Aged 42, Stuart Tootal was commissioned into the Queen’s Own Highlanders from Sandhurst in 1988. He initially served in Germany during the Cold War and completed several emergency tours of Northern Ireland during the ‘Troubles’. He saw active service as a reconnaissance platoon commander in the 1991 Gulf War and as the chief of staff of 1 PARA during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He has also completed two MOD staff appointments. First as a Major in the Army’s strategic planning department and then as the Lieutenant Colonel military assistant to the Assistant Chief of the General Staff, a role for which he was awarded the OBE.
He was selected to command the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) in 2005. This included commanding the first UK Battle Group of 1200 soldiers to be sent to Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan in 2006, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The fighting 3 PARA participated in during their six month tour of duty in Afghanistan has been described as the most intense combat the British Army has experienced since the Korean War. It involved 498 engagements with the Taliban and the expenditure of over 479,000 rounds of ammunition. Fifteen members of the Battle Group were killed in action and another 46 were wounded in combat. The numerous gallantry awards for the Battle Group included a posthumous Victoria Cross and George Cross. On returning to the UK, he set up the 3 PARA Afghan Trust charity. The charity provides support to the seriously wounded soldiers and the next of kin of those members of 3 PARA that were killed in the fighting.
We are also hoping to have some of 3 Para, who fought with Stuart joining us, they will be happy to sign items with a donation being made to the Afganistan Trust.
About the Trust
The Afghanistan Trust was formed on 15 March 2007, it was formed to help support soldiers and their families who have served with 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan and who have been wounded or killed as a consequence.
It was given charitable status in November 2007, (registered charity number is 1121647) and since then has made donations of approximately £15,000 to injured soldiers to help with mobility vehicles, to help provide accommodation for the families of those killed to attend remembrance services and also to help with transport costs for the families of those who have been seriously injured.
Its charitable objects are:
1. The relief in need of soldiers of the Battalion injured in Afghanistan and families of soldiers of the Battalion killed or injured in Afghanistan by the provision of welfare services, support and financial assistance and such other charitable means as the trustees see fit.
2. To promote the military efficiency of the Battalion by sustaining the memories of the loss of life and sacrifices made by the soldiers of the Battalion in Afghanistan by such charitable means as the trustees see fit.
As the Battalion deploys for a second operational tour in Afghanistan the need for the fund will continue to grow as more soldiers are wounded or killed.
Please support the charity with us.
Book signed by
Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Tootal DSO OBE