Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Tributes to Afghan Territorial Army soldier victim

Rifleman Marshall
PCSO Marshall joined the police force in 2006 and served in Exeter

Tributes have been paid to a police support officer serving with the Territorial Army who was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Rifleman Mark Marshall, 29, from Exeter, was killed by a roadside bomb north-east of Sangin on Sunday.

A member of 6th Battalion, the Rifles, he was serving in Helmand as a "point man" with 3 Rifles Battle Group, with the role of clearing improvised bombs.

One officer said the "policeman by day" was a "talented soldier by night".

His death was unconnected to the ongoing offensive against the Taliban.

His battle group commanding officer, Lt Col Nick Kitson, said Rifleman Marshall had shown "courage, selflessness and humour" and had the "respect and friendship" of all his company.

"Rifleman Marshall was one of the willing band of volunteers who signed up to join the Battle Group on what they knew would be a most challenging tour," he said.

Rifleman Mark Marshall
Rifleman Marshall joined the TA in October 2007

"A policeman by day and talented soldier by night, he epitomised everything that is great about our reserve forces and the men and women who serve in them."

Devon district commander Ch Supt Jo Tennant said PCSO Marshall was a "great character" and "an important part of the team".

"Mark was one of our most experienced PCSOs and will be hugely missed by all his colleagues across Exeter and by the communities he was so proud to serve.

"His work with young people was very much appreciated by all those he came into contact with; he had the ability to motivate and inspire youngsters," she said.

PCSO Marshall joined the police in 2006, serving in Exeter within the Priory and latterly Countess Wear and Topsham neighbourhood policing teams.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said he was "extremely saddened" to hear about Rifleman Marshall's death, saying he had made a "great contribution" to the safety and security of the UK.

Rifleman Marshall is survived by his mother, Lynn, girlfriend, Hayley, and brother and sister, Alex and Jo.

A total of 261 UK service personnel have died in the conflict since 2001.



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