Families of marines killed in blast pay tribute to 'courageous, much-loved' men

The families of two Royal Marines killed in an explosion in Afghanistan have paid tribute to their loved ones.

Marine Sam Alexander, 28, from Hammersmith, west London, and Lieutenant Ollie Augustin, 23, from Kent, were killed on Friday when they were caught in a blast from an improvised explosive device. The men were both in 42 Commando, Royal Marines.

They were on patrol in the Loy Mandeh area of the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province when they were killed, an MoD spokesman said.

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Marine Alexander was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry during a previous tour of Afghanistan. Colleagues said that he embodied the attributes of a Royal Marines Commando and was "courageous, selfless, resolute".

His wife Claire, the mother of his one-year-old son, said: "Sam was so special. He was the gentlest of men but tough when he needed to be. He risked his safety for his friends but never batted an eyelid.

"Sam was a loving husband and a wonderful father. He was our rock and my best friend. He has been taken from me all too soon. We both love him and will miss him very much."

Lt Augustin, who was leading the patrol on Friday, leaves his father Sean, his mother Jane and his sister Sarah.

Lt Augustin's grandfather Dick said: "He loved and was loved by his family and friends. He was always cheerful, respectful and kind. He travelled extensively during his gap year but never forgot to send his granddad a card to update his progress."