Page last updated at 21:31 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Royal Marine dies in Afghanistan

Royal Marine
The Royal Marine died during a routine patrol in Afghanistan

A Royal Marine has been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The serviceman from 45 Commando Royal Marines, based in Arbroath, died during a routine patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand province.

He is the 137th British serviceman to die in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.

The MoD said his next of kin have been informed. He is the 12th Royal Marine to die in the past two months.

Cdr Paula Rowe, spokeswoman for Task Force Helmand, said: "Every death is tragic, yet at the turning of the year, with the celebration and hope it promises, this loss is all the harder to bear.

"All our thoughts go to his family, friends and colleagues who will be devastated by his sacrifice."

'Ultimate sacrifice'

Royal Navy Captain Mark Windsor, spokesman for International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), of which the UK forces are part, said: "Our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of this brave serviceman, particularly at this time of year.

"This serviceman's life was taken while helping to bring peace and security to the people of Afghanistan.

"Isaf will continue to fight for the cause for which he made the ultimate sacrifice."

The unnamed soldier's death follows that of fellow Royal Marine, 20-year-old L/Cpl Benjamin Whatley, who was killed on Christmas Eve.

L/Cpl Whatley, of Tittleshall, Norfolk, was killed by enemy fire in Helmand province while leading his men into action against Taliban fighters.

On Tuesday the funeral of fellow Royal Marine, L/Cpl Steve Fellows, 26, took place in his hometown of Sheffield.

He was killed after an explosion hit his vehicle while on routine patrol in Helmand province on 12 December.

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