The widow of a young Northern Ireland soldier killed while on patrol in Afghanistan today described him as “the love of my life and the best person I have ever met”.
Belfast man Sean Binnie, a soldier from the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was patrolling with an Afghan National Army unit in Helmand Province when he was shot dead yesterday.
The 22-year-old, from the Ravenhill Road area of east Belfast, had just recently married his wife Amanda (21), who is “devastated” by his death. He was killed during a reassurance patrol in Woqab, close to Musa Qal’eh in Helmand.
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “This is another tragic situation where we all feel this great loss. Words mean very little in this extremely sad situation but our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this brave soldier. Their pain is our pain and as the years go by we will mourn the loss of this true British hero.”
It is understood Mr Binnie had just been deployed to Afghanistan last month.
Tributes have been flooding in for him on social networking sites.
In a poignant message on her Bebo site Mr Binnie’s heartbroken wife Amanda described him as “her life and soul”.
“He is the love of my life and the best person I have ever met. He is my life and soul, he is the one who keeps me going ... I’m so, so proud of you my brave soldier,” she said.
In another post Amanda wrote: “He was a great husband and an amazing friend and soldier.
“His job was his life. He loved it. I’m so proud of him, he is so brave I’ll never forget him. He won’t forget us. He will be with me forever in my life. He won’t ever go away.
“Please pray for our troops at this time, they really need it. |God bless all you families and wives of soldiers, you’ll never be out of my thoughts at this time or ever. They are so brave, be so proud.”
Mr Binnie was the 154th member of the British armed forces to have died in Afghanistan since the conflict began in late 2001.
Britain has more than 8,000 troops based in Afghanistan, most serving in Helmand, a desert province that remains a heartland of the Taliban-led insurgency.
UUP councillor for the area Jim Rodgers said: “This is absolutely terrible and my thoughts and prayers are very much with his family at this sad and difficult time.
“Serving in the armed forces is an extremely difficult job and one never knows the moment that a life is going to be lost or serious injury is going to occur.
“This is unbelievable and my heart goes out to all who are related to this man.”