“TODAY we have lost a brother.”
That was the message from armed forces bosses following the tragic death of St Annes soldier Sgt Nigel Coupe, killed alongside five comrades in an explosion in southern Afghanistan.
News of the tragedy was announced on Tuesday and today, Lt Colonel Zac Stenning, commanding officer of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, the regiment Sgt Coupe was seconded to when he died, paid a moving tribute to the men.
He said: “Sgt Nigel Coupe was proud to be a Lancashire Soldier in a Yorkshire Battalion.
“His technical prowess was unmatched; he was, quite simply, the best.
“Today we have lost one of our brothers who led and mentored those above and below him with true humility.”
Tributes have also been paid to Sgt Coupe from the headquarters of the Duke Of Lancaster Regiment with which he served.
A statement released by the battalion said: “Every young man or woman who serves in army uniform is amazing.
“The great majority of those sent to Afghanistan return home alive and well, which makes it so very hard for the families and friends of those who do not.
“So as you would expect, the focus of attention for this headquarters lies with Sergeant Coupe’s family.
“At this terrible time our thoughts, and the thoughts of the wider Regimental family, are with them.”
The Ministry of Defence has named the five other dead soldiers as Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20 and Private Daniel Wilford, 21.
Lt Col Stenning said the deaths, while felt keenly by the forces with which they served, would be devestating for their family and friends left behind.
He added: “Six of our brothers have fallen.
“It has been a sad day.
“As the commanding officer of a tight knit family regiment, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my incredibly brave men,
“As their brothers-in-arms we remain committed in our duty to continue with our mission.
“They would want nothing less.
“Our loss is very great, but this is nothing when compared to the deep loss felt by their families and friends.
“Our thoughts and prayers are firmly with them today.”