Colchester: Taliban victim ‘irreplaceable’

THE family of the soldier who became the UK’s 350th military fatality in Afghanistan yesterday paid tribute to him, saying: “He will leave behind a hole in all of our hearts that will never be replaced.”

Colchester-based Private Martin Bell, 24, of Bradford, was killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated south of Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand province on Tuesday.

The soldier, from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was fatally wounded in the blast as he went to the aid of a comrade who had been injured by a separate device.

Private Bell, pictured, disobeyed a direct order to go to the aid of his injured colleague. His superiors said he was a hero whose selfless act cost him his life.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Harrison, Commanding Officer, 2 Para said: “He knew the risks all too well. Twice in the minutes before his death he had witnessed at first-hand the devastating human impact of IEDs.”

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