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NAVY NEWS, AUGUST 2010 7 ‘These men are exceptional’

particular, Sangin. Mne Paul Warren was wounded in an explosion when Patrol Base Airport Lounge on the outskirts of Sangin was attacked by insurgents. Despite receiving immediate fi rst aid from his comrades, the injuries the 23-year-old from Leyland sustained proved to be fatal. A Royal for four years, Mne

Warren was on his second tour of duty in Helmand.

He was, said Charlie Company commander Maj Ed Moorhouse, “something special”.

IT HAS been another month of bitter sacrifi ce for the men of 40 Com- mando in their efforts to bring peace to Hel- mand – and one district in

● Band of brothers... (l-r) Mne Paul Warren – ‘something special’; L/Cpl Michael Taylor – ‘one in a million’; Sgt Steven ‘Darbs’ Darbyshire – ‘always putting the lads fi rst’; Mne David Hart – ‘the most perfect example of a Royal Marine’; Mne Matthew Harrison – ‘always up for a challenge’; Mne Jonathan Crookes – ‘his courage knew no bounds.’

defensive positions.

He continued: “That is an accolade I use sparingly in the close-knit band of brothers that we are, where all excel in doing their duty.

“It describes a man who volunteered and acted as point man for every patrol which his section undertook in Sangin; in my eyes these men, ‘on point’, are the bravest of the brave.” Section commander Cpl Simon Schofi eld added that Mne Warren was “the most ‘switched-on’ guy I have ever met”.

fi ghter in every sense of the word, always keen to lead if there was a scrap. An immensely brave man, a quality he proved on countless occasions as point man in Sangin.

He said: “Paul was a true

He had served in the Corps since 2004, after previously serving in the Army. The 30-year-old specialised as a heavy weapons expert and was providing protection for his patrol base when he was fatally wounded. “You lived to be a hero and died a hero,” said his partner Sonia Fleming. “We are all extremely proud of you and always will be. Your legacy will live on through your three wonderful boys who will aspire to be just like you.” L/Cpl Taylor’s 13-year-old son Ethan added: “He was a great dad and he did everything for us. He was one in a million and I love him.”

“He leaves behind a massive hole, but I know he would want us to go on and continue to take the fi ght to the enemy.” L/Cpl Michael Taylor was also killed in Sangin during a fi re-fi ght with insurgents. The father of three from Rhyl died manning one of the sangar

He continued: “He was someone I admired and a true friend without a fault. You don’t meet many people in your life like Mike, men who have these attributes.” A fi re-fi ght also claimed the life of Sgt Steven ‘Darbs’ Darbyshire, killed by small arms fi re while on patrol near Sangin.

Sgt Al Grant, 9 Troop Sergeant, said his comrade was a devoted family man, proud Welshman, dab hand at DIY and “bootneck through and through”.

The 35-year-old NCO from Wigan had nearly 15 years’ experience in the Corps behind him, serving in almost every operational theatre in that time – Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. He also represented the Marines at rugby league.

He leaves behind his partner, Kate, and two young sons Ryan and Callum.

Steven’s life and growing up it was all he wanted to do,” said his family.

“Being a Royal Marine was

“Our world will be a bleaker place without him, his infectious laughter and fantastic sense of humour.”

Sgt ‘Dinger’ Bell, a friend for more than a decade, said: “Darbs would never let you down – he was a constant source of entertainment. “The father fi gure of his troop; he had a calming infl uence on his lads, always putting them fi rst.”

Mne David Hart had been a Royal Marine less than two years, but had already made his mark in the Corps. The 23-year-old from North


Upon joining 40 Cdo he trained as a combat medic for a newly-formed Police Mentoring Team.

He was killed by a bomb blast while on patrol with comrades from Charlie Company and Afghan National Army troops west of Patrol Base Sangin Tufann. “There was not an ounce of malice in Dave, he was always cheerful, always upbeat and a friend to everyone.” said Maj Moorhouse.

Yorkshire was awarded the Commando Medal for his performance during training at

Cpl ‘Tommy’ Steele, section commander, Police Mentoring Troop, added: “In a nutshell, Dave Hart was the most perfect example of a Royal Marine I have ever had the privilege to have known and I was proud to have him in my section.” Mne Matthew Harrison was another green beret relatively new to the Corps, passing out of Lympstone last October. There he was awarded the

King’s Badge as the best all- round recruit of the most senior

the circumstances and no matter the rank, who would always give you the time of day; and who would go out of his way to help you.”

“He was a marine, no matter

Recruit Troop in training. The 23-year-old from Hemel Hempstead was fatally shot on a patrol with Charlie Coy and Afghan troops from Patrol Base Seylab Doo.

“Matt was unique, full of character and full of life, always up for a challenge. He died doing what he said he ‘needed to do’,” said his parents Brian and Janette.

from Halesowen earned the Commando Dagger as the best all-round recruit in training when he passed out of Lympstone in 2006.

The 26-year-old reservist

“Behind the marine, Matt had a sensitive soft heart; a precious, loveable son. Life is precious; only God knows how precious Matt was.” Troop Sergeant 7 Troop, Sgt Danny ‘Smudge’ Smith, said Mne Harrison possessed intelligence and bravery in abundance. “No matter how hard or

dangerous the task, Matt always wore his huge smile, content in the knowledge he was doing all in his power to keep his 7 Troop brothers safe,” he added. “I stand here today mourning the loss of a brother in arms and a man I am privileged to be able to call a friend.”

Mne Jonathan Crookes was killed by an explosion while trying to help evacuate a casualty during a foot patrol with Charlie Coy comrades near Sangin.

He was using his experiences on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan to help him with his university studies on International Relations. “‘Crooksey’ was a mountain of a man, strong, powerful and brave. His courage knew no bounds, he was one of the bravest of the brave in Charlie Company and that accolade is only reserved for my point men,” said Maj Moorhouse. “These men are exceptional; they lead the patrols that move along the alleys and compounds of Sangin in the full knowledge of the danger that exists around every corner.”

Sgt Smith said his fellow marines regarded Crooksey as a “shield of strength” who had saved the lives of many of his comrades by uncovering bombs.

“The men in 7 Troop looked up to Crooksey as a big brother, our very own gentle giant who was their pillar of strength, confi dently looking out for the boys.”

“I can’t thank SSAFA enough for setting the group up. It helps just knowing other mums are in your situation and that you are not totally on your own.”

Karen’s eldest son Lee, 22, was killed by a sniper while serving in Iraq. His loss was devastating for the close knit family and Karen was left feeling isolated and unable to talk about how she felt. Joining the SSAFA Forces Help Support Group for Bereaved Families with her other son Ryan gave them both the chance to meet other people with similar experiences.

WWW.SSAFA.ORG.UK 020 7403 8783

Registered Charity No. 210760 Est. 1885, Registered Charity (Scotland) No. SC038056

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