ONE of the British servicemen shot dead by an Afghan soldier on Monday has been named as Sergeant Luke Taylor from Bournemouth.
The 33-year-old Royal Marine died alongside married father-of-three Lance Corporal Michael Foley, of the Adjutant General’s Corps (Staff and Personnel Support), while the pair were serving as part of Task Force Helmand.
They were shot and killed at the main entrance to Lashkar Gah Main Operating Base in Helmand Province.
Sergeant Taylor, who was a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, had only been in Afghanistan for four weeks.
He leaves his wife Nicola, whom he married in 2008, and their young son Roan, behind.
It is understood that Sergeant Taylor, who joined the Royal Marines in 1997, often spoke of his family in the UK and he was described as “outstandingly professional” with a keen sense of humour and “the desire to excel”.
His Commanding Officer said: “Sergeant Luke Taylor was one of those very unique ‘soldiers’ who combined the highest professional standards with a completely disarming and relaxed personality.
“With a wealth of experience under his belt, he was fearless and would tackle every challenge head on with his usual charismatic but direct approach.
“He was a natural focal point; those junior would look up to him, those above would listen when he spoke.”
He added that Sergeant Taylor would be remembered as a natural leader with “inspirational flair” who was devoted to his family.
A colleague said: “Luke was the kind of guy you wanted next to you – regardless of the situation, he was a cool head and a source of endless banter.”
The colleague said Sergeant Taylor was “completely dedicated and loyal to his family” and was also a keen rugby player.
They added: “It is difficult to try and sum Luke up in just these few words – we all miss him, but that is of course nothing compared to his devoted wife, Niki, and loving son, Roan. Our thoughts are with them.
“We will celebrate his achievements and the memories he has given us. Luke – thank you from us all for the good times you gave us and the stories that we will carry on telling long into the future."
Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, said both men were “brave and committed servicemen” who died to protect Britain’s national security.