Rhyl marine dies in Afghanistan

The partner of a marine shot dead in a fire-fight said he ''lived to be a hero and died a hero''.

30 year old Lance Corporal Michael Taylor, killed on Tuesday in the Sangin district of Helmand Province, was the third of four marines from 40 Commando fatally injured in as many days.

In a poignant tribute, the father-of-three's partner Sonia Fleming 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.''

Lance Corporal Taylor was named just hours after a fellow marine was killed in an exchange of fire with insurgent forces.

Their deaths follow those of Marines Paul Warren and Richard Hollington, who became the 300th British serviceman to die since the conflict began. He lost his fight for life on Sunday - eight days after he was critically
wounded in a blast.

Lance Corporal Taylor leaves behind his three sons Ethan, Wesley and Charlton.

Ethan, 13, said: ''He was a great dad and he did everything for us.  He was always active and took us 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

Wesley, 11, added: ''He was the best dad I could have ever wished for and I can never replace him.  He did our family proud and deserved everything he achieved in his life.''

Paying tribute to his courage, his parents John and Jackie Taylor said: ''We have lost a brave, one of a kind 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.''

The former British Army soldier joined the Royal Marines in April 2004. He deployed to Sangin in March 2010, and as part of Charlie Company, was responsible for the security around the Sangin area.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul James, Commanding Officer 40 Commando Group, said he had lost a ''superb marine''.

"I saw in him a conscientious, generous, enthusiastic man with a passion for his job and the many challenges that came with it,'' he said.

"He tragically died at his patrol base in Sangin protecting the very people, his own band of brothers, who had quickly grown to respect, admire and be inspired by him and his whole approach to life.  He had the drive and the tenacity, but more importantly the family and the friends to succeed at anything he did.''