Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Marines killed in attack named

Marine Tony Evans [left] and Marine Georgie Sparks
Marine Tony Evans [left] and Marine Georgie Sparks died in Afghanistan

Two soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan have been named by the Ministry of Defence.

They were Marine Tony Evans from Sunderland and Marine Georgie Sparks, from Essex - who both served with 42 Commando Royal Marines.

They died after their foot patrol near Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, came under fire from insurgents.

The number of UK forces killed in Afghanistan since the start of operations in 2001 now stands at 128.

The marines were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades while on the roof of a building.

Both died from their injuries while being flown back to Camp Bastion by helicopter.

Marine Evans, 20, completed his training in July 2007. His parents, Tony Evans and Julia Churchill, paid tribute to him.

They said: "Tony was the type of person who would do anything to help his friends and family and was well respected by all.

While words cannot ease their devastation, our heartfelt condolences go out to their families, friends and comrades at this most painful time
Cdr Paula Rowe

"The Royal Marines was his life since the age of 13 when he became a Royal Marines cadet. We, his family, are very proud of what he achieved and will miss him dearly."

'Deeply saddened'

Marine Sparks, 19, from Epping, joined the Marines in 2006 and became a sniper with 42 Commando.

His parents, Wayne and Toni, and sister Katie issued a statement that said: "We have lost our best friend as well as our son.

"We are deeply saddened and in mourning. We are so very proud of Georgie - he always wanted to be a Royal Marine.

"Georgie loved the outdoors - fishing, shooting, paintballing - and was very close to his family. We miss him so much."

Cdr Paula Rowe, spokeswoman for Task Force Helmand, said the loss of the two marines was a "bitter and tragic blow".

"While words cannot ease their devastation, our heartfelt condolences go out to their families, friends and comrades at this most painful time," she added.

Just three days previously, another marine, Alexander Lucas, 24, of 45 Commando, was killed by a roadside bomb in the Kajaki area of Helmand.

And on 12 November two marines, Robert McKibben and Neil Dunstan, died while on patrol in the Garmsir district of southern Helmand.



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