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Name John Robert Kelly
Nick Name "Swede"
Last Known Address Orr Avenue, Silksworth, Sunderland.
Family Circumstances Single. Son of Ann Swain and Dennis Kelly.

Unit of Service Light Dragoons
Number and Rank 25000055. Trooper.
Date & Place of Death 28th January 1996.  Titov Devar, Bosnia.

Grave Location

(If known)

St Mathews Churchyard



Section 9

Row      5

Grave    9 East

Where Commemorated
(if known)

Armed Forces Memorial National Arboretum

National Roll of Honour

Palace Barracks Memorial Gardens, Belfast.

Brothers in Arms Wall, Burdon Road, Sunderland.

New Silksworth War Memorial.

Light Dragoons Regimental Memorial, Leazes Park, Newcastle.

St Mathews Church, Memorial Book, New Silksworth, Sunderland.

Details of any Medals, conflict, training or operations which the deceased had participated in during service.

John Joined as a Junior Leader at Bovington, Dorset. John did two tour tours of Bosnia. After the amalgamation of various Hussar Regiments in 1992 the Light Dragoons were formed. The first tour of duty for active service was in Bosnia as part of the United Nations peace-keeping force in May 1994, 2 Recce squadrons were in Bosnia to support the Duke of Wellington's Own Regt and the R Anglian Regt. D Squadron were in Scimitars they ventured north into the notorious Maglaj Finger where the Croats and Muslims were threatened on 3 sides by the Bosnian Serb Army. The Light Dragoons carried out 14 Tours of duty in the Balkans in the 1990s, probably more than any other British unit.

The following men were killed by a mine on 28th Jan 1996 at Titov Devar.

Trooper John Robert Kelly aged 21, from Silksworth, Sunderland.

Trooper Andrew Ovington aged 25 from Easington Co Durham.

Lieut Richard Wyndham Madden aged 25.


                                                                   John's was awarded the Bosnia Medal.


                                                             Below: John on Tour in Bosnia



Other general information. online links, images etc.

John was born In Nuneaton on 29th August 1974. He lived and went to school in Sunderland and joined the Light Dragoon Regiment. Details of his service are above. John attended New Silksworth Junior School then Thornhill School. Throughout his school years his reports reflect that he was keen to help, Polite and liked responsibilty. All these Characteristics would have served him well in the Army.


Below is John's Record of Birth in the Central Register.

(left hand column indicated by xxx markings.)


John on Holiday at Calella, Spain


John as a child in Silksworth.


John with two of his friends who attended the Army Cadets with him.


Below are a number of John's School reports reflecting many of his strengths.



Pictures of John serving with the Light Dragoons.






Below is a report from The Independent Newspaper of the funeral John's collegue

Andrew who died in the same incident.


Soldiers' farewell: Comrades carrying the coffin of Trooper Andrew Ovington

  • Thursday 8 February 1996

Soldiers' farewell: Comrades carrying the coffin of Trooper Andrew Ovington, 25, through the snow into St Mary the Virgin church in Easington in Co Durham yesterday. Trooper Ovington was one of the three soldiers killed last week when their armoured vehicle hit a mine during peacekeeping duties in Bosnia.


The funeral of Trooper John Kelly, 21, who was also killed in the incident on 28 January, was 10 miles away yesterday in the Independent Methodist Church at Silksworth, Tyne and Wear.

In Easington, a Light Dragoons regimental bearer party carried the coffin into the church where he and his widow Tracy were married just three years ago, a few months before he joined the Army. Tracy, Andrew's parents, Joan and Tom, brothers Stephen, Graham and Tony, and his sister, Janet, led 150 mourners as they slowly followed the bearer party to the hilltop church.

After the service the cortege moved on to Easington Colliery cemetery where a Royal Scots Dragoon Guard piper played a lament and there was a final salute from a firing party.

At Silksworth, about 300 mourners of Trooper Kelly were led by father Dennis, Mother Ann and stepfather Colin Swain, to the church and a hall where the service was relayed. The service was followed by cremation at Sunderland.  John's ashes were interred in St Mathews Churchyard at Silksworth, Sunderland. 


Below is an article from the Newcastle Journal showing John's mother receiving the Elizabeth Cross.

Mothers of two North East soldiers given royal medal
13 JUL 2010

STEEPED in valour the mothers of two North East soldiers killed in action were recognised by royalty yesterday.

Ann Swain, Janice Murray, Elizabeth Cross

STEEPED in valour the mothers of two North East soldiers killed in action were recognised by royalty yesterday.

Janice Murray and Ann Swain were presented with the Elizabeth Cross by the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, in a special service held in the Mayor’s Parlour, at Sunderland Civic Centre.

Mrs Murray’s son, Michael Tench, was just 18 when he was killed by a roadside bomb, in southern Iraq, while serving in the 2nd Battalion, Light Infantry in January 2007.

Mrs Swain’s son, Trooper John Robert Kelly, was 21 when he was killed during fighting in Bosnia, in 1996.

Yesterday the mothers were united in pride of the bravery and memory of their sons as they collected honours awarded by order of the Queen.

The Elizabeth Cross is awarded to the next of kin of British armed services personnel killed in the line of duty.

The Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Nigel Sherlock, who serves as the monarchy’s representative in the area, handed over the hallmarked silver accolades, each engraved with the name of the bearer’s son.

Trooper Kelly was killed while he was travelling with his lieutenant in the lead vehicle of a convoy mapping out safe passage through the mountains of Bosnia, during the 1990s Balkans conflict.

The vehicle hit a land mine and was thrown up into the air, before landing on a second mine, which ignited ammunition in the rear of the wagon.

Mrs Swain, 58, of Church View, Silksworth, Sunderland, said: “It is 14 years since John was killed in Bosnia, and it is still not easy, but I was very proud to receive the Elizabeth Cross.

“Obviously it will never replace John, but it was an honour to receive it on his behalf. He would’ve been delighted, and I’m sure he knows.

“He was an extremely proud soldier, from a cadet at 14 until he joined the 15th and 19th Hussars, then the Light Dragoons.”




















All data is offered in good faith. Should you feel any information is inaccurate or incomplete please contact sunderlandafn@gmail.com

St Mat