Garrison pays tribute to dead soldier

AN ESSEX-based army regiment last night paid tribute to the bravery of an East Anglian soldier who was killed by a suspected roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Danielle Nuttall

AN ESSEX-based army regiment last night paid tribute to the bravery of an East Anglian soldier who was killed by a suspected roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

The soldier, who is thought to have been based in either Suffolk or Essex, died on Tuesday night while two of his colleagues were left injured after an explosion in the Kajaki area of Helmand province.

He was from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers - some of which are based at Wattisham Airfield, near Ipswich - and attached to 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regimen. The injured men were from 2 Para, which is based in Colchester.


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A total of seven soldiers based at the town's garrison have already lost their lives in the conflict in Afghanistan since June.

In a statement last night, Major Aidan Coogan, regimental adjutant of the parachute regiment, said: “Our most sincere thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues, as well as those of the two members of 2 Para who were injured in the same incident.

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“Soldiers of the Corps serve throughout the Army, in all theatres and on all operations. They are valued members of any unit but in particular with 2 Para they have shared the dangers and the threat and have enjoyed the ethos that comes with serving with Airborne Forces.

“Without their dedication, commitment and skills we as a regiment could not operate and we value them greatly; they are part of a team of professional, highly-motivated people who continue to show determination in the most difficult circumstances.”

He added: “I wish to conclude this statement by saying we understand the difficult time that the family and friends are currently experiencing and want them to know that although a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, his family will receive the same level of support as if he were a Parachute Regiment soldier; It is what he would have wanted and the very least that we as a regiment can provide.”

The incident happened after the soldiers' routine patrol came under fire at 6.18pm local time.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Whilst returning fire one soldier from 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was injured by a mine.

“While leaving the scene after suppressing the enemy, a vehicle other soldiers were travelling in hit a suspected improvised explosive device.

“One soldier from 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was injured and one soldier from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers sustained serious injuries.

“The soldier from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, despite the best medical efforts at the scene, died a few minutes later.

“All casualties were extracted to Bastion medical facilities where they received medical care. Their injuries are not life-threatening.”

The latest death brings the number of UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 111.

Seven soldiers from Colchester Garrison were killed in Afghanistan in just three weeks in June.

In the same month, nine of its soldiers were injured in a “friendly fire” incident in the country when a British Apache helicopter - based at RAF Wattisham near Ipswich - opened fire on troops from Colchester-based 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment.

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