Fallen Warwick paratrooper Conrad’s memory will live on

WARWICK paratrooper Conrad Lewis was one of two soldiers killed by the same shot while on foot patrol in Afghanistan, an inquest heard last week.

Now the 22-year-old’s family say they plan to commemorate his life by helping other soldiers and their loved ones.

Pte Lewis, of 4th Battalion the Parachute Regiment, was killed in February in the Nad ‘Ali district of Helmand Province and flown home to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, where coroner David Ridley held an inquest last Friday.

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The inquest was told that on February 9, Pte Lewis and Pte Lewis Hendry were on a patrol from Qudrat checkpoint intended to reassure the local population and identify enemy firing points when they were shot at.

A bullet fired by an insurgent sniper hit Pte Hendry in the head and Pte Lewis in the neck as they were kneeling to look at a map.

Pte Lewis was killed instantly, but Pte Hendry was still conscious. His condition worsened as he was airlifted to Kandahar. Both were declared dead when they arrived at Camp Bastion.

Mr Ridley recorded the two soldiers had been unlawfully killed while on active service in Afghanistan.

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Speaking this week, Pte Lewis’s father Tony Lewis said it had helped knowing that his son did not suffer.

He said: “We will never move on but we will move on to the next stage of grieving.”

The family is now trying to raise money for two charities, Nowzad, which helped bring Peg, a dog Conrad and his battalion had adopted, back to the UK, and the Afghanistan Trust, which helps the Parachute Regiment and their families.

The family also plans to set up a not-for-profit business called 353 - Pte Lewis was the 353rd British serviceman to die in Afghanistan - which will help families who lose sons and daughters, supply items such as warmer coats and sleeping bags to serving soldiers and give work to servicemen and women discharged from service.

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He said: “It’s a voyage of discovery. Families in the business we are in find it very difficult and we are trying to help them and soldiers to get the equipment they need.”

Mr Lewis cited the Afghanistan Trust, the Royal British Legion and others who had supported the family, and stated his aim to donate any profits 353 made to them.

He said: “It is all the smaller charities who have helped us.”

Born in Bournemouth in 1988, Pte Lewis had moved to Warwickshire when Conrad was five and attended Claverdon Primary School pupil. He played football for Central Ajax and Racing Club Warwick and swam for Leamington Spa Swimming Club.

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Mr Lewis said neither he nor his son felt British involvement in Afghanistan was in vain.

He said: “He believed in what he was doing. He believed he was helping an oppressed people who were treated very inhumanely and he thought he was protecting us. Since 7/7 there has not been another incident.

“One of the bombs on July 7 was only 200m from my brother’s office.

“He was supporting his mates in the parachute regiment, helping people out there and defending our shores 3,000 or 4,000 miles away.”

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He added: “As long as we are clear that we can pull out and leave Afghanistan in a state so training centres don’t re-emerge and we have broken the back of the Taliban.

“When Conrad went to Qudrat girls couldn’t go to school and markets couldn’t trade. As they left, girls were going to school and a market had established itself outside the gates.”

Click on the link on the top right to donate to Howzad Dogs.

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