Rupert Hamer: A great reporter and charming friend

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The Independent Online

Rupert Hamer's sense of humour was so dry that it was often not until a wry grin crossed his face that you realised he was joking. His sharp wit, tinged with insightful cynicism, made light of the harshest environments.

Modest and self-effacing, he was a charming friend and always quick to credit others.

At work, he wore a creased, slightly oversized suit, the image of a rumpled academic rather than the dedicated war correspondent that he was. Though highly experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was never gung-ho, simply accepting the risks stoically and with quiet courage.

Devoted to his wife, Helen, and their three children, he made regular calls home. He was aware of the dangers he faced, but more conscious of the pressure it placed on those he loved.

He joined the Sunday Mirror 12 years ago and became defence correspondent in 2004, working tirelessly to become an expert in his field. Not one to seek glory, he remained determined to report the wars from the front line, battling to keep the conflicts and the sacrifices made by British troops high in the public consciousness against the pressures of a more frivolous news agenda at home.

His reporting was intelligent and perceptive. He did not shy from difficult stories and had a genuine understanding of the complexities involved.

The shock and sadness with which his death has been greeted by journalists and soldiers he worked with is a tribute to the high regard in which he was held.