John Rodgers: The soldiers' soldier whose love for the Army was only outmatched by his love for Lynette
John Rodgers, the newlywed who drowned alongside his wife Lynette while the couple were on honeymoon, has been described as the "soldiers' soldier" whose love for the army was only outmatched by his love for his wife.
Corporal Rodgers - or Rodney as he was affectionately known - joined B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, The Queen’s Own Yeomanry in April 2005 at the age of 18.
In a Facebook posting, the squadron paid tribute to their comrade.
It described how John was "naturally ahead of his time and many of his peer group" and quickly rose through the ranks.
The squadron said his abilities and training made him the "go to" person and often he would have been the "unsung hero" of many of its events.
"This was a capacity few other squadron [junior officers] possessed and demonstrated the distinct uniqueness and presence that Cpl Rodgers had in his squadron," said the Facebook post.
On the day of his promotion to corporal, the squadron leader said John "exemplifies the type of Junior NCO required in today’s Light Cavalry. He is experienced, driven and is proactive in all of his work."
Such was his dedication to the squadron that whilst preparing for his marriage to Lynette, he continued to be "unswerving" in his commitment and attendance to training events.
"This was up to and including the week before his Wedding, having specifically visited with the Squadron Leader to hand over an unpaid bar tab from the week before. A measure of his attention to detail on all fronts," the post added.
Lieutenant Colonel James Campbell-Barnard MBE, Commanding Officer, The Scottish & North Irish Yeomanry paid his respects: "The Regiment has lost both a good friend and an excellent soldier.
"Dedicated, highly respected and loyal, Cpl Rodgers had served with such distinction within B (North Irish Horse) Squadron over the past 10 years.
"One is now left to ponder what he would have undoubtedly achieved over the coming years.
"Inevitably both his and Lynette’s deaths have been so very keenly felt by his squadron colleagues and across the regiment as a whole.
"He will be sorely missed by us all."
Major Mark Gannon, Officer Commanding B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, added: "Corporal Rodgers was outstanding in his commitment to his squadron and regiment, it is clear that his family upbringing shaped him into a soldier’s soldier and although he joined the Territorial Army as a youth, he became a man held in the highest regard in today’s Army Reserve.
He continued: "Corporal Rodgers had the ability of influencing so many of his peers and was trusted deeply by the chain of command.
"The loss of Corporal Rodgers cuts deep into the squadron both professionally, but more profoundly it is a personal loss to us all.
"He is irreplaceable as a character, as a soldier and as a brother to many.
"His love of the Squadron and his service was only outmatched greatly by the love of his Wife, Lynette. We had warm occasions with them both and their wedding was a celebration for many.
"We will miss them both dearly."
Belfast Telegraph Digital