University pays tribute to Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas
Release Date 06 May 2014
The Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, has paid tribute to a soldier and Reading graduate who has died while on operational duty in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas died alongside four other British servicemen when their Lynx helicopter crashed outside Kandahar airbase in the south of the country on 26 April.
The 26-year-old, who was born in Brecon, Powys, graduated from the University of Reading in 2009 with a BA in War, Peace and International Relations. During his time at Reading, Lance Corporal Thomas was a member of the University's Officer Training Corps.
After moving to London, Lance Corporal Thomas worked in the office of a Member of Parliament and became an Army Reservist in 2011, joining 3 Military Intelligence Battalion the following year. He volunteered to serve in Afghanistan and had been in the country since December 2013.
Sir David said: "Everyone associated with the University of Reading will be saddened to hear of the death of Lance Corporal Thomas. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.
"It is particularly poignant that we only recently held a service to recognise those from the University who lost their lives in the First World War. This terrible tragedy reminds us, a century on, that our graduates are still putting their lives at risk in the service of their country."
His Battalion's Commanding Officer said that Lance Corporal Thomas was "enthusiastic and highly capable", while his immediate Officer Commanding paid tribute to a soldier who was "bright, gifted, with an enquiring mind, and laser-focused on the task in hand" and had a "keen sense of wit".
His family said: "Oliver was a truly amazing person, living his life to the full, while fulfilling some of his many dreams and adventures. He was very much loved and will be greatly missed by his grieving family and friends."