MOD names former Lympstone Royal Marine killed in Afghanistan

PUBLISHED: 18:24 16 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:35 18 June 2010

The MoD has named the former Lympstone RM as Steven James Birdsall

The MoD has named the former Lympstone RM as Steven James Birdsall

The latest Royal Marine from Norton Manor s 40 Commando, who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, has been named by the MoD as 20-year-old Steven James Birdsall.

The latest Royal Marine from Norton Manor's 40 Commando, who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, has been named by the MoD as 20-year-old Steven James Birdsall.

Marine 'Birdy' Birdsall, of Bravo Company, died in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, as a result of a gunshot wound he suffered in Afghanistan.

He joined the Royal Marines in December 2007, aged 18, where he went through gruelling training at the Lympstone commando training camp - passing out for duty on November 7 2008.

He joined 40 Commando Royal Marines in January 2009 serving alongside Exmouth Royal Marine Stephen 'Whisky' Walker - who was killed last month on foot patrol in Helmand Province.

During the late afternoon of Sunday June 13 Bravo Company had acted as security to Royal Engineers who were reinforcing the defences at one of the UK check points in Sangin.

At around 4.30pm local time, Marine Birdsall suffered a gunshot wound and was immediately evacuated to hospital at Camp Bastion, where his condition was listed as 'critical'.

The following day he was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he died of his wounds at 12.29pm.

Marine Birdsall was born on October 6 1989 and lived in Warrington with his parents and younger sister, Melissa.

In December 2007 he joined the Royal Marines, aged 18, passing for duty as a Royal Marines Commando on the 7 November 2008.

On completion of training at Lympstone he attended the Defence School of Transport in Leconfield, where he gained his full range of driving licences, including his HGV driver qualification.

This week tributes have been pouring in for the fallen hero.

His parents spoke of their pride for their son, saying: "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."

Lieutenant Colonel Paul James, Commanding Officer 40 Commando Group, Combined Force Sangin, said: "Marine Steven Birdsall was a brilliant young marine whose gallantry, selflessness and determination impressed all who knew him. He was strong, brave, full of spirit and full of character.

"A talented footballer, he played for 40 Commando immediately on joining the unit and quickly proved to be a fit motivated marine who inspired others. He possessed a sharp mind and a big and generous heart - he loved his family, his friends and his fellow marines; and they adored him in return.

"He was a consummate professional; forever focused, very proud and utterly dependable; yet always cheerful and magnanimous. He was the perfect marine. He sadly died on patrol in northern Sangin, doing the job he loved; protecting the people.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, his sister, his family and his friends. "He will be sadly missed by all in 40 Commando.

"Marine Steven Birdsall was, and always will be, a Royal Marine Commando.

"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 said: "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.

"His colleagues speak of a brave, strong and dependable Marine. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

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