Afghan hero killed by roadside bomb had won Military Cross

Decorated sergeant dies in explosion on his third tour of duty in Helmand

A British soldier who was previously awarded the Military Cross for trying to retrieve the body of one his comrades under fire in Afghanistan was named yesterday as the latest fatality in Helmand.

Sergeant Michael Lockett, from the 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, died while on duty in the Gereshk district of Helmand Province on Monday. Nearing the end of his third tour of Afghanistan, he was on foot patrol investigating the discovery of an Improvised Explosive Device when it detonated. His death took the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan since the start of operations to 217.

Last month, another soldier from the Mercians, Private Jason Williams, 23, lost his life while trying to recover the body of an Afghan soldier at Zumbalay in the Upper Gereshk Valley.

In 2007, Sgt Lockett was awarded a Military Cross for bravery while leading his platoon in a battle to save soldiers in Garmsir, southern Helmand.

The soldiers were attempting to recover the body of Pte Johan Botha, a South African on his first overseas tour since joining the Mercians, when a firefight against the Taliban broke out. Sgt Craig Brelsford died and was awarded a posthumous Military Cross. Lieutenant (now Captain) Simon Cupples, who led efforts to retrieve the body, was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, the second highest bravery medal.

After receiving the award, Sgt Lockett said: "There were so many emotions. It was horrible. But you have to show the lads you are in control, they're looking to you for inspiration. It gets to the point that you've got guys out there and you're not leaving them."

He had also spoken of his hopes that new Osprey body armour could help save lives in future.

Garmsir became a totemic location in the conflict, with the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai deeply embarrassed by its loss to the Taliban.

A lack of British manpower meant that although the area was retaken more than once from the Taliban, it could not be held because of a shortage of troops on the ground. It was eventually retaken by 2,000 US troops in 2007.

Sgt Lockett, from Monifieth in Angus, joined the 1st Battalion, the Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, in Tidworth in 1996, and had served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland as well as Afghanistan.

Lieutenant-Colonel Simon Banton, commanding officer of Sgt Lockett's regiment, described him as one the "brightest and its best".

"Locky was a natural leader in whatever situation he found himself and was admired for his commitment and selfless behaviour," he said.

"In every aspect of his military bearing he set an example that others would wish to match: fit, smart, intelligent, compassionate and brave."

Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, also paid tribute to Sgt Lockett, adding he was "saddened" by the news. "His gallantry is not only demonstrated by the fact he held the Military Cross for previous brave actions, but also by the manner in which he died, investigating the find of an improvised explosive device in an effort to save the lives of others."

He leaves three children, Connor, Chloe and Courtney, as well as his girlfriend, Belinda. His parents, Mal and April, described him as "everything that we could ever have wanted in a son, and a devoted father". They said: "His passing has left a huge void in all our lives that can never be filled."

An MoD spokesman said: "Locky, as he was known to his friends, will always be remembered for his infectious laugh and prominence as a man.

"His leadership style was the exact mix of compassion and steel which garnered the respect of both those he led and those he served."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower