Dead soldier ‘a star now’ says daughter

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The daughter of Sgt Nigel Coupe told her mother that “daddy is a star now” after his death alongside five colleagues in the Afghanistan bomb attack, his widow revealed.

The 33-year-old, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, was killed on Tuesday alongside Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment.

Today, his wife, Natalie Coupe, 28, and his mother, Elaine Freeman, 53, both paid tearful tributes to the father of two girls, Ella, aged five and Jasmine, aged two. Mrs Coupe, from Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, said: “Nigel was my husband, best friend and soulmate. He was a loving husband and doting daddy to our precious little girls.

“Everyone who knew Nigel would agree he was a thoughtful, caring, selfless person. Words can’t describe the loss and hurt we feel.

“Nigel would be touched by all the support we are getting from family, friends and the British Army, in which he loyally served.

“I also have no doubt in my mind that he would be proud of our children and the way in which they have dealt with his untimely death.

“Our eldest daughter Ella said: ‘Daddy is a star now’.

“Everyone who knew Nigel would know he has always been a star, the only difference is now he’s shining in a different place.”

Sgt Coupe was “fiercely proud” to serve his country and regiment, the family said.

He was the most senior soldier on the Warrior armoured personnel carrier destroyed in the bomb explosion on Tuesday.

Sgt Coupe joined the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment in 1996 – a unit which subsequently became 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

In Afghanistan he was attached to the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment as a Warrior Sergeant in 7 Platoon, Corunna Company.

His mother, speaking at Fulwood Barracks in Preston, the regimental home of Sgt Coupe’s unit, paid her own moving tribute.

Mrs Freeman, 53, said: “Nigel’s commanding officer said Nigel was simply the best.

“And he was. He was the son any mum and dad would be proud of – just as myself, his dad and family are.

“Nigel joined the Army at the age of 17 and, like all soldiers’ mums, I was so proud watching his passing-out parade, seeing the pride in him standing tall, becoming a 1 Lancs soldier – he was well chuffed.”

As well as his wife, children, and mother, Sgt Coupe also left behind his father Alan, sister Linda and grandfather Roy.