Tributes to soldiers killed in Afghanistan

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The Independent Online

The families and friends of a special forces soldier and a cavalry lance corporal who were killed in an explosion in Afghanistan spoke yesterday of their pride and grief.

L/Cpl Nigel "Moff" Moffett, 28, was described as a man of outstanding bravery and dedication who was always at the forefront of the action and Cpl Stephen Bolger, 30, was praised as a courageous and talented soldier.

L/Cpl Moffett, of the Light Dragoons, and Cpl Bolger, of the 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, Special Forces Support Group, were part of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) on an operation targeting the Taliban south of Musa Qala on Saturday morning when their Jackal vehicle was hit by a bomb.

Two other soldiers were injured. Friends of L/Cpl Moffett, who had already served two tours in Iraq and was on his second in Helmand, said he stood out from the crowd as a man of legendary fitness, as strong as an ox, and a regimental character renowned for his Irish wit and charm. "He was a gentle soul and the eldest son.

He had seven brothers and sisters and his late mother always said he was the most fantastic son and he was her right arm in bringing up his siblings," said his father, Nigel Moffett senior.

His commanding officer, Major Neil Grant, said: "He was courageous under fire, and showed a streak of tenacity of which we in the BRF are immensely proud. A committed professional with burning ambition, he was hoping to attempt special forces selection next summer after this tour. He would have acquitted himself well."

Cpl Bolger's family said: "Stephen was always happy, caring and generous and we are sure that those fortunate enough to have known him will share in the loss we are now feeling."

His commanding officer, who cannot be named, added that he had lost an extraordinary man, who embodied a life based on service to others, duty and self-sacrifice. Their deaths take the total number of British fatalities in Afghanistan to 165 since operations started in 2001. It has been a devastating week for troops in Helmand, having lost four men in as many days.

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