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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 17:04 GMT
Funeral for marine killed at fort
Lance Corporal Mathew Ford
L/Cpl Mathew Ford was killed in action in Garmsir
The funeral of a Royal Marine killed in action in Afghanistan has taken place in North East Lincolnshire.

L/Cpl Mathew Ford, of 45 Commando Royal Marines, died during an attack on a Taleban fort in the Helmand province.

Family and friends gathered for a service at St Andrew's Church in Immingham where L/Cpl Ford, 30, was brought up.

The marine, who shared a flat in Dundee with his fiancée, Ina, was one of 200 soldiers who attacked the Garmsir fort.

'Gentle giant'

Childhood friend Cpl Lee Gale read a tribute on behalf of L/Cpl Ford's mother and family.

It read: "My dearest Mathew, my gentle giant, my baby, my number one. We have all shed buckets of tears and our hearts have been shattered into thousands of tiny pieces.

"But I know in my heart when the pain stops the tears will stop. These tiny little pieces will all rekindle in our hearts and we will become one."

His loss will be keenly felt
Colonel Mark Noble, Royal Marines

The soldier was the subject of a dramatic rescue attempt by his colleagues, who strapped themselves to two Apache helicopters which landed inside and outside the fort's wall.

On landing they discovered he was already dead.

The fort had been a surveillance target for more than two months.

Speaking before the service, Colonel Mark Noble, of the Royal Marines, said Matthew was "much liked and much respected by all his colleagues".

"He was typical of his kind - a fit, enthusiastic, highly-motivated young soldier, a Royal Marine doing his best by his mates. His loss will be keenly felt."

He added that the rescue mission was "not surprising".

"We would always do everything in our power to recover one of our own," he said.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Footage of the dramatic rescue attempt



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