Service to be held in memory of fallen heroes 10 years after they were killed in action

HONOURED: Craig Hopson and James Backhouse were killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009.
HONOURED: Craig Hopson and James Backhouse were killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009.

A memorial ride and service are to be held to mark the 10th anniversary of the deaths of Rifleman James Backhouse and Bombardier Craig Hopson.

James Backhouse, 18, was killed in Afghanistan on July 10, 2009, while attempting to help his injured colleagues.

Less than a month later, Craig Hopson, a new father, died while on vehicle patrol in Helmand Province, at the age of just 24.

Both will be remembered as part of the memorial, which is to be held in Castleford on Sunday, July 21.

The memorial ride will visit the war memorials in each of the Five Towns before returning to the Royal British Legion, in Castleford, for a memorial service at noon.

A lounge at Castleford Ex-Services Club will also be renamed the Backhouse Hopson Memorial Lounge.

Bill Waters, who has helped to organise the memorial, wants to see as many people as possible at the event.

He said: “I remember 10 years ago doing my first poppy appeal and I remember the outpouring of grief in the whole town.

“I want as many people to come as possible because I think this is a big thing in Castleford and the surrounding area.

“I think it’s only right that we show our support. I want to just get as many people as possible to come and show their support to those families.

“Even 10 years on they still feel just as deeply as when they first got the knock on the door. You never get over losing a child.

“A lot of people knock Castleford but I think when the chips are down the town does pull together.”

Visit www.facebook.com/events/647787005740940 for more information on the memorial service.

The Lowland Gunners

Craig Hopson was a member of the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, known as the Lowland Gunners.

Formed in 1947, the regiment saw its first major action in the infamous Suez Crisis of 1956, before becoming involved in the Borneo Crisis of the mid-1960s.

Originally created with the Yorkshire 60th West Riding Regiment at its core, it was later based in Northern Ireland.

The battalion’s final tour of duty was Afghanistan, before it was disbanded in 2012.

The 2nd Battalion The Rifles

Known as 2 Rifles, James Backhouse’s battalion is comprised of around 550 Riflemen.

Since being formed in 2007, the Riflemen completed two tours of Iraq and four of Afghanistan, and were later deployed to Kosovo, Gabon, Somalia and South Sudan.

In more recent years, the battalion have been deployed to the USA and have undertaken ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace.

2 Rifles also host the Regiment’s boxing team and has recently had two Riflemen selected for the English Boxing Team in the build up to the Commonwealth Games.