Tributes paid to teenage soldier

FAMILY, friends and colleagues have gathered in Colchester to pay moving tribute to a teenage soldier based in the town who died while serving in Afghanistan.

FAMILY, friends and colleagues have gathered in Colchester to pay moving tribute to a teenage soldier based in the town who died while serving in Afghanistan.

The memorial service was held yesterday to honour the life of 19-year-old Private Andrew Cutts who died on August 6 during what was the biggest offensive operation mounted by British forces against the Taliban.

Pte Cutts, of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, The Royal Logistics Corps, became the fourth soldier from Colchester to die in the conflict since troops were sent out earlier this year.

He was one of 500 soldiers involved in Operation Snakebite, aimed at disrupting the control of the Taliban in the southern Helmand Province.


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Pte Cutts arrived in Afghanistan on March 11 this year as part of the regiment's force protection troop, which was formed from specially selected and highly trained soldiers within the unit.

They were given the responsibility of providing firepower and protection for logistic support convoys delivering combat supplies to British troops in Helmand.

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The 19-year-old, from Blidworth, Nottinghamshire, was killed during an operation to re-supply coalition forces in Musa Qal'eh when elements of the 3 Para Battle Group, which carried out the offensive, came under fire from Taliban forces.

The regiment, based at the town's Roman Barracks, held the service in the Colchester Garrison Church on Military Road.

Pte Cutts' commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neil Jouques, said: “He died doing what he was good at, protecting his comrades. He was a brave and exemplary soldier.”

He was a dedicated supporter of his local football team, Mansfield Town, but his real passion lay with his family, including his twin brother who is also a serving soldier.

He was described by a regiment spokesman as popular, immensely liked and respected by all those that knew him.

As a fit and highly-skilled soldier with a “quiet, unassuming manner”, he was preparing himself for parachute selection on return to Colchester, the spokesman added.

elliot.furniss@eadt.co.uk

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