Fourth Royal Marine to die in four days named by MoD

Sgt Steven William Darbyshire Sgt Darbyshire was married with two young sons

A Royal Marine shot dead in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Sgt Steven William Darbyshire, 35, from Wigan, in Greater Manchester, was shot by insurgents on Wednesday while on security patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand province.

The father-of-two was the fourth member of 40 Commando to die in as many days.

On Thursday, the MoD announced that four British soldiers had been killed in a road accident in Helmand.

A total of 307 UK military personnel have died in Afghanistan since the start of operations in 2001.

'Shattered'

In a statement released by the MoD, Sgt Darbyshire's family said "being Royal Marine was Steven's life and [while] growing up it was all he wanted to do".

"Our world will be a bleaker place without him, his infectious laughter and fantastic sense of humour," they said.

"Mere words do not begin to convey the deep grief and painful heartbreak his untimely death has brought to his shattered family and friends."

Start Quote

He was a selfless, honest and extraordinarily courageous leader”

End Quote Lt Col Paul James 40 Commando

Sgt Darbyshire joined the Royal Marines in 1996 and served in Northern Ireland and Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan.

His first tour was in 2007 and he returned again in April this year as part of Alpha Company.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Paul James, said he was "a charismatic, loyal, determined and dedicated sergeant with an irrepressible and infectious sense of humour".

Lt Col James said: "The last time I saw him he was covered in thick mud having just fallen into an irrigation ditch, but he gave me a beaming smile and in the manner that only he could deliver, illuminatingly described his misfortune to all."

"He never took life too seriously, but he cared passionately for the lives of others. He was a selfless, honest and extraordinarily courageous leader who thrived in the role of troop sergeant."

'Inspirational leader'

Known as "Darbs" to his colleagues, Sgt Darbyshire had two young sons, Ryan and Callum, with his wife Kate.

He was a fan of football, golf and rugby, and had represented the marine corps as a rugby league player.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of his death.

"The tributes from Sergeant Steven Darbyshire's colleagues paint a picture of a talented marine and an inspirational leader, who has made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the national security of his country," he said.

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