Tributes to dead soldier

THE Ministry of Defence today named an Essex soldier who was killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan at the weekend.

TRIBUTES have been paid to an Essex soldier who was killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan at the weekend.

Lance Corporal Nicky Mason, of the Colchester-based 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, was from Aveley.

The 26-year-old was killed while on patrol near Kajaki in Helmand province on Saturday.

He was the second soldier from the regiment - which has already suffered heavy losses in Afghanistan - to die in 48 hours.

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L-Cpl Mason, joined the Army in December 2001 and completed his training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

He was posted to 2 Para in July 2002 and joined 12 Platoon, D Company and was promoted to Lance Corporal in 2005.

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The “outstanding soldier” had completed a tour of Northern Ireland and two tours of Iraq.

It had been his first operational tour of Afghanistan and the Army said today he revelled in the heat and hills surrounding Kajaki.

L-Cpl Mason was single and had no children.

His family paid tribute in a statement: “Too dearly loved to be forgotten, our much loved son, loyal brother and thoughtful friend - always ready for a laugh, a cheeky tease died doing the job he loved.”

The talented boxer represented both his company and the battalion in the Army semi finals earlier this year.

He had a passion for martial arts and had successfully competed to a high standard in a range of disciplines.

An Ministry of Defence statement said: “He was the archetypal paratrooper - tough, resilient and confident in his ability whilst remaining humble and an example to all with whom he worked.

“L-Cpl Mason was universally well-known and enjoyed the friendship and respect of all who knew him, he will be sorely missed.”

Lieutenant Colonel Joe O'Sullivan, commanding officer, paid tribute.

He said: “2 Para will remember him as it remembers all the other members of the battlegroup that have lost their lives here this summer, and our thoughts are now with his family and their most painful loss.”

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