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Last Updated: Monday, 24 March, 2003, 09:12 GMT
Tributes pour in for marines
Flower tribute at Plymouth - PA
Flowers have been left at the HQ of 3 Commando in Plymouth

Family and friends of some of the eight Royal Marines, who were among the first British casualties of the Iraq war, have been paying tribute to their loved ones.

The servicemen, from Plymouth-based 3 Commando Brigade, died in a helicopter crash in the Kuwaiti desert on Friday.

On Sunday Claire Morley placed flowers at Stonehouse Barracks in a tribute to "Sonic" Hedenskog, 25, who was due to be best man at her wedding in July.

Miss Morley, from Exeter, Devon, said Mr Hedenskog was her 23-year-old partner Craig Garnett's best friend.

Both men were deployed to the Gulf on HMS Ark Royal.

"From what I heard and knew of him he was just a lovely guy and that's what makes it so sad," she said.

'So close to each other'

"Seeing as I knew him and he was my partner's best friend I wanted to let him know we are thinking about him."

We will miss you always. God bless you. Lots of love from your baby bear and Tinkerbell
Beck Seymour, son of Ian Seymour

Mr Garnett and his colleagues were "devastated" to learn of his friend's death, she said. "I spoke to him on the Friday night it happened and obviously he was in tears.

"As you can imagine everyone is just devastated because they are so close to each other in their working environment. Something like this just cuts them up."

Among the floral tributes at the headquarters there was also a note from the three-year-old son of Royal Marine Ian Seymour from Poole, Dorset.

The note from his son Beck read: "For my Daddy. I love you loads. So does Mummy. We will miss you always. God bless you. Lots of love from your Baby Bear and Tinkerbell."

The family of Mark Stratford said: "The Royal Marines were Mark's life and he was dedicated to the regiment.

"He served in many areas of the world and we know that he thoroughly enjoyed his 20 years with the corps. He had a wonderful life.

"Mark was a professional soldier doing a professional job and was fully supported by his family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all.

Another Royal Marine who died in the crash was Llywelyn "Welly" Evans, 24, from Llandudno, north Wales.

His father Gordon said in a statement: "On behalf of my whole family I would like to say that we all devastated by the loss of our son Llywelyn Karl Evans.

"Whilst we are deeply saddened, we are and always will be proud of him."

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