Black Watch soldier who survived Taleban explosion dies after incident outside pub

A BLACK Watch soldier who survived a Taleban bomb blast in Afghanistan has died in Germany.

The Royal Military Police are looking into the circumstances surrounding the death of Private Mark Connolly, 24, from Inverness.

The soldier died after an alleged incident outside a pub.

It was reported that Pte Connolly was involved in a fight outside a bar in Paderborn on Saturday, but an Army spokeswoman said she could not confirm the details because the matter was still under investigation. Pte Connolly cheated death in 2009 when he was caught up in an explosion which killed his colleague Private Robert McLaren in Afghanistan's Kandahar region. The blast left him with serious arm injuries.

He died while he was in Germany on an Army driving course.

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Lieutenant Colonel Ed Fenton, the soldier's commanding officer, paid tribute to Pte Connolly, who had also served in Iraq and Northern Ireland.

In a statement, he said: "He was a fit, proud and professional soldier blessed with an infectious enthusiasm for everything. Pte Connolly will be hugely missed by all who knew him.

"He leaves behind wife Stacy and family whom he loved dearly. They are in all of our thoughts and prayers at this tragic time."

Last year Pte Connolly took to the catwalk during New York's Tartan Week, wearing the traditional Black Watch tartan and uniform.

Major Jim Panton, chief executive of Erskine, said: "Personally I am devastated to hear what has happened.

An Army spokeswoman said: "We are unable to comment as the matter is being investigated."