Family Tribute To Bomb Disposal Expert

The family of a former Royal Navy mine clearance expert who was killed in a landmine explosion in Sudan have described him as "a real life action hero''.

Stephen "Darby'' Allan died in the explosion while working for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in Kapoeta, southern Sudan, on October 15.

Mr Allan, from Portsmouth, was known as Darby to his wife, son and daughter, and friends.

Before starting at MAG in 2006 he had served as a Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) expert for more than 30 years.

His wife, Karen said:

"Darby has, from the moment I met him, been my hero.

"To Sarah and David he was not just their father but was an 'action hero', a man that made things happen.

"He was a gritty, humorous man who commanded friendship and respect from colleagues and friends, a person who was not just larger than life but was in fact life.

"We are proud to say we were part of that life and it was a great, great adventure. Thank you for the adventure.''

Mrs Allan also expressed her thanks to the medical team for their efforts in helping him after the explosion.

His children, Sarah Taylor and David Allan, said in a joint statement:

"You lived life to the extreme, reaching unthinkable limits, whether it was breaking records to the deepest depths or pulling bodies from sinking planes, or blowing bombs around the world.

"The stuff that is only in people's wildest dreams and worst nightmares was for you just another day at the office.''

Mr Allan's work for MAG included managing an underwater clearance project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Lou McGrath, MAG's chief executive, said:

"Darby was motivated by the positive change he and his team made every day to people in the communities where he worked.

"He took pride in reducing the risks communities faced and that his work would allow them to develop their futures in more safety. Darby did not have to be in Sudan, he chose to be.

"He was a true humanitarian who believed in making a difference, and the world will be a lesser place without him.''