John was killed whilst on duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was aged 22 and came from Ferndown. A charity, the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, JTYAF, was set up in his name and it has just announced the publication of John’s Afghanistan diaries in a new book entitled ‘Helmand: Diaries of Front-Line Soldiers’. With all royalties from sales of the book being split equally between the JTYAF and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust, this book will, for the first time, offer an insight into the life that soldiers lead on operational deployment through the diaries of those who serve.
With John’s diary as the centrepiece, the tour on which he deployed (Op HERRICK 7) is depicted in fascinating detail from both his perspective, as well as from that of his Company Commander, Company Second-in-Command, his unit’s Padre, and a Royal Marine from the Fire Support Group which he commanded. The diaries afford an honest, emotional and gripping portrayal of the events which Charlie Company of 40 Commando Royal Marines experienced together during 2007 and 2008, from some very different viewpoints and perspectives.
In 2011 John’s brother, Ian, deployed to Afghanistan in command of 9 Platoon from the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, to an area of Helmand province not far from where John fell. Ian’s diaries are also included in the book to highlight the vast progress that has been achieved in Helmand since John’s deployment, and to show how, despite the fact that the challenges faced by our soldiers can change and evolve over the years, their humour, professionalism and steadfast resolve remains a constant throughout.
That none of these diaries were ever written with the intention of achieving publication makes them all the more valuable and sincere. ‘Helmand: Diaries of Front-Line Soldiers’ will be published by Osprey Publishing on 20 May 2013, and is available for pre-order, at a discounted price, at http://www.amazon.co.uk/ now.