Harry honours sacrifice of soldier who died helping safeguard wildlife

The Duke of Sussex has honoured the sacrifice of a British soldier who died helping to safeguard endangered wildlife in Malawi.

Harry laid a wreath at a simple memorial to Guardsman Mathew Talbot in Milawi’s Liwonde National Park, where the serviceman was killed after being charged by an elephant while on an anti-poaching patrol with local rangers in May.

Guardsman Talbot, 22, of the Coldstream Guards, was on his first deployment and was passionate about his work training Malawians to protect animals like elephants and rhinos.

Mathew Talbot
Mathew Talbot was killed by an elephant while on counter poaching operations (Ministry of Defence/PA)

Harry has written to his family on two occasions and took a plaque they commissioned for the memorial with him when he travelled to Africa.

The duke’s handwritten message attached to the wreath read: “In grateful memory of Guardsman Talbot who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his country and conservation. Rest in Peace.”

Troops from the 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles, the latest contingent of British troops to take part in anti-poaching operations in Malawi, were formed up near the memorial as a mark of respect.

Brigadier Tom Bateman, in charge of all counter-poaching deployment, gave a brief eulogy to the guardsman he knew, and before laying a wreath said: “Mathew Talbot was a young soldier in the early stages of his career as a Coldstream guardsman.

The Duke of Sussex laid a wreath
The Duke of Sussex laid a wreath (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“Fired with enthusiasm for conservation and specifically counter-poaching, his professionalism, personal courage, was a hallmark of who he was.

“He wanted nothing more than to deploy with his battalion, who are scheduled to go on operations in Iraq next year.

“His selflessness in the face of adversity and his unique humour are typical of the characteristics of a British Army soldier – and we’re all immensely proud of him.

“It’s a sad day when we must gather to commemorate such a young brave life.”

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