Shot soldier 'died saving comrades'
A British soldier shot down in southern Afghanistan died saving the lives of his comrades as he took on the enemy in a firefight, his men said.
Corporal Michael Pike, 26, from Huntly, Scotland, was fatally wounded by insurgents who attacked his patrol with guns and rocket propelled grenades in the Lashkar Gah District of Helmand Province on Friday.
His friends and colleagues, from 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, said he was killed "putting up a fight" and "saving the lives of the men he was devoted to". They said the father-of-two was the epitome of a Highland soldier and would not have wanted his fellow soldiers to dwell on his loss.
The tributes came as a Royal Marine, from 42 Commando Royal Marines, was shot dead this morning on patrol in the Nahr-e-Saraj area of Helmand. Next of kin have been informed.
The latest incident brings the total number of UK military personnel who have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 to 370.
Cpl Pike, described as a "loving and caring family man", leaves behind a wife, Ida, and two children, Joshua and Evelynn. His wife said: "My husband would want everybody to know that he died doing a job he loved and that he loved our children with all his heart and soul."
Cpl Pike, second in command of 2 platoon, A Company, based at Check Point Pegasus, was on his second tour of Afghanistan.
He was leading the patrol in the area of Pupalzay along Highway 601 when it came under attack. He fired back on the enemy and his colleagues praised his quick reactions which allowed them time to move out of danger.
His platoon said in a joint statement: "He passed away doing the job he loved but he didn't go down without putting up a fight. He was suppressing the enemy in order to cover the lead wagon, the ground call sign and to allow other call signs to manoeuvre out of immediate danger."
And Lieutenant Robert Grant, 2 Platoon Commander, A Company, said: "The loss of Corporal Pike, one of the funniest, most life affirming and professionally diligent men I have ever had the privilege to meet, strikes deep in to the heart and soul of all those who knew him. An exceptional soldier and inspirational leader, Corporal Pike will be forever missed."