Colchester: Soldier killed in blast was about to be father

A Colchester-based soldier killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan has been described as a “special husband” by his widow.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Colin Beckett, Company Sergeant Major of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, died on Saturday while securing an area in Shaheed, a village on the Nahr-e-Bughra canal, when he was caught in the roadside bomb. Company Sergeant Major Beckett, known as Tom, was described by his colleagues as an inspirational and iconic leader.

The 36-year-old, from Peterborough, Cambs, joined the Army more than 20 years ago and had a “tremendous amount of operational experience”, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said.

His wife Rachel, who is expecting their first child later this month – a baby girl already named Freya – said: “Anyone who ever met or knew Colin ‘Tom’ would have been touched by him in a big way and he will never be forgotten.

“He was a fantastic soldier, a great son, a good brother and friend and a truly special husband.

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“My bestest friend, my soul-mate, my absolute world. We love him and shall miss him so very much.

“May his love for life, strength, humour and strong character, live on forever in his baby girl Freya.”

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An MoD spokesman said Company Sergeant Major Beckett joined the Army in 1990 and was posted to The Parachute Regiment when he completed his training.

He had been on deployments to Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and three tours of Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel James Coates, Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said: “Warrant Officer Class 2 Colin Beckett was one of the most talented sergeant majors of his generation.

“With a long and distinguished career spanning countless deployments and three tours in Afghanistan, he represented the very essence of a Paratrooper – professional to the core, devoted to his men and hugely respected.

“Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett will be remembered for many reasons. Those who worked with him saw a man with humility and a natural aptitude that set him apart. He dealt superbly with his soldiers and was immensely popular with everyone he met.

“His sense of humour was second to none. I will never forget how he captivated the entire Sergeants’ Mess during the last summer ball.

“He was a family man and a true gentleman. But most of all, to us, he will be remembered as a fellow Paratrooper and trusted friend who unconditionally gave his all in life.”

Warrant Officer Class 1, Richard Hames, Regimental Sergeant Major, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said: “He was the dad to the young toms, uncle to the young officers, a brother to his platoon sergeants, best friend to the OC and an utterly professional Paratrooper who I will dearly miss.

“The commitment he gave to every one of his Paratroopers in the company was second to none. He oozed professionalism, gave sound advice, and was level headed in the heat of battle. The battalion has lost an icon of a soldier.”

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “I was deeply upset to hear of the loss of Warrant Officer Class 2 Beckett. He was clearly a paratrooper with great experience, presence and ability.

“It is clear that his company and the wider battalion of 3 PARA, where he spent so much of his service, held him in the highest regard; looking to him in every situation and will feel this loss greatly. My thoughts go to them and especially his dearly loved wife.”

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