A SOLDIER from North Tyneside killed in Afghanistan last week had helped put a bomb factory out of action just moments earlier.
Lance Corporal Kyle Cleet Marshall, originally from Wallsend, was killed by a roadside bomb a week ago on Monday while on operation south of the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province with the Parachute Regiment’s 2nd Battalion.
The 23-year-old, due to get married this summer, had been serving in Afghanistan since mid-October.
In a joint statement, his parents Olwyn and Garry Marshall and his fiancée Hayley said: “Kyle was a very lively, outgoing, loving and much-loved son.
“He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends.
“He was due to be married in July to his fiancée, Hayley.
“We take comfort in the fact that he is now with his grandad, who died some years ago.”
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Harrison, the battalion’s commanding officer said: “L/Cpl Marshall was one of the most popular young commanders in the battalion.
“A charismatic, upbeat Geordie, he was ice cool under fire and a natural leader always.
“He mentored, coaxed and taught his soldiers with consummate passion and consistent diligence.
“He was ever-optimistic, even in the bleakest of circumstances, and could charm all he met. He is irreplaceable.”
“He died as he lived, at the front, guiding his men, surrounded by friends and at the very tip of the battalion spear.
“In the very moments before he passed away, he led his team in the discovery of a huge bomb-making factory.
“Thirty-five devices and a plethora of explosive components were subsequently found in the building.
“This discovery will undoubtedly save numerous colleagues and locals falling prey to the most insidious of insurgent threats.
“His friends have lost the closest of mates and the most able of colleagues. The battalion has lost a stunning young leader and a bright hope for the future.
“Hayley’s loss is unimaginable. We wish her and all Kyle’s family our most heartfelt condolences.
L/Cpl Marshall, a former student of Wallsend’s Churchill Community College, had been living in Colchester prior to being deployed to Afghanistan four months ago.
He joined the Parachute Regiment as a private after completing his basic training in 2007.
The paratrooper, a keen footballer and Newcastle United fan, was promoted to the rank of lance corporal just over a year ago.
Corporal Wayne Smith, his acting platoon sergeant, added: “Kyle was the sort of person who would always be there when you needed him.
“He did like to talk. He may not always have said the right thing, but it would almost certainly cheer you up.
“He was mischievous, always planning his next bit of fun with the guys. It is so sad that he has been taken away from us.”
L/Cpl Marshall’s death and those of two other soldiers on the same day took the number of British military personnel killed since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 to 357.