Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 17:27 UK

Tributes to Afghan death soldier

Lt Mark Evison
Lt Evison died in hospital after being flown back to the UK

Tributes have been paid to an army officer shot on patrol in Afghanistan who died after he was flown to the UK for hospital treatment.

Lt Mark Evison of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was hit in the shoulder at a checkpoint in Helmand on 9 May. He died in Birmingham on Tuesday.

His family said the 26-year-old was "charismatic, caring, optimistic".

His commanding officer said Lt Evison was a natural leader nicknamed "007" because of his capability and style.

Lt Evison, from London, was educated at Charterhouse School and Oxford Brookes University, before entering Sandhurst.

He was commissioned into the Welsh Guards in December 2007, where he was serving as a Platoon Commander.

His personality was loved by all who met him, and it is clear that his loyalty and dedication to his men, at home and in Afghanistan, was unshakable
Defence Secretary John Hutton

His family said: "He loved the Army and its comradeship, care, adventure, respect and courtesy."

In a statement, they noted that he was described in a recent report from his company commander as "an exceptionally impressive young officer who combines real talent with great humility and charm (and who) displays more potential than any officer with whom I have worked".

They said he was a natural sportsman who had completed the London Marathon in three hours and 14 minutes and loved music, playing the cello and the piano.

Lt Evison was leading a patrol outside a checkpoint at Haji Alem in Helmand, when it came under enemy fire and he was shot in the shoulder.

He was taken to the hospital at Camp Bastion in Helmand, before being flown to Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital, where he died surrounded by his family.

Commanding officer Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe said: "Lieutenant Mark Evison was one of the finest young officers of his generation and a truly remarkable young man.

"He was a natural leader - tactically astute, clear-sighted and cool and decisive under pressure.

"His platoon gave him the affectionate nickname '007' - a testament to their high regard for his capability, style and charisma."

Fellow platoon commander Lt David Harris said they had "lost a great friend, son, brother and colleague".

He added: "Mark was blessed with a lust for life that inspired all around him and which saw us through many grueling Sandhurst exercises, freezing nights in Brecon and evenings in London night spots.

"In every situation, social or professional, he had a real presence and an infectious enthusiasm that lightened up even the darkest moments."

Defence Secretary John Hutton said: "Lt Mark Evison was an officer who demonstrated all the qualities of someone set for high things.

"His personality was loved by all who met him, and it is clear that his loyalty and dedication to his men, at home and in Afghanistan, was unshakable."

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