Erik Konstandinos Scurfield was born in Northallerton in North Yorkshire on the 22nd of September 1989. He had British and Greek nationality.
Kosta was interested in acting, wildlife and nature. He took part in acting clubs and at times he kept hens, pigeons and ducks, even saving up to buy an incubator so that he could incubate eggs.
At school he never got into any trouble and he was a good student- getting fairly good grades but nothing excessive. He was selected for the Comenius project one year, flying out to Sweden and he also raised money with several classmates and visited Malealea in Southern Africa where he helped plant trees, paint the school and do other things to help the community. During this time he visited Nelson Mandela’s prison and learnt more about Apartheid and racism.
When he left school he did one year at college, working towards A levels but changed his focus and attended Green Top circus school in Sheffield instead, where he did a short course in circus skills. He enjoyed that and he followed it with a two year course in Nottingham where he studied for a BTEC in Acting.
For a time Kosta was interested in boxing and he was quite good at it taking part in some matches.
In his twentieth year he decided to walk to Greece to do his National Service. He did exactly that, setting off from Croydon and walking as far as Venice. Kosta took with him about eighty euro, a bivy sack and the clothes he was wearing. He had no back up and I believe he only accepted one lift. He spent his 21stbirthday walking through the Alps. When he reached Venice we had to send him some money because he’d given all his remaining funds to a beggar. At one point he rescued a little stray kitten, carrying it with him until he came across a house with lots of cats in the garden where he managed to persuade the owner to take it in.
After reaching Greece by ferry from Venice Kosta did six months of National Service. He learnt Greek and did a lot of walking and reflection when he had time off and I believe he made some good friends there. He certainly had many conversations that gave him lots to think about and at times, laugh about.
On returning to the UK he decided to join the Royal Marines.
He had decided that one of the things he wanted to do was work for an organisation such as Halo which specialises in teaching local people how to defuse IEDs and other nasty stuff like that, or for an organisation such as the British Red Cross. He was attracted by the thought of a job in which he would be helping people and making a difference in a really practical way. The Royal Marines were a part of the military that offered a philosophy he could buy in to, as well as preparing him for work in such organisations. Joining the RMs would also be a make or break challenge for him.
Kosta was good at what he did. He succeeded in his training without being back trooped and he showed promise. He could have had a good career there but he was opposed to any kind of promotion and refused when it was mentioned. He saved a colleagues’ life and was also one of the two people who found Luke Island when he went missing in the Cairngorms. I believe he volunteered with a couple of other Marines to stand vigil over Luke for five hours.
Kosta became a trainer in battlefield first aid.
At around this time things started kicking off in Syria and Daesh hit the headlines with their brutality and their barbaric Wahabi/ Salafist ideology. He was horrified by the British government’s apathy and inaction and, after an exercise in Nevada, he tried to fly out to Turkey to go and help the Kurds in Northern Syria to fight against Daesh. He was detained at the airport and handed back to British Military police as soon it was established that he wasn’t joining any terrorist organisation.
This was only a brief setback in his plans and basically he forced the RMs to release him from his contract and on December 7th 2014 he arrived in Rojava. He was part of an offensive against Daesh in Sinjar, helping the Yezidi people and he also helped to save a USA colleague’s life.
On March the 2nd Kosta was in an APC helping to evacuate civilians and injured fighters in the Tel Hamis area when the gunner was hit in the hand and Kosta took over. They were under fire and unfortunately he was hit by an RPG and died pretty much instantly.
Kosta read widely. Some of his favourite books as a child were by Brian Jacques and he also enjoyed Terry Pratchett. As he got older he enjoyed reading everything, from biographies to religious texts including the Koran, the Bible, and the Tao. Included in his broad reading were obscure Japanese authors, Dostoyevsky and Steinbeck. He was always keen to share new insights or authors that he thought family and friends would enjoy. Kosta loved films and musicals especially Pay it Forward, Les Miserables, and Rent. He enjoyed an eclectic selection of music, from Simon and Garfunkel to King Charles and the sound track to Oh Brother Where art Thou?
He hated bigotry, racism and apathy. He had strong principles and lacked tact. He wasn’t a compromiser. He had no interest in money and he often dressed in clothing he took from the lost property at work. He had a quirky sense of humour but also a deep spirituality.
I was told that
“There was not an ounce of malice in him, no hatred of Muslims, and that he was not a man who needed to fight to prove himself.
Kosta was a gracious man, a spiritual man. A strong man physically.
After an exercise he started talking about some charity work that he had done in the middle east and about his experience there and everyone stopped talking to listen. They were fascinated by his words because they could hear him talking from the heart.
He was a man of integrity which was why his death hurt so many people. They loved him. He was a truly honourable man, a man of integrity.
He was speaking the truth and trying to respond to a world in pain, and not motivated by anything self-centred.”