The MoD has confirmed the deaths of Sergeant Luke Taylor, 33, of the Royal Marines and LCpl Michael Foley, 23, from Nelson in Lancs. Sgt Taylor, from Bournemouth, leaves behind his wife Nicola and young son. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said they were brave and committed soldiers. More on this item later.
Statement from Ministry of Defence:
Sergeant Luke Taylor, aged 33, joined the Royal Marines in 1997. Over the course of his impressive career, Luke gathered extensive operational experience doing a job that he loved. He readily sought out new challenges and tackled them with enthusiasm and a determination to succeed.
Sergeant Taylor was outstandingly professional. He was a selfless, dedicated and talented Royal Marine who approached everything he did with passion, a keen sense of humour and the desire to excel. A modest and capable Senior Non Commissioned Officer, he was liked and respected by everyone he worked with and was always committed to doing everything he could to assist his comrades in arms. His generous and compassionate nature made him a very popular member of the unit. Although he had arrived in Theatre only four weeks previously, he worked hard to drive the work of his team forward, achieving much in a short time and leaving a legacy that will be hard to match.
Sergeant Taylor came from Bournemouth. He married in 2008 and leaves behind his beloved wife, Nicola, and their young son, Roan. Luke was a devoted husband and father, and often talked of his family back in the UK. He will be sorely missed by his comrades but this is nothing compared to the loss that his family will feel. Our thoughts are with them.
Sergeant Taylor's commanding officer, who cannot be named for operational reasons: "
"Sergeant Luke Taylor was one of those very unique 'soldiers' who combined the highest professional standards with a completely disarming and relaxed personality.
"Always an absolute pleasure to work with, you knew that Sergeant Taylor would deliver first time, every time. With a wealth of experience under his belt, he was fearless and would tackle every challenge head on with his usual charismatic but direct approach. He was a natural focal point; those junior would look up to him, those above would listen when he spoke. Physically robust, he was a great sportsman and always lead from the front.
And that is how I will remember him – a natural leader, with inspirational flair who was devoted to his family. They are of course, utmost in my mind, at this terribly sad time."