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Regiment, Governor recall respected soldier

Leading tributes: Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Foster-Brown

The commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment led tributes last night to a “well-respected” and “hard-working” sergeant who was found dead in a Southampton property.

The body of Dejion Stange-Simmons was discovered by police as they executed a search warrant on Thursday night.

Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Foster-Brown said the regiment was “shocked, saddened and angry” to hear news of the 26-year-old’s death.

“He was a respected senior member of the regiment of eight years service, having been conscripted at the age of 18,” he said.

“He took to military life and was good at it, achieving rapid promotion through the ranks and was a sergeant by November 2011, and had been the platoon sergeant of 2 Platoon A Company for almost a year.”

“His loss will be strongly felt across the regiment, but particularly in A Company and the sergeants’ mess.

“Our thoughts are with family, particularly his parents Sandrine and Andre, his stepmother, Tami, his three sisters and his brother.

“The regiment are stood by to support his funeral should the family wish it.”

In January 2011, Mr Stange-Simmons won the prize for best sergeant, and in April 2014 he received a letter of commendation for his work in support of the Bermuda Police Service at Ferry Reach.

He was a member of Immediate Response Team 2 and deployed on the most recent embodiment in October 2015 for Hurricane Joaquin.

Col Foster-Brown said: “He was a talented and dedicated soldier who had been specially selected to be part of the three-man team that deployed with the British Army on a demanding six-week overseas exercise to Kenya from September to October 2014.

“He was hard-working, enthusiastic and always keen to volunteer, most recently as part of the Committee for the 50th Anniversary Ball that took place last Saturday. He was attached to his troops and they to him. We will miss him.”

A company commander, Major David Madeiros, described Mr Stange-Simmons as “a key member of A Company, a pleasure to be around and always smiling.”

Platoon commander Lieutenant Tyler Owen, described him as “exceptional” and “an excellent motivator” and someone with a “big personality” who had the “respect and love of his men, which was one of the reasons why the retention rates in the platoon were so high”.

The Governor, George Fergusson, weighed in this morning with his recollections of Mr Stange-Simmons. “I have been really shocked at the sad death of Sgt Stange-Simmons and I know that his colleagues in the regiment have suffered a significant loss. This will also be a terrible sadness for his family and friends.

“I met Sgt Stange only once or twice but know that he was held in very high regard. In his time attached to the Welsh Guards in Kenya last year, he was a great ambassador for Bermuda.”