Farewell to Marine who won medal for saving comrade

A decorated Royal Marine killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan was a "marine par excellence", his father said yesterday.

Marine Sam Alexander MC died on May 27 as his unit, 42 Commando, took part in an operation to clear Taliban fighters from part of central Helmand Province.

His full military funeral was held yesterday afternoon at the Minster Church of St Andrew's in Plymouth, just a few miles from 42 Commando's base at Bickleigh in Devon.

His father Stuart told the assembled friends and family that his son would be remembered for his “courage and humour”.

“He was very proud of the Royal Marines,” he said.

“He was especially proud to receive the green beret. He always wanted to succeed in every task he ever did.

“He always wanted to help people, in particular the ordinary Afghans.

“He loved a lot and he was loved a lot and that will endure forever.”

The 28-year-old, who joined the Royal Marines in 2006, was awarded the Military Cross in 2009 for saving the life of a wounded colleague in Afghanistan by charging at Taliban fighters with his pistol to provide cover.

He died in the blast last month alongside Lieutenant Ollie Augustin.

The men were taking part in Operation Omid Haft alongside soldiers from the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Central Helmand.

They were searching a compound when an IED exploded, killing them and injuring several others.

Originally from Hammersmith, west London, the marine leaves wife Claire and a one year-old son Leo. They attended the full military ceremony, which included a gun salute, alongside his father and mother Serena. A music mix created by Mne Alexander, a keen amateur DJ, was also played.

His mother told the congregation: “He was full of compassion and believed in making the world a better place.”

When his death was announced last month, Claire described her husband as “the gentlest of men but tough when he needed to be”.

“Sam was a loving husband and a wonderful father. He was our rock and my best friend. He has been taken from me all too soon. We both love him and will miss him very much,” she said.