War hero died doing the job he loved, say proud family

Captain Barrie is pictured with his mum, Georgina
Captain Barrie is pictured with his mum, Georgina

A GRIEVING family has paid emotional tributes to an Army officer who was tragically shot dead during a football match on Remembrance Sunday.

Captain Walter Reid Barrie, from Auchinloch, was playing in a football game between British and Afghan soldiers in the Nad ‘Ali district of Helmand province in Afghanistan when he was shot at close range by a memebr of the Afghan aramy.

The 41-year-old had been mentoring and advising members of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Walter was married to Sonia and father to their 15-year-old son Callum.

Walter served with The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and was based at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh.

He was with the Army for 25 years.

Walter’s devastated family described him as a “great guy, who died doing a job he loved.”

His sister Donna Scott told the Herald: “He will be sadly missed by a lot of people. We were in disbelief of it all, but when we saw his picture and his name on the news it all became real.

“Before we were told the news on Sunday we were wearing poppies and thinking of Walter in Afghanistan. He was a great guy and a fantastic dad who loved his family very much. Walter was very particular in the things he did and was called Pamphlet Barrie because everything he did was by the book.

“Since he was a wee boy he wanted to join the army. The army was his life.

“He died doing a job he loved. We are really proud of him.”

Donna believes that the troops should be brought home before any more service men and women are killed.

She added: “We’re angry that they are trying to help Afghanistan and train their army to let our boys come home and they turn and shoot.”

Walter’s wife Sonia paid tribute to her husband. She said: “He was great man, a doting and amazing father and a fantastic husband.

“He was much loved and will be missed by many.”

His mum Georgina described him as “the best boy in the world”.

Walter was a pupil at Auchinloch Primary and Lenzie Academy. He was brought up by his gran Jean who stayed just down the road from his mum.

Walter’s aunts – Jean, Margaret and Iris – also helped with his upbringing. His dad Walter and brother Brian have both passed away. His brother Allan lives in Kirkintilloch.

Walter will also be missed by his stepdad Robert and his nephews and nieces – Robbie, who is also his godson, Lee, Tom, Bonnie and Lauren.

The captain joined 1st Battalion The Royal Highland Fusiliers when he was 16-years-old.

He served on operations in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, as well as completing a tour of Afghanistan in 2008.

Walter was deployed to Afghanistan on August 31.

He was a huge fan of Rangers Football Club, was a Football Association coach and a keen skier.

His future aspirations were to be promoted to major and attend Staff College.

Walter’s family would like to thank everyone for their support.

* THE Army also paid tribute to Captain Barrie, saying he was “renowned as an approachable and compassionate officer who cared deeply for the well-being of those around him and had unparalleled rapport with all ranks”.

Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Wrench, commanding officer of The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said: “My battalion and our regiment have lost both a soldiers’ soldier and an officers’ soldier.

“As a soldier he was an experienced and highly-professional infanteer. As a fellow officer he was a loyal, enthusiastic leader of soldiers and supportive brother officer.

“Captain Barrie’s role as an advisor to the Afghan Army was one he trained for, looked forward to and performed superbly.

“His ability to build relationships and rapport has always made an impact on those who met him. This was down to his enthusiasm for life, for youth and humanity.

“His winning personality and Glaswegian wit will be sorely missed as will the banter we often had as a result of his fanatical support for Glasgow Rangers.”

He added: “It is almost impossible to express the sadness we as a close Battalion are experiencing at this time.

“All of our thoughts, prayers and love remain with Sonia his wife, Callum his son and his wider family at this very difficult time.”

* RANGERS FC also saluted Captain Barrie. Players wore black armbands at the game against East Stirlingshire in memory of the Rangers season ticket holder.

Manager Ally McCoist said: “On behalf of all the players, directors and management team at Rangers I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to Captain Barrie’s family. I am sure there are no words of comfort that will ease their pain, but everyone at the club is thinking about them at this difficult time.

“Having read the tributes to Walter by family, friends and fellow members of the Armed Services, it is clear he was held in the highest regard by all who knew him.

“I also know he was a massive Rangers fan and his loss is undoubtedly a loss that will be felt by the football club as well.”

* Have you got a story, picture or comment? E-mail kirkyherald@jnscotland.co.uk

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