Friends pay tribute to “rock star in uniform”
SOLDIERS who served alongside Jonathan Woodgate and grew to become great friends have paid tribute to him, one saying he was “a rock star in uniform”.
Captain Rhys Smith, of Brigade Reconnaissance Force, said L/Cpl Woodgate was “respected by everyone’’ as a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.
“He was a great leader, with operational experience matched by very few others.
“He was a fantastic soldier and a man of great courage and personality.’’
Lance Corporal of Horse James Griffin, Brigade Reconnaissance Force, described L/Cpl Woodgate as “a rock star in uniform’’.
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He said words could not express the pain of losing “the friendliest man I’ve ever known’’.
“He had damn good taste and a love for whiskey, good whiskey, expensive clothes, even more expensive watches, beautiful women and rock ‘n’ roll.
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“My best friend lived by the sword and died by the sword. He wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“To all who knew him, he was a legend.’’
Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison, A Squadron Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR), said: “I’ve known Jo for years and he was a good friend and an exemplary solider who could adapt to anything he put his hand to.
“Once in a lifetime an outstanding soldier joins the Army and thank God Jo joined the HCR.’’
Lance Corporal Ronnie Rincon, of Brigade Reconnaissance Force, said L/Cpl Woodgate had “not one bad bone in his body’’, adding: “You knew when you were with him everyone would be okay.’’
Other colleagues spoke of his genuine nature and his stylish appearance even while on operations.
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: “Lance Corporal of Horse Jonathan Woodgate was clearly a man of tremendous character who inspired those around him to reach their best.
“It’s obvious having read the tributes paid to him that he was a fiercely capable soldier who had served with tremendous courage and distinction in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.
“His loss must come as a terrible blow for his family, friends and his fellow soldiers of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force.
“My thoughts will stay with them at this very difficult time.’’