20/03/2009

Second Masserene Soldier Buried

The second of the two soldiers tragically murdered outside their barracks in Antrim was buried in London today.

Sapper Patrick Azimkar, who is from the capital, was shot dead along with fellow soldier Mark Quinsey as they collected a fast-food delivery at the gates of Massareene Army base in Antrim, on 7 March.

Just before the multi-faith funeral service was held for Sapper Azimkar, 21, at the Guards Chapel in Birdcage Walk, his last heroic act was revealed.

Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis said Sapper Azimkar pulled a fellow soldier out of the way of the bullets.

As six members of his 38th Engineer Regiment carried his coffin into Guards Chapel for the funeral, Col Lewis said fellow serviceman Sapper Marc Fitzpatrick, who was injured in the attack, attributed his survival to "his best mate Pat's selfless action".

Col Lewis said: "He told me two days ago, 'If it wasn't for Pat I would not even be here - despite the chaos, he was the one who pulled me to the ground and saved my life'."

Today's second funeral follows that of Sapper Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, on Wednesday.

The pair - who were with 25 Field Squadron of 38 Engineer Regiment - died from their wounds while the two pizza delivery men were injured as more than 60 bullets were fired in 30 seconds from automatic weapons.

Dissident Republican group the Real IRA has claimed responsibility for the shootings.

Both soldiers were set for deployment to Afghanistan within hours of the killings.

Sapper Azimkar, who was known as Pat, was a talented footballer who had trials with Tottenham Hotspur when he was younger.

See: Murdered Soldier Had Spurs' Trial

See: Murdered Soldier Laid To Rest

(BMcC/JM)

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