Olaf Schmid

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Olaf Schmid
Nickname(s) "Oz"
Born (1979-06-11)11 June 1979
Truro, Cornwall
Died 31 October 2009(2009-10-31) (aged 30)
Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1996 – 2009 
Rank Staff Sergeant
Service number 25045811
Unit 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment RLC
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan Iraq War
Awards George Cross
Relations Christina Schmid (wife)

Staff Sergeant Olaf Sean George Schmid GC (11 June 1979 – 31 October 2009) was a British Army bomb disposal expert (Ammunition Technician) who was killed in action in the Afghanistan conflict. Schmid was posthumously awarded the George Cross after he made safe 70 devices before his death in October 2009. The citation was presented to Schmid's widow, Christina Schmid, by the Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Jock Stirrup on 18 March 2010 in a ceremony in the City of London. The announcement of the award of the GC to Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes was made at the same time.

Early life

Schmid was born on 11 June 1979 in Truro, Cornwall, to a German mother, Barbara, and a Swiss father, Hans-Joerg Schmid, he was brother to Torben and half brother to Gregory.[1][2] He was educated at Polwhele House School[citation needed] and Penair School in Truro,[3] and was a choir boy in Truro Cathedral Choir, ultimately becoming head chorister.[2] He first joined the army in 1996, enlisting in the Royal Logistic Corps and shortly afterwards he applied to train as a bomb disposal specialist.[2] Schmid lived in Winchester, Hampshire, with his wife Christina and his stepson Laird.

Army career

Schmid served in Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia and Kosovo before being sent to Afghanistan in June 2009. He arrived during Operation Panther's Claw in Helmand Province. On 31 October 2009 Schmid was defusing a device in Sangin, Helmand Province when the device exploded, killing Schmid instantly.


After Schmid's death[4] was announced several people left tributes to his courage. Schmid's commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Thomson, commanding 2nd Rifles Battle Group, said: "Staff-Sergeant Oz Schmid was simply the bravest and most courageous man I have ever met. Under relentless IED and small arms attacks he stood taller than the tallest."[2] A funeral and memorial service was held at Truro Cathedral on 24 November 2009.[3] On 21 September 2010, his widow, Christina Schmid, was a contributor in a programme in BBC Radio 4's Soul Music series about Gabriel Fauré's Requiem with conductor David Willcocks. The Requiem was performed at the memorial service for Schmid.[5]

George Cross

On 18 March 2010, Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff announced that Schmid would be posthumously awarded the George Cross, and presented a framed copy of the citation to Schmid's widow during a ceremony at the headquarters of the Honourable Artillery Company in the City of London.[6][7] The award was gazetted on 19 March 2010.[8] Schmid's widow, Christina, was presented with the medal in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 2 June 2010. She attended the ceremony with her son Laird and her parents.[9]


  1. "Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid—Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who has been killed in Afghanistan aged 30, saved many lives during the fighting in Helmand Province through his work defusing bombs". The Daily Telegraph. London. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Staff-Sergeant Olaf Schmid: Royal Logistic Corps bomb disposal specialist". The Times. London: News Corp. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> This obituary states his father was Swiss rather than Swedish/
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Olaf Schmid funeral: Afghanistan death of bomb disposal hero mourned". The Daily Telegraph. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. His Last Lonely Walk http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/article189662.ece
  5. "Soul Music (Series 10): Faure Requiem". BBC Radio 4. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "George Cross for Army Afghanistan bomb heroes". BBC. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Bates, Stephen (18 March 2010). "George Cross goes to army bomb experts for Afghan heroics—Widow takes citation for husband described as the bravest of the brave during Operation Panther's Claw". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59365. p. 4832. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  9. "Soldier Olaf Schmid's George Cross collected by widow". BBC. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>