Tributes paid to British servicemen killed in Afghanistan


The families of two British servicemen killed on duty in Afghanistan have paid tribute to them.

Father-of-four Lance Corporal Matthew David Smith, 26, from the Corps of Royal Engineers, died on Friday after being shot while trying to build a checkpoint in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

His mother Caroline Smith described him as a “hero”.

The father of Lieutenant Andrew Robert Chesterman of 3rd Battalion The Rifles, who was shot by enemy forces on Thursday while on patrol in the same district, said his family had lost “a fine young man”.

Paul Chesterman added the serviceman's relatives were “immensely proud” of him.

The 26-year-old, from Bristol, was commanding a vehicle patrol when the lead vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

The Ministry of Defence said that as Lt Chesterman moved forward to take control of the situation, insurgents opened fire and he was shot. He was taken to hospital in Camp Bastion but could not be saved.

The rifleman, who was a platoon commander with C Company, was deployed to Afghanistan on April 7 and leaves behind his father and sisters Anna and Olivia.

He was described as an “outstanding leader” by comrades.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Maconochie, commanding officer of 3rd Battalion The Rifles, said: “Professional excellence, self-discipline, integrity and loyalty are characteristics that immediately spring to mind when I think about Andrew.”

Captain Rob Fellows, second-in-command of C Company, added: “Andy was utterly committed to his men and not afraid to stand up for them to anyone he felt he needed to, regardless of rank.

“His selflessness was typified by the way he died moving forward to support his men following an IED (improvised explosive device) strike.”

Lieutenant James Cowen, intelligence officer with C Company, said: “He was diligent and caring while also ferociously protective when it came to the men under his command, something I know they are extremely grateful for.

“Among his many good traits, this is the one I admire the most, as there is nothing more honourable than absolute loyalty to the men you fight alongside.”

L/Cpl Smith was part of a troop tasked to build a new checkpoint next the Nahr-e-Bughra Canal when he was hit by small arms fire. Despite efforts to save him he died from his wounds.

The soldier, who had four children - Lainie, Ella, Tilli and Jai - aged between one and seven, and a fiancee, Laura, was said to devoted to his family and “talked about them endlessly”.

The keen footballer, who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Aldershot, was described by his comrades as a “big character” who gave himself the nickname Smudge.

They spoke about his adoration for his family and said he would always be counting down to his leave when he would get to see them.

Corporal Matt Copping, 6 Troop section commander, 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 26 Engineer Regiment, said: “With L/Cpl Smith as my second in command my job was easy. Professional at all times, he was always smart as a carrot and twice as crunchy.

“He loved his family with all his heart and couldn't wait for his rest and recuperation leave, giving me a daily countdown.

“L/Cpl Smith's family have lost a major part of their life and my thoughts are constantly with them. I was proud to have known and worked with Smudge; it was a privilege. Not only have I lost a great colleague, but a great mate.”

Lance Corporal Kev Engstrom, section second in command, 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, added: “A very big character within the troop, he easily lifted morale with his sense of humour. He was someone you always wanted to be around - during tasks, downtime and away from work.”

Staff Sergeant Paddy McDermott said: “L/Cpl Smith's professionalism was unquestionable and his dedication to his work outstanding.

“The only thing he put in front of work was his family and friends. From the moment he woke up in the morning to the second when he closed his eyes at night he was happy about life.”

Major Chris Ankers, officer commanding of 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, described the soldier as a true leader of men.

He said: “L/Cpl Smith died whilst working to make a difference in Afghanistan, constructing a checkpoint to ensure long-term security in Nad-e Ali and a better life for the Afghan people.

“Confident, dependable and extremely capable, he thoroughly understood and excelled in his role in Afghanistan.”

Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond said he was “immensely saddened” to learn of both deaths.


Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice