Soldier killed in Afghanistan had saved boy

Posted on 12:23 AM by Sameer Shah

Jonathan Matthews, 35, died from a single gunshot wound after coming under Taliban fire in Helmand Province on Monday.

Sgt Matthews and five colleagues rushed to treat an injured nine-year-old boy after a suicide bomber killed four people at an Afghan army base.

The father of two from Edinburgh, was a member of 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

In a statement, his wife Shona told of her family's devastation. She said: "Jonathan trained all his life for the job he was doing, loved what he did, and died doing what he loved. He was well respected and loved by all the family.

"A lover of the outdoors, an Army man through and through, we will miss him. But it gives us great comfort knowing he died doing what he trained to do - he would not have had it any other way."

Colleagues said Sgt Matthews was a "hugely popular man" who was devoted to his wife and to his daughter Meghan and stepson William.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said the soldier was on joint foot patrol with the Afghan Army, helping to protect local police near the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, when he was shot on Monday.

"The patrol received reports from locals that the Taliban were in the area but before they could take up defensive positions they received incoming fire, and the soldier sustained a single gunshot wound," the MoD said.

Sgt Mathews died later as a result of his injuries.

His death brings the number of UK troops killed on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 113.

After joining the Army aged 21, Sgt Mathews trained as a sniper and reconnaissance soldier. He served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo and finally worked as a mentor to local troops in Afghanistan. A keen sports parachutist, canoeist and hill walker, the soldier was described as a family man who was passionate about Edinburgh and his family.

His commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Campbell, paid tribute to "a hugely popular man".

"An absolute professional, he was courageous, reliable to the core and unwaveringly loyal to all," Lt Col Campbell said.

"But his love of soldiering could never be matched by his absolute devotion to his wife and children."

Sgt Matthews's best friend, Sgt Rab McEwan, of the same regiment, added: "His death was a devastating blow to the team and he will be sorely missed by all. None more so than me."

Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, said: "Sgt Matthews was, by all accounts, an exemplary soldier; a true professional in every sense of the word.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to his family."

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