Matthew James Stenton
Date of birth: 30.7.1986
Date of death: 21.7.2010
Regiment: Royal Dragoon Guards
On leaving school at 16 he joined the army, attending the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. In May 2004 he joined the Royal Dragoon Guards and rose to the rank of Corporal.
He became one of the army’s youngest Tank Commanders.
Matthew had already completed two tours of duty in Iraq and had only been in Afghanistan a few weeks when on 21st July 2010 he was needed to provide security for the building of Route Trident in Basharan, north of Lashkar Gah. He and his colleagues were protecting bomb disposal teams dealing with IED’s when they were ambushed by Taliban insurgents. One soldier was injured and with a total disregard for his own safety, Matthew manoeuvred the vehicle he was driving in order to rescue the casualty with Lance Corporal Stephen Monkhouse providing fire support. Tragically, as the casualty was being extracted, both men were killed by small arms fire.
Matthew was described by Major Denis James, Officer Commanding D (The Green Horse) Squadron as:
“an uncomplicated man and the kindest of friends; he was also a hard, tenacious soldier who always fought for what he believed in.”
Another of his colleagues wrote that he was:
“always amongst the laughter, he shone through, always willing to listen and to lend a helping hand. Not one to keep to himself he led from the front and was someone to look up to.”
(Taken from the Ministry of Defence website)
Matthew’s body was returned from Helmand and buried in Catterick Garrison Military Cemetery. On 25th March 2011 Matthew was awarded a posthumous Military Cross – the third highest award for gallantry. His father and step mother were presented with it at a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Matthew is also remembered with a bench in the war memorial gardens in Bridlington where his family now live.
Matthew was born in Wakefield on 30th July 1986. He lived in Wrenthorpe with his parents and sister, Charlotte, and went to Cathedral High School. He was a keen member of the 31st Wakefield (St Anne’s) Wrenthorpe scout group.