Afghanistan deaths: Royal Marines named by MoD
Two Royal Marines killed in a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan have been named by the Ministry of Defence.
Marine Sam Alexander, 28, of west London, and Lt Ollie Augustin, 23, of Kent, both of 42 Commando, died on Friday after an explosion in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province.
Marine Alexander's wife, Claire, said he was "so special" and Lt Augustin's parents said their son was "beautiful".
Some 368 UK service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
Marine Alexander, from Hammersmith, was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry two years ago after saving the life of a wounded colleague in Afghanistan.
According to the citation for his award, he charged at the Taliban with his pistol to provide cover "despite being completely exposed to heavy and accurate enemy fire".
He joined the Royal Marines in 2006 and had trained as a heavy weapons specialist.
He married his wife, Claire, two years ago and the couple had a son, Leo, born in July last year.
"Sam was so special. He was the gentlest of men but tough when he needed to be. He risked his safety for his friends but never batted an eyelid," she said.
"It was his job and a job he did well. Sam was a loving husband and a wonderful father. He was our rock and my best friend. He has been taken from me all too soon.
"We both love him and will miss him very much. These are all special guys who, for whatever reason, join a very tough band of blokes who willingly die for each other without a second thought. I just hope his death was not in vain."
Commanding officer of 42 Commando, Lt Col Ewen Murchison, said he was "truly remarkable".
"Decorated during his last tour of Afghanistan for gallantry, he embodied all the finest attributes of a Royal Marines Commando," he said.
"He was courageous, selfless, resolute, loyal and cheerful in the face of adversity."
He and Lt Augustin, from Dartford, were on patrol "disrupting insurgent activity" when they were killed.
Lt Augustin is survived by his father, Sean, his mother, Jane, and his sister, Sarah.
In a joint statement, his parents said: "Ollie was a much loved and cherished son. He was a beautiful boy who we were very proud of.
"He had many friends that he loved and who loved him in return. His warmth and humour lit a room and infected all around him.
"He dealt with people in a thoughtful and compassionate way. His independence and sense of adventure meant that he embraced life and his chosen path. Ollie we will all love and miss you forever."
Before joining the marines, Lt Augustin left Dartford Grammar School aged 18 to travel for a year and spent two months volunteering at a school in Kenya.
Lt Col Ewen Murchison said he had "considerable potential and a bright future ahead of him".
"As a leader he was inspirational, passionate and selfless, putting the welfare of his men above all else - they adored him and looked to him for direction, but looked on him as a brother in arms," he added.
The battalion-sized formation of 42 Commando is based at Bickleigh Barracks in Plymouth, Devon.