Bomb attack Essex soldiers named

THREE Essex-based soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan have been named by the Ministry of Defence.

THE parents of the three Essex-based soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan have paid tribute to their sons.

Named tonight by the Ministry of Defence, Private Nathan Cuthbertson, Private Daniel Gamble and Private Charles David Murray, all of the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (2PARA), lost their lives in Helmand Province yesterday.

The latest fatalities take the number of British troops killed in the country to 100.

The men, from Colchester Garrison, were fatally injured when a lone insurgent detonated an explosive device as their routine foot patrol was returning to base.

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Four soldiers were injured in Sunday's attack in the Upper Sangin Valley in Helmand Province and evacuated to Camp Bastion for treatment.

One was pronounced dead on arrival and, despite medics' efforts, another two died from their wounds. The fourth soldier is expected to make a good recovery.

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Pte Gamble's parents, who have not been named, said: "Dan died doing the job he was so proud to do, with the regiment he was so proud to be a part of.

"He was special because he had trained in the Afghan Pashtu language. He was special to his family and friends - a true hero in every sense, he will be missed by so many people more than he would ever know."

Pte Murray's family described his as "a little guy with a big heart'.

In a statement, they said: "David always dreamed of being a soldier like his uncle, papa and grandad.

"He made us proud, every day, in everything he did. He was the little guy with a big heart, although he would never admit it.

"He had the biggest, cheekiest grin that we had ever seen and he always made us laugh with his cheeky way.'

Pte Cuthbertson's best friend Private Lee Cunliffe said: "I am truly sorry and gutted about what has happened to him out here, I have lost my best friend. He was an excellent soldier and man. I will never forget him and the good times we had together.'

Pte Cuthbertson, 19, from Sunderland, was serving as a machine gunner and infantry assault engineer while Pte Gamble, 22, from Uckfield, East Sussex, was serving as a rifleman and Pashto linguist.

Pte Murray, 19, who was born in Dumfries but grew up in Carlisle, was serving as a rifleman and assault engineer.

They had been in Afghanistan for two months at the time of their deaths.

Major Aidan Coogan, regimental adjutant of the Parachute Regiment, said the tragedy which happened yesterday and seriously injured a fourth soldier would only make their colleagues more determined to continue their work.

Major Coogan said: “We in the Parachute Regiment are deeply saddened by the events in Afghanistan with 2 Para over the weekend and at this time our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed.

“Our prayers are also with the family of the fourth soldier injured in the incident.

“2 Para are one of the battlegroups serving with 16 Air Assault Brigade and since their deployment in April this year have displayed an exceptionally high level of professionalism in the conduct of operations in Afghanistan.

“This has been possible because of their training, high morale and positive attitude in every aspect of what they do.

“Although the deaths of three colleagues will have come as a blow it will not affect their mission or their morale.

“Indeed it will make them more determined to continue with the good progress that has been made in Afghanistan.”

Earlier today, the Prime Minister praised the courage of those who have died in action in Afghanistan, as Downing Street insisted "progress' was being made in the country.

Gordon Brown's spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is convinced that staying in Afghanistan is the right thing to do.

"It is a country that if we were to leave the forces of the Taliban unchecked, would be a source of major instability.'

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