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Blast soldier 'one of the best'

Colleagues of a soldier killed in Afghanistan have told how his death has left a "gaping hole" in their ranks.

Rifleman Martin Lamb of 1st Battalion The Rifles died in a bomb blast while on patrol on Sunday.

On Tuesday his commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel James de Labilliere described him as "one of my very best" and "talented, capable and naturally gifted as a most professional soldier".

The 27-year-old father of one, who was from Gloucestershire, had been deployed to Afghanistan in April and was based in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand province.

Rfn Lamb, who had also served in Iraq in 2008, leaves wife Melissa and two-year-old daughter Rosie.

Lt Col de Labilliere said Rfn Lamb and his patrol had made "extraordinary gains" against insurgents.

He added: "His own personal contribution, courage and sacrifice will be forever remembered as the price paid for this significant success.

"But 'Lamby' will also be remembered for his energy, zeal and commitment - he was a man with many friends and others naturally gravitated to him. He was one of life's real characters, and he was due to be promoted soon.

"Rifleman Lamb now steps up to take a unique place in our regimental history. His name joins a list of those from whom we all draw on for both inspiration and courage.

"At this most difficult time our thoughts and prayers go to Melissa, young Rosie and to his mother and step-father in Gloucestershire."


From Belfast Telegraph