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  • Christina Drummond

Rifleman Mark Turner, 3rd Battalion, The Rifles

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2010, Rifleman Mark Turner, 3rd Battalion The Rifles, died in Afghanistan. He was killed when he stepped on a booby-trapped bomb while on a foot patrol near Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge in the Kajaki area of Helmand province.

Rifleman Turner joined the Army at the age of seventeen, becoming a trained Assault Pioneer and Team Medic. He had been on one previous tour of duty in Afghanistan, during which he was seriously injured. His job had been to discover the IEDs, and he was responsible for saving the lives of more than 30 comrades, earning him praise from top brass and cabinet ministers. He told a reporter on his local paper, “It’s hard work out on patrols, but we’ve a decent base to come back to and the food’s lovely, so I don’t mind the graft too much.”

Major Mike Lynch said: “Rifleman Turner, ‘Turtle’ to his mates, was one of the bravest men I have ever had the pleasure of working alongside. He epitomised everything you could ever ask for in a Rifleman; selfless, warm-hearted, and extremely professional. Quiet and unassuming by nature, he always led from the front clearing safe routes. From the outset he proved himself to be exceptionally thorough, spending painstakingly long periods of time lying on the ground finding countless IEDs by intuition alone - his mental and physical endurance were truly remarkable. We all felt completely safe and confident following his cleared routes because he was so meticulous and methodical. He never sought recognition for this tough job, he never grumbled or complained, he just got on with the job at hand with dogged determination and a complete disregard for his own safety. On more than one occasion Rifleman Turner cleared safe routes whilst under fire, knowing full well that he was putting his life in danger in order to secure a safe route into cover for his comrades - a true testament to his courage which never faltered.”

Mark, from Gateshead, was 21 years old and engaged to be married.

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