UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan a 'shining example'

L/Cpl Monkhouse (left) and Cpl Stenton were shot dead as they rescued a wounded colleague L/Cpl Monkhouse (left) and Cpl Stenton and were shot dead as they rescued a wounded colleague

Tributes have been paid to two British soldiers shot dead in Afghanistan trying to rescue a wounded colleague.

Cpl Matthew James Stenton, from Wakefield, Yorkshire, and L/Cpl Stephen Daniel Monkhouse from Greenock in Inverclyde died in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand on Wednesday.

They served in the Royal Dragoon Guards and 1st Battalion Scots Guards respectively.

Family members and comrades said their sacrifices "would never be forgotten".

Paying tribute to Cpl Stenton, 23, his family said: "A loving son, brother and grandson who will be dearly missed. Matthew always took life in his stride and never lost sight of the important things in life - his family and friends.

"Matthew died how he lived his life, surrounded by his friends. We are so proud of Matthew and it comes as no surprise to us to hear that he died whilst trying to help one of his fellow comrades."

L/Cpl Monkhouse's family said: "Although Stephen died in very tragic circumstances, it is comforting to know that he died doing a job he loved - being a soldier. He loved the Army and the Scots Guards.

"He died trying to help save another life, that sums Stephen up. He loved life and lived it to the full and his memory will live on with us and his friends forever. God bless you son."

'Inspirational'

Cpl Stenton, who joined the Army after leaving school, had completed two operational tours of Iraq.

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Lt Col James Carr-Smith, Commanding Officer, The Royal Dragoon Guards, said he "loved soldiering" and "cared passionately for the soldiers under his command".

"It was typical of Cpl Matt Stenton that on the afternoon of Wednesday, 21 July 2010 he was yet again looking out for those more junior than himself.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will miss him hugely but his sacrifice will never be forgotten," he said in comments on the Ministry of Defence website.

Maj Denis James, Officer Commanding D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said the soldier was an "uncomplicated man and the kindest of friends; he was also a hard, tenacious soldier who always fought for what he believed in".

"His sacrifice will inspire us forever," he added.

He leaves behind his father and stepmother, Michael and Gillian, and his sister, Charlotte.

'Shining example'

L/Cpl Monkhouse, 28, joined the Army in 2003 and was deployed to Afghanistan at the beginning of July.

Lt Col Lincoln Jopp MC, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Scots Guards said L/Cpl Monkhouse - known as Monkey - had made an "immediate impression" and "shone and excelled" when he moved up into the Pipes and Drums.

"He loved his drumming and only a week before he was killed, he proudly played here in Lashkar Gah for our colonel, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.

"He was always a proud father, son and brother, and a true friend to all.

"Monkey died coming to the aid of a guardsman who had been shot. He did what every soldier hopes he will have the courage to do if the need arises: he laid down his life for his friend. We salute him and we honour our fallen."

Pipe Major Brian Heriot, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said L/Cpl Monkhouse was a "shining example of how with determination and ambition you can achieve your goals".

He was a father to Brandon, and an older brother to Allan, Ashleigh and Stacey.

A total of 324 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

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