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Tributes as bomb victim laid to rest

PUBLISHED: 15:30 12 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:48 16 September 2010

Richard Batson

Family, friends and former paratroop colleagues packed a seaside village church to pay tribute to a young Norfolk security guard killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq.

Family, friends and former paratroop colleagues packed a seaside village church to pay tribute to a young Norfolk security guard killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq.

Nic Crouch, 29, was a private security guard protecting United Army engineers building a hospital in the city of Mosul when the bomber struck on July 19.

Three hundred people attended his funeral at Trimingham on Friday August 6 in a service which remembered him as a fun-loving gentle giant of a man who could be caring as well as a warrior.

Uniformed soldiers were among the mourners and pallbearers. And a Parachute Regiment bugler sounded the last post as his coffin was lowered into a grave to be showered by roses from his parents, sister and the girlfriend Nic aimed to propose to on the nearby clifftop when he returned home on leave next month.

Former Gresham's school pupil Nic Crouch graduated from Sandhurst in 2000 and served Northern Ireland and as a training instructor before switching to a civilian security role in 2005, working in Afghansitan and then Iraq.

His duties included close protection, but he also went beyond the call of duty to help deal with casualties in the Afghan hospital.

His father Clive said the family's anger at his life being “snuffed out” by the bomber had subsided a little, helped by the knowledge the perpetrator was condemned to purgatory rather than paradise under the laws of the Koran.

Nic would be rememebered as a soldier's soldier who was proud to serve, loyal to his men, a total professional, but who also had a great sense of humour.

“He was enigmatic, able to be Nic the warrior as well as a gentle caring young man,” said Mr Crouch, who thanked the big turnout of mourners, who had come from as far afield as Canada, Turkey and close to where Nic died.

Nic's final letter - in which he also asked for the bravery and work of civilian workers in trouble spots to be recognised - also said “however premature my death, I enjoyed my life”.

Sister Rebecca said they often fought as paratrooper and politics student but were actually united by “both battling for a better future”. Mother Barbara did a reading called Too Short and girlfriend Jessica Richards, a nurse he met in Camp Bastion, another called Into My Arms.

Retired military Padre Tony Rose said Nic's death was a reminder of the work being done to reconstruct places like Iraq.

During a collection for the Combat Stress charity which supports veterans with mental health issues, the mourners listened to Dire Straits Brothers in Arms.


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