THE inquest of a sapper who was killed in Afghanistan whilst doing his job is due to start today.
The two day hearing into the death of Sapper William Blanchard, who was shot as he was dealing with a suspected roadside bomb in the Nahr-e Saraj North region on October 30 last year, begins this morning in Portsmouth.
The 40-year-old, from Gosport, was serving with the 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army, as part of a team trained to deal with improvised explosive devices, known as IEDs.
The 39-year-old Army reservist was known as ‘The Colonel’ to colleagues and called a ‘wonderful husband, son, brother, father, brother-in-law, son-in-law and friend’ by his widow Suzanne
He also left a two children, Tom and Lucy Rees-Blanchard, and six brothers, Tom, Dan and Ned Blanchard and John, Chris and Shane Sargeant.
His father, the Reverend Canon Lawrence Blanchard, led the funeral in front of a packed Portsmouth Cathedral in November.
In his civilian life he worked as a radiation protection officer. He was deployed to Afghanistan last September after volunteering for action.