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Oct 3 2007 by Naomi Corrigan, Evening Gazette
A DEDICATED soldier who lived and breathed the Army for almost 20 years has died in Germany. Lance Corporal Richard Edward Gotts, originally from Guisborough, was transporting troops in Bielefeld when he collapsed at the wheel. A colleague managed to stop the minibus and an ambulance was called but the 36-year-old father-of-two was declared dead on arrival at St Vincent’s Hospital in Paderborn.
Tributes were paid by Richard’s younger brother Paul who lives in Ingleby Barwick, his mum Wendy, who lives in Spain but travelled back to Teesside on hearing the news, and his regiment. Paul, 33, said: “I got a visit from the Army who told me what had happened.“He was driving a minibus when he collapsed at the wheel. The Private sitting next to him managed to stop the vehicle and pull it over to the side of the road. “There was a military vehicle behind him which stopped. They tried to resuscitate him but failed. “We don’t yet know why it happened, we have to wait for a Coroner’s report. But my dad died of a heart attack so it may be the same thing.”
Richard, a former pupil of De Brus School in Skelton, joined the Army Cadets at an early age and enlisted as a junior leader in February 1988. Throughout his career he served in many countries including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Iraq and in 2004, he received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He was serving with the 24 Postal Courier and Movement Regiment of the Royal Logistics Corps on September 17 when he died.
“Richard lived and breathed the Army. He just loved his job,” said Paul. Wendy added: “There are not many people who can say it, but Richard always thoroughly enjoyed his work.” In three years’ time, Richard would have completed his full 22 years service. Paul said: “He was looking at coming home and doing a regular nine-to-five. “Richard was very outgoing, very jovial and quite funny and lively. He was also very sociable and would talk to anyone. His regiment is sending some of his colleagues over for the funeral.” A spokesman for his regiment said: “Richard was a professional soldier; dedicated to his job with an unblemished career. He displayed selfless commitment and had a great sense of humour,” he said. “Richard will be sadly missed and our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy go to his family, children and friends.” Richard had been married twice and leaves an 11-year-old son Lewis and six-year-old daughter Tia.
With thanks to Paul Gotts for including this