Colchester: Soldier killed in Afghanistan had just become father

A NEW father wounded in Afghanistan has died at the same age as the uncle he was named in memory of, who was killed in the Falklands War.

Private Daniel Steven Prior, of the Colchester-based 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was born the year after the death of Steve Prior, who lost his life trying to save the life of a colleague.

The 27-year-old had only returned to Afghanistan a fortnight ago, having flown home to the UK to be with wife Emily as she gave birth to their son Logan, who is now three weeks old.

Pte Prior was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province last week and was treated at a military hospital in Camp Bastion before being flown back to Britain.

He died at the Queen Elizabeth NHS Hospital in Birmingham on Friday with his family by his side.

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His parents Ian and Gillian made a joint statement with Pte Prior’s wife and newborn son, saying: “Dan was a lively young man with an amazing sense of humour.

“He was a wonderful son, husband and father. We are all tremendously proud of him and he will be sorely missed by his family and friends.”

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Pte Prior, who was from Peacehaven, east Sussex, lived in Colchester with his wife. He had been singled out for training as a non-commissioned officer and was described by colleagues as the best soldier in his company.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Harrison, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said it was the “smallest consolation” that Pte Prior had lived to see the birth of his son.

He said: “Private Dan Prior died surrounded by his family in England. Two days before, he had been mortally wounded, 4,000 miles away, whist patrolling to bring lasting peace to the village of Char Coucha in Helmand Province.

“The village has recently made headlines for its remarkable return from Taliban devastation. Private Prior was one of those incredibly brave young soldiers who made that happen.

“This bright, inspiring and able paratrooper knew the risks of war more than almost anyone - his uncle died the year before Dan was born fighting for this great battalion at the battle of Goose Green in the Falklands conflict. Dan had accompanied his family to receive the Elizabeth Cross in his memory only last year.

“On the anniversary of the battle last May, he sat with me to honour his uncle. They both fell aged only 27. Twice in two years his family will receive an Elizabeth Cross. For a second time the Prior name will be carved into the Battalion’s memorial.

“Dan Prior’s sacrifice has cost a joyful future with his wife Emily and his three-week-old son, Logan. It is the smallest consolation that he passed away having seen Logan on a recent trip home.”

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