Soldier killed in Afghanistan blast named

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The Independent Online

A British soldier killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan was named today as Lance Corporal Nicky Mason.







The 26-year-old, of the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, died while on a routine patrol near Kajaki in Helmand province on Saturday, the Ministry of Defence said.



L/Cpl Mason, from Aveley in Essex, was the second soldier from the regiment to die in Afghanistan in 48 hours.



Next of kin have been informed.













Lieutenant Colonel Joe O'Sullivan, L/Cpl Mason's commanding officer, said he was part of the high-profile operation to move a turbine up to the Kajaki Dam, to provide electricity for the rest of Helmand.

He said: "The hidden story of the Kajaki Dam is the company that patrols north and south of it daily, to ensure that the Taliban cannot bring heavy weapons within accurate range, so that the power station can continue to function.



"Those who celebrate the operation to move the turbine to Kajaki should now reflect on the steadfast courage of those who were there beforehand and who still remain, and on Nicky Mason who has given his life there."



The keen boxer, who was on his first operational tour of Afghanistan, was described as a "dearly-loved" brother, son and friend by his family.



Since joining the Army in 2001, completing his training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, he had completed an operational tour of Northern Ireland as well as two tours of Iraq.



The MoD said he "excelled" in the heat and hills surrounding Kajaki.



L/Cpl Mason was a martial arts enthusiast who competed "to a high standard in a range of disciplines", it was said.



His family, who have not been named, issued a statement saying he was "too dearly loved to be forgotten".



"He died doing the job he loved," they added.



Major Simon Britton, Officer Commanding X Company at Kajaki, added: "In the aftermath of a fatality such as this it is often said that a soldier was 'well-liked' or 'a friend to all'. In the case of Lance Corporal Nicky Mason, these comments could not be more true.



"He was an excellent soldier undoubtedly, but his outstanding quality was his warmth and character.



"His ready smile was infectious and his effect upon the morale of those who lived and fought beside him will be truly missed."



His death brought the number of British service personnel killed in the country since operations began in October 2001 to 120.



The blast followed the death on Friday of Private Jason Lee Rawstron, also from 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.



The 23-year-old, from Clayton-Le-Moors, Lancashire, was killed during a firefight with Taliban forces in Helmand Province.

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