Marine killed in Afghanistan had lost mother

Lance Corporal Martin Gill
Image caption Lance Corporal Martin Gill's mother had died shortly before he was deployed to Afghanistan

A Royal Marine shot dead in Afghanistan had lost his mother just weeks before he was deployed overseas.

L/Cpl Martin Gill, who was 22 and from Nottingham, died on Sunday. He served in 42 Commando.

A second British serviceman was killed in Afghanistan on the same day, the MoD has announced.

That soldier, from 1st Battalion The Rifles, died in the Haji Kareen area of the Nahr-e Saraj (south) district. He has yet to be officially named.

The number of UK personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 is now 371.

L/Cpl Gill's company commander said the marine became the "bedrock" for his younger brother and sister after their mother died a month before the start of his tour in Afghanistan.

He was an hour into his patrol when it was fired upon from a nearby compound. He was hit and fatally wounded.

L/Cpl Gill was born on 14 August 1988. He lived in Nottingham with his brother, John, and his sister, Rebecca.

'Rare quality'

L/Cpl Gill's brother and sister - and his girlfriend, Lauren - said in a statement: "Martin Joseph Gill was proud to be a Royal Marine. He was always up for a challenge, and unfortunately died doing what he had always wanted to do.

"He was the life and soul of every party, beloved and cherished by everyone. Martin will be deeply loved and missed forever."

Lt Col Ewen Murchison, commanding officer of 42 Commando Royal Marines, said: "L/Cpl Martin Gill or 'Fish', as he was known by his mates, was a marine of rare quality.

"Despite his mum dying only weeks before the start of the tour, he was exceptionally keen to deploy. This was the mark of the man - passionate and dedicated to his profession and utterly loyal to his friends and fellow marines.

"His friends described him as 'morale in a box'. Only last week, he made an Afghanistan Monopoly board to keep his colleagues entertained. He was quick-witted and a constant source of banter.

"The death of L/Cpl Gill is an appalling tragedy and today is a truly sad day for 42 Commando. We have lost a brave young Marine and it has hit the unit hard."

Lt Col Murchison went on to say the unit's thoughts were with L/Cpl Gill's family.

The next-of-kin for the soldier from 1 Rifles have been informed of their relative's death.

Speaking about that soldier, Lt Col Tim Purbrick said: "The soldier was part of a foot patrol, supporting an Afghan National Security Forces operation to clear one of the last remaining insurgent safe havens in central Helmand, when he was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

"The family have been informed and have requested a 24-hour period before further details are released."

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