Royal Marine shot dead in Helmand named
A Royal Marine shot dead in a gun battle with insurgents in southern Afghanistan has been named.
L/Cpl Michael Taylor, 30, from Rhyl, who served with 40 Commando, was fatally wounded in the Sangin district of Helmand province on Tuesday.
The father-of-three was protecting his patrol base. His partner, Sonia Fleming, paid tribute to her "soul mate" who she said died a "hero".
Four Royal Marines serving in Afghanistan have died since Sunday.
The latest was shot dead by insurgents while conducting a security patrol to reassure locals in the Sangin district on Wednesday.
It followed L/Cpl Taylor's death on Tuesday, that of Marine Paul Warren, 23, from Leyland, Lancashire, on Monday and Marine Richard Hollington, 23, of Petersfield, Hampshire, who died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Sunday eight days after being wounded in a blast.
Marine Hollington was the 300th member of the UK forces to die in the Afghan conflict.
L/Cpl Taylor, a father of three boys, has been deployed to Sangin in March this year, where he was part of a team responsible for the security. He had conducted dozens of patrols in support of local people.
A former British army soldier, he joined the Royal Marines in 2004.
Ms Fleming, his partner, said: "Michael you were my soul mate, you were the best loving partner and Dad anyone could have asked for.
"You lived to be a hero and died a hero. We are all extremely proud of you and always will be. Your legacy will live on through your three wonderful boys who will inspire to be just like you."
His 13-year-old son, Ethan, remembered being taken to football games.
"He was one in a million and I love him. Rest in peace Dad - I will be thinking of you all the time, missing you already," he said.
His 11-year-old son Wesley described him as the "best Dad I could have ever wished for".
"He did our family proud and deserved everything he achieved in his life," he said.
'One of best'
L/Cpl Taylor's parents, John and Jackie, paid tribute to their "brave" son.
"Unselfish, kind and totally devoted to his family and children we are lost for words to describe the hurt and pain that we are all feeling right now," they said in a statement.
His commanding officer, Maj Ed Moorhouse, said he had lost "one of my best".
"Mike Taylor was a rare quality: modest, reserved, thoughtful and yet a natural leader of men," he continued.
"His leadership had an air of quiet accomplishment; there was no need for excess verbosity with Mike Taylor, his presence and manner alone inspired, mentored and guided those Royal Marines in his charge.
"In watching this natural demeanour one could not be more humbled; many aspire to it and very few have it, Mike Taylor had it in abundance."
Defence Secretary Liam Fox added: "Lance Corporal Michael Taylor's commanders and comrades describe him as an outstanding marine, and one who earned their respect and praise.
"It is clear from the tributes paid to him that he will be truly missed. My thoughts are with his family and his friends."