By Courtney Cameron
Tributes are being paid to the three soldiers from the Royal Highland Fusiliers that were killed by a road side bomb yesterday in Afghanistan.
Corporal William Savage (30) and Fusilier Sam Flint (21), both from the 2nd Battalion and Private Robert Hetherington (25) from the 7th Battalion died after the bomb hit their 25 tonne Mastiff vehicle whilst travelling through the Helmand Province on routine patrol.
The Midlothian based soldiers were airlifted to the military hospital at Camp Bastion but were pronounced dead soon after medical treatment.
Corporal Savage, known as ‘Sav’ from Irvine, Ayrshire has left behind a loving wife who is pregnant with their first child.
Lyndsey Savage said: “I am extremely devastated by this news, but extremely proud of ‘Sav’ and everything that he has achieved.
“I have lost the love of my life and the father of our son. I know his life will live on through so many amazing memories that we shared together.”
The keen Manchester City fan, Fusilier Flint from Blackpool, was sent to Afghanistan in March on his first overseas deployment after joining the army in November 2011.
Sam’s family described him as a “cheeky chappy” and said: “The whole family is completely devastated.
“Everyone should know that Sam loved his job and made his whole family and everyone that knew him very proud.”
Private Hetherington was born in the US but raised and educated in Scotland and Lieutenant Colonel Robin Lindsay, Commanding Officer of The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland described him as “a thoughtful and humorous soldier.”
Six British troops have now died since the beginning of this year.
Now the death total of UK service members in Afghanistan is 444 since the war began in 2001.
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland said: “This incident demonstrates once again the dangers faced by our armed forces, often on a daily basis, and they deserve our deepest gratitude and respect for the job they do in some of the most difficult and trying circumstances imaginable.”
An investigation into the incident is now under way as officials believe militants are now creating bombs powerful enough to destroy even the strongest army vehicles such as the Mastiff.
Military officials believe more focus should be put on prevent these attacks from happening rather than building more powerful vehicles.