Corporal Stephen 'Whisky' Walker

The wife of an Exmouth Royal Marine killed in action in Afghanistan on Friday has paid tribute to her 'soul mate' husband.

The wife of an Exmouth Royal Marine killed in action in Afghanistan on Friday has paid tribute to her 'soul mate' husband.

Colleagues serving alongside the fallen hero said Ex-Navy chef turned Royal Marine Corporal Stephen 'Whisky' Walker was a charismatic legend, a natural leader who served with passion and pride who inspired all around him with his professionalism, values and standards.

Cpl Walker, from Exmouth, was killed in action while on foot patrol following an explosion in Helmand province.

He leaves his wife, daughter, Greer and son, Samuel.

His wife, Leona, who this week led the tributes pouring in for the dad-of-two, said: "Steve was passionate, loyal and determined. He enjoyed the role he had in the Marines but he was a family man at heart.

"He was a fantastic dad to Greer and he was the perfect soul mate to me.

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"Although this is a very sad time, Steve would want us to be positive. Remember the good times, the happy times.

"A lot of people's lives will be deeply affected by Steve's all-to-early departure.

"Life goes on, but it will never be the same for us."

The Ministry of Defence said Cpl Walker, from 40 Commando Royal Marines, serving as part of Combined Force Sangin, was killed in an explosion that happened near Patrol Base Almas.

He had been conducting a joint foot patrol with the Afghan National Army to reassure and improve the security for the local population in the area when the explosion occurred.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul James RM, commanding officer 40 commando group, combined force Sangin, said Cpl Walker had been one of the most 'professionally astute' men he had ever met.

He said: "Brave, loyal, utterly dedicated and absolutely selfless, he died leading his section on patrol in southern Sangin.

"Having served twenty years in the Royal Marines, he was my most experienced and probably my best Corporal. I valued his counsel greatly and despite being his Commanding Officer, he taught me tactics.

"I often joined his section during our pre-deployment training. He was a natural leader who cared passionately for his men; he trained, he operated, he lived and he died at the front.

"He is a man who will be sorely missed by everyone in 40 Commando. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Leona, daughter Greer, son Samuel, his family and friends. Corporal 'Whisky' Walker was, and will always be, the consummate Commando."

Secretary of State for Defence, Liam Fox, said: "He made the ultimate sacrifice playing his role in achieving progress in a mission vital to protecting our national security - and for that he will not be forgotten."

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