.”
James made four appearances for the Sussex County FA U16s Representative Squad in the 2006/7 season, whilst also playing for the Sussex Schools FA U16s.
His previous clubs include Chesworth Rovers, Horsham Youth, Lancing Rangers, Upper Beeding Youth, Worthing Youth and Worthing United Youth.
Lance Corporal Brynin, an Intelligence Corps soldier attached to 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), deployed to Task Force Helmand in August 2013 as an intelligence analyst working for a Light Electronic Warfare Team within the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) of 7th Armoured Brigade.
On the website James’ father, Efrem, is quoted as saying: “Jay died a hero, representing his country at the highest level possible, with the ultimate sacrifice.
“He loved football and particularly Brighton and Hove Albion.
“He played from age five until eighteen, then taking his chosen career path.
“We just want everyone to know what a special character he was, lionhearted, determined and completely driven. He will be eternally missed.”
In the early hours of October 15, the BRF deployed from Camp Bastion into the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province to counter an imminent threat to both the Afghan population and the International Security Assistance Force.
A statement from the Ministry of Defence reads: “Towards the end of the operation Lance Corporal Brynin’s section became the target of enemy fire. Together with a sniper and machine gunner of the BRF, Lance Corporal Brynin returned fire, but while extracting from the area he received a fatal gunshot wound.
“Such was his calibre, and having already served a tour in Afghanistan in 2012, he volunteered to train with the BRF and deployed back to Afghanistan in August 2013. Lance Corporal Brynin, who was known as Jay to his friends, excelled in the Army; he had already been selected for promotion to corporal, and had grand ambitions.”
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Purves, Royal Signals, Commanding Officer of 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said: “Bright and engaging, Lance Corporal Brynin was immensely popular and an outstanding soldier in every respect. Having already completed 1 tour to Afghanistan, his appointment to support the Brigade Reconnaissance Force was indicative of his talent and leadership qualities.
“He was fit, determined and genuinely wanted to make a difference. His selection for promotion to full corporal earlier this year highlighted his flair for his chosen profession.
“Full of energy and an avid fan of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, he was also involved in every aspect of regimental life. Always seeking excellence, he aspired to attend pre-parachute selection on his return from Afghanistan; his quality was such that I am confident he would have passed with flying colours.
“A member of a small and specialist cadre, his selfless sacrifice to those around him typifies his commitment and unflinching bravery. He will forever be remembered with pride by his regimental family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jay’s parents, his close family and friends at this difficult time.”