Tribute to soldier from 33 Engineer Regiment killed on New Year's Eve

PUBLISHED: 13:08 04 January 2010 | UPDATED: 22:06 31 May 2010

Sapper David Watson was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on New Year's Eve

Sapper David Watson was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on New Year's Eve

A SOLDIER based at the Carver Barracks in Wimbish, who was described by his family as a true hero , was killed in Afghanistan on New Year s Eve. Royal Engineer Sapper David Watson, 23, died from his injuries after he was caught in an explosion in the San

A SOLDIER based at the Carver Barracks in Wimbish, who was described by his family as a "true hero", was killed in Afghanistan on New Year's Eve.

Royal Engineer Sapper David Watson, 23, died from his injuries after he was caught in an explosion in the Sangin region of Helmand Province.

A statement released by his family said: "He loved life itself and all of its challenges. David's dry sense of humour combined with his ability to articulate any situation into a moment of laughter were two of his many talents, he was loved by all.

"He lived his dream and did what a true soldier is ready to do for his country, a true hero."

Sapper Watson was posted to 33 Engineer Regiment (explosive ordnance disposal), which is based at the barracks near Saffron Walden, and specifically with the Airborne Troop of 49 Field Squadron.

Serving in Afghanistan - his first operational tour - he was deployed on bomb disposal missions with the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, helping to rid the region of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Born and brought up in Whickham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sapper Watson joined the Royal Engineers in February 2007. After the arduous commando training known as Pegasus Company, which he completed within the first two years of his career, he was named as the course's top student.

Commanding officer for the Counter IED Task Force, Lt Col Gareth Bex, said: "Sapper Watson was the epitome of a warrior: fearless, ruthlessly determined and a great team player. An immensely proud parachute and commando-trained soldier he was highly respected by his peers; they looked up to him with the deference that individuals of his sheer quality warrant. "Although this was his first operational tour Sapper Watson was a man very much in his element out here in Afghanistan; if ever there was a man born for soldiering it was him.

"Sapper Watson excelled on operations in Afghanistan, revelling in the vital role his team conducted. I am humbled and inspired by the courage and resolve men like him show every day in ridding Afghanistan of the threat from IEDs."

Commanding officer of the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, Major Tim Gould, said: "It is incredible what an inordinate amount this promising young sapper managed to fit in to his relatively short career. He qualified in his chosen trade as a builder and structural finisher in the field of combat engineering.

"On meeting Sapper Watson you could very quickly see that it was not only his outstanding athletic fitness that gave him the accolade of best student on Pegasus Company, it was his team spirit, his drive and his willingness to help his comrades in everyway he knew how.

"A man-mountain of a young man, Sapper Watson was as strong as an ox and was completely unsurpassed in any challenge of a physical nature; he was a veritable 'machine' in these terms and countless numbers of his peers sought to emulate his exacting standards.

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