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Afghan blast victim’s mum in tribute to a ‘beloved son'

Tributes were paid last night to a Territorial Army soldier killed in an explosion while on foot patrol in Afghanistan.

Rifleman Mark Marshall (29), of 6 Rifles, a Police Community Support Officer, died on Sunday in Sangin, Helmand province.

His mother Lynn described him as a “beloved son” who “lived life to the full”.

Rifleman Marshall's death comes during a grim period for British forces.

A British soldier died yesterday in small arms fire in the Musa Qala area. And last night the MoD announced a soldier had died near Sangin while dealing with a roadside bomb.

None of the three fatalities are related to Operation Moshtarak.

A total of 261 British service personnel have now died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001.

Rifleman Marshall, from Exeter, leaves behind his mother, girlfriend Hayley and brother and sister, Alex and Jo.

Mrs Marshall said: “I am hugely proud of my dear and beloved son; he lived life to the full and will be sorely missed by all.”

Rifleman Marshall was point man in his patrol charged with the clearance of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). He was killed when a roadside bomb detonated while he was on a routine patrol.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, Commanding Officer, 3 RIFLES Battle Group, said: “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.

“From the moment he arrived with his Company he had the respect and friendship of them all.

“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.”

”He displayed all the chara\[Stephen Holland\]teristics that I look for in a Rifleman; courage, selflessness and humour, and for these things he was treasured by those who worked alongside him.

“The dedication he showed in protecting his fellow Riflemen by diligently scouring the ground for devices, all the while working towards a better future for local Afghans, gives us great cause for pride and a real source of inspiration.”

Major Mike Lynch, Officer Commanding, C Company 3 RIFLES, said: “During his initial interview Mark made it clear that he had signed up for the tour for the following reasons; 'to test myself, to meet new people and to face a new challenge'.

“I firmly believe that he achieved all these and much more.”

He added: “Mark was a conscientious and selfless Rifleman and one of the kindest men I have ever had the pleasure to serve with.”

Rifleman Marshall had been concerned that Army colleagues would find out about his job as a policeman.

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