08/03/2010

Legion Remembers Murdered Sappers

Members of the Royal British Legion, flanked by standard bearers, have laid poppy wreaths at the gates of a NI army base where two soldiers lost their lives exactly a year ago.

The solemn memorial service was held yesterday to mark the first anniversary of the deaths of two soldiers shot dead by dissident republicans.

Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, (pictured) were murdered by two Real IRA gunmen outside Massereene Barracks in Antrim as they collected pizzas at the gates.

The 38 Engineer Regiment squaddies were just hours away from deployment to Afghanistan and were already dressed in desert fatigues when they were killed.

Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were also wounded in the brutal attack that shocked Ulster.

In honour of their memory, around 100 people from across NI gathered at the gates of Massereene Barracks yesterday afternoon at a memorial service organised by the Royal British Legion.
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The Army also held its own private memorial for the two sappers killed in Antrim, and their colleague Jordan Rossi, 22, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

As the crowd stood with heads bowed in silence to remember the sappers, a lone piper played a lament for the two men.

Church leaders from all the main denominations spoke at the short service, where they also offered prayers for the recovery of Constable Peadar Heffron, who was seriously injured in a dissident car bomb blast earlier this year.

Two teenagers have been named as the latest British military deaths in Afghanistan.

Rifleman Jonathon Allott, 19, from Bournemouth, and Rifleman Liam Maughan, 18, from Doncaster, were killed in separate incidents on Friday and Saturday. Both men died near Sangin in Helmand province and were members of 3rd Battalion The Rifles.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has announced that a third fatal incident in as many days had claimed the life of a fighter from A Company 4 Rifles.

The soldier, who was attached to the same battalion as the teenage casualties, was shot on Sunday when his patrol base came under attack from insurgents.

Their deaths bring the number of British military casualties in Afghanistan since the conflict began in 2001 to 271.

(BMcC/GK)

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