UK

Royal Marine shot dead in Afghanistan gun battle

Royal Marines on patrol in Afghanistan in 2009
Image caption Three Royal Marines who served in Afghanistan have died since Sunday

A Royal Marine has been shot dead in a gun battle with insurgents in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The marine, from 40 Commando, was killed in the Sangin district of Helmand province on Tuesday.

The serviceman is the third from 40 Commando to have died in three days.

The death takes the total number of UK service personnel killed as a result of the Afghanistan conflict since 2001 to 302. The marine's family has been told.

Lt Col James Carr-Smith, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "He was involved in an exchange of fire with insurgents when he was killed by small arms fire.

"He died a marine, in the course of his duty and alongside his mates and Afghan National Army partners. He will be sorely missed and his actions will not be forgotten. We will remember him."

Another marine, yet to be named, was killed in an explosion on Monday night. His next of kin have been informed.

Marine Richard Hollington, 23, of Petersfield, Hampshire, became the 300th member of the British forces to be killed in Afghanistan.

He died in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Sunday morning after being wounded in a blast in Helmand on 12 June.

In a statement, Marine Hollington's family said he would leave "a huge numbing hole in the lives of his family, friends and Royal Marine colleagues".

They said: "The saying goes, 'It is better to live one day as a lion than your whole life as a worm'.

"He chose to live his days as a lion and to us, and we believe his friends, he was the biggest, if softest, lion in the pride - how proud of him we all are."

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