Tributes paid to Havant marine killed on duty

TRAGEDY Corporal David O'Connor
TRAGEDY Corporal David O'Connor
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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TRIBUTES have today poured in for a Royal Marine from Havant who died after he came under fire while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Corporal David O’Connor, of 40 Commando, was considered by his peers to be ‘one of the best’ in his field.

The 27-year-old was part of a patrol with Charlie Company that was due to carry out training with the Afghan local police when they came under fire near the village of Char Kutsa.

Corporal O’Connor died in the attack alongside his colleague and patrol medic, Corporal Channing Day.

Corporal O’Connor leaves behind his mum Rosemary, who he lived with in Havant, as well as his dad Roy and brother Phil.

In a statement the family said: ‘David’s family and friends are greatly saddened by his loss and hope to be left to grieve privately.’

Barrie Mann, chairman of Havant Ex Servicesmen’s Club, in Brockhampton Lane, said: ‘Any life which is lost out in the conflicts is terribly sad.

‘We will mourn in the same way that we do with any serving and ex-serving member of the armed services.

‘These people give their lives for Queen and country.’

Emsworth councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray, who organises armed forces parades through the area, said the news was devastating.

‘This shows why it is so important that we take every opportunity to thank the men and women of the armed services and show our tangible support by supporting military charities,’ he said.

‘My condolences go out to the family of this brave man.

‘We should always remember the fallen.’

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson, commanding officer of 40 Commando Royal Marines, said: ‘This is an extremely sad time for 40 Commando Royal Marines, his friends and most of all his family.

‘Corporal Dave O’Connor was one of the best; he was loved and respected by those around him and was relentless in the pursuit of excellence in his duties.

‘Utterly professional, his four operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan marked him as one of the most devoted individuals in the Commando.

‘Brave, committed and humorous, it is difficult to find words that can possibly fill the void which has been left by this truly excellent junior commander; his loss is difficult to comprehend.

‘His career was dedicated to the service of his country and to the lives of the Royal Marines with whom he served.’

Corporal Day, 25, was deployed to Afghanistan on October 2 this year as a Combat Medical Technician Class One with the United Kingdom Medical Group.

She was born in Swindon and grew up in County Down, Northern Ireland, before joining the Army in 2005.

Brave corporal had a glittering career in the services

CORPORAL David O’Connor was deployed to Afghanistan on September 29 this year as a Section Commander in the acting rank of Corporal.

He served with Charlie Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines as part of Transition Support Unit Nahr-e Saraj.

Corporal O’Connor, who was born on June 16, 1985, was based in Patrol Base 1 in the southern part of Nahr-e-Saraj District, Helmand Province.

He joined the Royal Marines on May 13, 2002 and after nine months’ training he passed for duty as a Royal Marines Commando a year later.

In 2007 Corporal O’Connor was sent to Afghanistan with 40 Commando on Operation Herrick 7 where he worked with Charlie Company in the Kajaki District of Northern Helmand.

In 2009 he returned to the Commando to go back to the volatile Sangin District of northern Helmand, Afghanistan.

On this tour Corporal O’Connor was praised for his steadfast dedication and bravery and was awarded a Commander Joint Operations’ Commendation.