Fylde coast soldier among dead

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A FYLDE coast soldier has been named as among the six servicemen killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed the soldiers – one named as 34-year-old Nigel Coupe, from St Annes – were on patrol when their vehicle was struck in Helmand Province on Tuesday.

All the soldiers’ families have been informed.

Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, and Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 20, Private Daniel Wade, 20, Private Daniel Wilford, 21, from 3rd Battalion, were all killed in the blast.

Five of the soldiers were serving with the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, together with a colleague from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

They were on patrol around 40km north of Lashkar Gah when their Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle was caught in the explosion.

It was reportedly caused by a large Taliban bomb.

The tragedy marks the single worst enemy attack on British troops of the Afghan campaign and takes the total number of British personnel killed on operation to more than 400 since the Afghan campaign began 10 years ago.

Lt Col Gordon Mackenzie, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “I have the tragic duty to report six soldiers are missing, believed killed, during a security patrol.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said the news marked a “desperately sad day for our country”.

He said: “This is a desperately sad day for our country and desperately sad for the families concerned. It is a reminder of the huge price that we are paying for the work we are doing in Afghanistan and the sacrifice our troops have made and continue to make.”

There were moving scenes at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster, Wiltshire, the home of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, where the dark green battalion flag emblazoned with a gold lion and white rose flew at half-mast. Mourners laid flowers and left messages of condolence.

Flags are flying at half-mast at Somme Barracks at Catterick Garrison, home to the Duke of Lancaster’s.