TRIBUTES have flooded in for a teenage soldier who was killed while attempting to rescue a comrade in war-torn Afghanistan.
Rifleman Joe Murphy, aged 18, from Castle Bromwich, died in an explosion on July 10. He had been bravely trying to carry an injured friend, Daniel Simpson, to safety. Rifleman Simpson, from Croydon, was also killed in the blast.
The pair were among five soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Rifles to die last Friday.
This week, the bodies were brought back to British soil. Heartbroken relatives travelled to RAF Lyneham to see the coffins carried off the plane. And in the nearby village of Wootton Basset, thousands of mourners turned out to see the cortege pass by.
Rfn Murphy’s parents, Brian and Jill, said: “Joe died doing the job he loved whilst serving his country. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his comrades in Afghanistan.”
Formerly a pupil at Archbishop Grimshaw School, the teenager joined the battalion last November. A keen football fan, he was fondly remembered by comrades for his sense of humour.
Captain Edward Poynter said: “Rifleman Murphy was an exceptional young Rifleman. He was fiercely proud of his section and his platoon, a passionate Villa fan and the joker of the company.
“Rifleman Murphy gave his life while trying to save that of his fellow Rifleman.”
Friends, family and well-wishers have also paid their respects on social networking website Facebook.
Kieren Bean wrote: “I’m proud of you mate and it was such an honour to go through training with you in my section. You will be missed dearly.”
It has been a black month for UK servicemen fighting in Afghanistan - 15 soldiers were killed in the first ten days of July.