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Yarmouth mum's tribute to soldier son

PUBLISHED: 09:18 09 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 03 July 2010

He was the epitome of the British army regimental sergeant major who would gladly lay down his life for his men and expect the highest soldiering standards in return.

He was the epitome of the British army regimental sergeant major who would gladly lay down his life for his men and expect the highest soldiering standards in return.

But as well as his devotion to the Grenadier Guards these pictures show the caring side of 40-year Darren Chant who served 23 years for his Queen and country.

But tragically only pictures and fond memories remain of the loving father of three who was murdered by a rogue Afghanistan policeman on Tuesday.

Last night his grieving Great Yarmouth mother Elizabeth Chant paid an emotional tribute to her hero son who was gunned down along with four colleagues in arms.

RSM Chant, 40, had been in the army since 1986 and was one of the Grenadier Guards' most experienced soldiers having served in the 1991 Iraq War, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and previously in Afghanistan.

He had pulled troops out of a burning tank in the first Gulf War and rescued a badly wounded colleague in Afghanistan.

The recently remarried of father of three, who grew up in Luton, was killed by the Afghan policeman in the Nad-e-Ali district on the day he was due to be told he was to promoted to an officer.

As his mother spoke warmly of her son last night, Mrs Chant, who has lived in Yarmouth since the 1987 also questioned whether British troops should continue serving and dying in the war town country.

She said: “I am so proud of him. He was the bravest boy ever. All he ever wanted to be was a soldier. He wanted to be in the best regiment and I never thought of trying to change his mind.”

Mrs Chant said that her son had complained about the cold weather in Afghanistan and his wife, Nausheen, who married him in August would send him blankets and socks.

Mrs Chant added: “He would tell me he was shattered because he was cold at nights. He would also say the enemy were like rats because no matter how many they killed there would always be more.

“Everyday now we are hearing about more young boys killed over there. They should all come home and the government should spend money on providing them with decent accommodation - my son lived like a peasant in some barracks.”

RSM Chant had three children - Connor, 16, Adam, 10 and Victoria, eight with his first wife Connie. He married Nausheen in August after he met her Sandhurst and she is due to give birth to their child in three months' time. He had three brothers.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence his father John, said: “The whole world should know that Darren Chant was the best father any child could have wished for. He adored and lived for his children. He strived to be the best at everything he did.

“He was very passionate about the military and believed the British Army were doing a good job in Afghanistan. He was a first class soldier, always putting the needs of his men before himself. He was always the first to volunteer.

“We feel cheated as we know that we will never experience his quick wit and dry sense of humour again. His loss has devastated everyone who knew him and he will be missed and loved forever."

RSM Chant's commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Roly Walker, of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said: “Darren Chant, the 'Sarn't Major' at the hands of men he was helping. His death is profoundly sad for the Grenadier Guards and our Battle Group.

“He was the senior soldier, and cast from the original model of a Guards Regimental Sergeant Major. He was such a big character. “He knew the answer to all our problems; he could make anyone laugh; and he worked tirelessly for everyone in the Battle Group.

“He relished the opportunity to put himself where his soldiers were. He had a deep instinctive wish to make a positive difference to the lives of our soldiers and the Afghans, so he put himself forward to better understand the operation from the ground up.”

The other four soldiers murdered by the Afghan policeman were: Grenadier Guards soldiers Sgt Matthew Telford, 37, and Guardsman James Major, 18 and military policemen Cpl Nick Webster-Smith, 24, and Cpl Steven Boote aged 22.

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