7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

DHL official is mourned

MURDERED DHL executive David Giles was buried in Bahrain yesterday, after a deeply emotional funeral service.

More than 100 relatives and other mourners crammed into St Christopher's Cathedral for the service, leaving standing room only.

Mr Giles, DHL's Afghanistan operations manager and station manager Jason Bresler, a South African, were shot dead in a car outside the company's Kabul office on October 25.

They were shot by an Afghani DHL security guard, who opened fire on them and then killed himself.

Both men were given the 21-gun military salute by the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq when their bodies were flown out of Bagram, near Kabul, on Friday.

They spent much of their time within the US military zone in Afghanistan and it was the first time civilians had received such an honour.

Mr Giles' body arrived at the cathedral in a DHL van and his coffin was carried inside by colleagues, as grief overcame his mother Joanne, 69, and sisters Jackie Kennedy, 49, and Shirley Al Khalifa, 42, who all live in Bahrain.

The 42-year-old Briton's ex-wife Julia Wilson and his only child, 10-year-old James, who was born here, flew in from their native Hull, England, to say their final goodbyes.

They were joined by friends and colleagues who travelled from several countries to attend the service, including Spain, Germany and the UK.

British Ambassador Jamie Bowden and German Ambassador Dr Hubert Lang (DHL is now German-owned) were also there.

Among the mourners was one of Mr Giles' closest friends Warren Hopkins, his wife Wendy and their son Max, for whom Mr Giles was a godfather.

However, Mr Giles' bride-to-be Beverly Settecasi, of Tampa, Florida, was unable to travel.

The funeral service was conducted by the Very Reverend Alan Hayday.

Eulogies were read by DHL country manager for Iraq and Afghanistan Phillip Armitage and Richard Howard of the DHL aviation department.

Both paid emotional tributes to Mr Giles' friendly and easy-going nature, his generosity and had mourners laughing and crying with anecdotes from his private life.

Lisa Morgan, a friend of Mr Giles' mother sang There'll Always be an England in honour of his patriotism, which had his mother and much of the congregation in tears.

His family were inconsolable as his coffin was carried from the cathedral and loaded into the back of the DHL van, to be taken for burial in the Christian Cemetery, Manama.

DHL Express Middle East executive board member Paul Gillett, who opened the company's offices in Iraq and Afghanistan, said working in those countries created a deep bond between colleagues.

"We are heartbroken," he told the GDN after the service.

"We are a large, global corporation, but it feels like we have lost two members of the family.

"Working in these areas is particularly challenging and there is a closeness and unity very seldom found elsewhere in the DHL world.

"We have lost two brothers and it is extremely personal."

Mr Gillett revealed tributes from around the world had been sent to DHL from people who came into contact with Mr Giles and Mr Bresler.

"They were the most honest, unselfish workers, absolutely dedicated to our customers, their colleagues and the company," he said.

"You could not have got two better employees."

Mr Giles lived in Sanad with his mother, the membership secretary at Bahrain Yacht Club.

He worked 11 weeks on and two weeks off in Afghanistan and returned to Bahrain for his breaks.

His sisters are both married to Bahrainis.

Mr Giles, who was born in Newcastle, first came to the island more than 10 years ago and was the head of security at the BJ's nightspot when he met Julia.

The couple had James here and returned to the UK to live in Hull, England, before they separated in 2004.

[email protected]

click on image to view the digital edition