'Loving' soldier died helping others

THE grieving wife of an East Anglian soldier who was killed while driving an ambulance in Afghanistan has paid tribute to him this afternoon.

THE grieving wife of an East Anglian soldier who was killed while driving an ambulance in Afghanistan has paid tribute to him this afternoon.

Corporal Jason Stuart Barnes, 25, died on Tuesday when the vehicle hit a bomb as he was returning to base after helping in the evacuation of a colleague who had been injured earlier near Kajaki in northern Helmand.

Cpl Barnes, who lived in Colchester, was from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) - some of whom are based at Wattisham Airfield near Ipswich- and was attached to 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, based at Colchester.

He was originally from Exeter.

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Paying tribute, his devastated wife Diana said today: "He was a loving husband and will be sadly missed.''

Lieutenant Colonel Joe O'Sullivan, the Commanding Officer of 2 PARA, said: “He died helping others when he could have taken an easier path, and in doing so demonstrated the commitment and bloody-minded determination that runs so deeply through the battalion.

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“Cpl Barnes was a promising NCO with a bright future. 2 PARA will again mourn the loss of a brave young man, and the grief it brings to his wife and family; then we will continue to show what can be achieved by men like Cpl Barnes in northern Helmand.”

Company Commander, Major Grant Haywood said: “He will be remembered here as an individual with natural charm, dry wit and a real zest for life. He died as he lived, placing others first and doing what he wanted to do, so well, without fear or complaint.

“Nothing exemplifies this more than the last moments before his passing where he helped to save the life of a colleague who was critically injured. He will be truly missed by all here and our thoughts are with his wife, family and friends.”

Friend and colleague Private Rowan Brown said: “Jay was a man who loved his life and enjoyed his job and the challenges it presented.

“He prided himself on finding a solution to any problem and if he couldn't he would compensate with his unique sense of humour. He would always go out of his way to help people and never seemed to stop working.

“His sense of humour and his ability to talk about all and any subject for hours always seemed to make guard duty last five minutes instead of an hour.

“His bright personality and smile matched the red tinge his skin would adopt after the shortest period in the sun. He will be missed by all who got to know and work with him."

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of Corporal Jason Barnes at this most difficult time; he was clearly a dedicated soldier, and family man with an enthusiasm for life.

“He was making a real difference in Afghanistan and he will be sorely missed by colleagues from across the Army."

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