Afghanistan soldiers: Families pay tribute to 'heroes'

The families of some of the six UK soldiers killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday have paid tribute to their fallen "hero" sons.

Mark Taylor, 44, the father of Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, said the death of his son JJ was a "massive, massive loss".

Margaret Charlesworth, 47, the mother of Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, said he was a legend and she was heartbroken.

Also killed were Pte Daniel Wade, 20; Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19; Pte Daniel Wilford, 21; and Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33.

The six soldiers died when their Warrior armoured vehicle was hit by a huge Taliban bomb in Kandahar province.

Mr Taylor said his son would have turned 21 on Saturday and the whole family would be going out in his honour.

'Legend to us'

"We're devastated at the loss of our son. He's our best friend as well. Jake was always in the limelight. He was a larger-than-life character," he said.

"He was really determined to do well in Army life.

"He was kind, generous, heart of gold, an absolutely wicked sense of humour. He loved all his family and friends. He had such a big group of friends both in the Army and civilian life.

"It's a massive, massive loss, just taken away so quickly."

Image caption Mr Taylor said his son JJ was a natural leader and fantastic soldier

Margaret Charlesworth, 47, the mother of Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, said her son "Anton" was a "legend" and "hero" and the whole family were "heartbroken".

She said he loved the routine of the Army - the lads, and the training.

"He was just the joker, the clown. He entertained all the troops. He lifted them up with his daft dances and karaoke and singing. And they loved him for it," she said.

Susan Clarke, 51, the aunt of Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, said: "He was very loving, he enjoyed having lots of fun and would do anything for anybody, a very caring young man."

She added: "He's a hero in our eyes and he's going to be sorely missed."

Sgt Coupe, from St Annes in Lancashire, was on secondment to the regiment from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

The other five, who left for Afghanistan on 14 February, were from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.

Image caption Margaret Charlesworth said her son loved the comradeship of the Army

Pte Wilford, Pte Frampton and Cpl Hartley came from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and Pte Kershaw came from Bradford. Pte Wade was from Warrington in Cheshire.

All six were based at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster, Wiltshire, where flowers have been laid at the entrance.

The deaths represent the biggest single loss of British life in Afghanistan since September 2006, when an RAF Nimrod crashed, killing 14 people.

It takes the total number of British military personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 404.

Yorkshire Regiment's commanding officer, Lt Col Zac Stenning, earlier paid tribute to his "incredibly brave men".

"This week, six of our brothers have fallen. It has been a sad day but, as their brothers-in-arms, we remain committed in our duty to continue with our mission. They would want nothing less," he said.

"Our loss is very great today. But this is, of course, nothing when compared to the deep loss felt by their families and friends."

The six soldiers had been on a security patrol in a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle when it was caught in an explosion in Kandahar province.

The Taliban told the BBC they had carried out the attack and were "very proud of it".

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