Dead Somerset Marine named

40 Commando Royal Marine Steven Birdsall died in hospital here in the UK from injuries suffered in Afghanistan.

The 20 year old was hurt during a gun fight with insurgents in Helmand Province on Sunday and brought back to Selly Oak Military Hospital in Birmingham to be treated. Sadly he never recovered from his injuries.

His family said: "There are no words that could ever express the heartache of losing our beautiful son, Steven, who was always so selfless, brave and fearless. Steven had so many friends back home in Warrington and in 40 Commando Royal Marines, and we are forever thankful to the lads who were with him when he needed them most."

He joined the Royal Marines in 2007, aged 18, and was sent to Afghanistan in April this year.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Paul James, said he had "a sharp mind and a big and generous heart. He was a consummate professional, forever focused, very proud and utterly dependable, yet always cheerful and magnanimous. He was the perfect marine."

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox also paid tribute to him: "Marine Birdsall has given his life helping to deliver real progress in Afghanistan, which is at the heart of our efforts to protect security in the UK.

He's the sixth 40 Commando, based at Norton Manor Camp near Taunton, to die fighting in the country since the regiment's deployment in April.

His death brings the total of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the conflict began in 2001 to 296.To leave your tributes to the fallen marines please click the link above to our Heart Somerset News Facebook Page.

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