Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, (1972-2006) a member of the Intelligence Corps and 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group was killed in Iraq 'in an attack on a Multi-National Forces boat patrol on the Shatt Al-Arab waterway on Sunday 12 November 2006.' She was 34 years old.
According to the Ministry of Defence account Elliott 'spent her early career in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, proving herself early on when she was one of the first women to qualify as an aircraft technician in the army. Keen for new challenges, she transferred to the Intelligence Corps and served in the United Kingdom, Germany and Belize, as well as completing a number of operational tours including service in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq.'
The MoD did not mention Elliott's role in psyops in its account of her service reflecting an institutional preference for secrecy about psychological operations. According to the Independent:
- After six years in the Army, Sgt Elliott transferred to the Intelligence Corps, subsequently serving in Northern Ireland and Kosovo before being posted to Iraq. Part of her training was at the 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group headquarters at Chicksands in Bedfordshire, where students are encouraged to study the local culture and customs at postings abroad. Students are also taught to question perceived wisdom and to question policy and disagree with the official view if necessary.
The 15 Psyops Group subsequently commemorated Elliott by creating the 'Sharron Elliott Trophy' for a rugby competition.
- TERRI JUDD AND KIM SENGUPTA Iraq attacks: 'Why did she have to die for such a silly cause?' The Independent, Wednesday 15 November 2006.
- See news report embedded in Wyatt, C. (2012) 'Psy-ops: Tuning the Afghans into radio', BBC News. 27 October.