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.

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering