40 Commando Royal Marine dies

A Royal Marine from Taunton-based 40 Commando, who died after being injured on patrol in Afghanistan, was not killed by friendly fire according to the MoD.

But officials say they are still investigating the death of 27-year-old Corporal David O'Connor. who was shot along with Corporal Channing Day - a female medic with 3 Medical Regiment.

They were on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province with C Company, training Afghan Local Police, when they came under fire near the village of Char Kutsa on Wednesday.

During the firefight, Corporal O'Connor and Corporal Day, were both fatally injured.

A statement released by the family of Corporal O'Connor said:

"David's family and friends are greatly saddened by his loss and hope to be left to grieve privately.''

Corporal O'Connor, 27, lived with his mother in Havant. He was deployed to Afghanistan at the end of September as a Section Commander in the acting rank of Corporal. He served with Charlie Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines as part of Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj. He was based in Patrol Base 1 in the southern part of Nahr-e-Saraj District, Helmand Province.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said:

"Corporal O'Connor was an outstanding Royal Marines Commando. He displayed true Commando spirit in all that he did and was ferociously dedicated to his men, his Company and the Royal Marines. He was an inspirational leader and an excellent soldier; his loss will be felt not just at 40 Commando Royal Marines but throughout the Royal Marines Corps.''

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson, Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 40 Commando Royal Marines said:

"Corporal O'Connor was one of the best. He was loved and respected by those around him and was relentless in the pursuit of excellence in his duties. Utterly professional, his four operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan marked him as one of the most devoted individuals in the Commando.''

40 Commando, based at Norton Manor Camp, has strong links with Taunton Deane and has been awarded the Freedom of the Borough. Mayor of Taunton Deane, Cllr Terry Hall, paid tribute, saying: 

"My heart goes out to the family of the Royal Marine and I would like to offer my sincere condolences. I am sure that the Taunton Deane community feels equally saddened by this terrible news."

The Leader of Somerset County Council, John Osman, has also paid tribute, saying he was deeply saddened to learn of the deaths:

“My condolences go to the family, comrades and friends of Corporal David O’Connor who served with 40 Commando with such distinction. Somerset is very proud of the work of our Armed Forces and we will never forget their sacrifice.”