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Marine Sam Alexander MC was born on 16 June 1982 in Hammersmith, London, where he grew up with his mother, Serena, father Stuart and sister, Sophie. He was married to Claire in November 2009 and their son Leo was born in July 2010.

He joined the Royal Marines in July 2006 and passed fit for duty in October 2007. On completion of training, Marine Alexander MC was appointed to the Fire Support Group in Mike Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines. He later moved to Kilo Company and deployed on Operation HERRICK 9, during which he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. On his return from operations he trained as a Heavy Weapons (Anti-Tank) specialist and was appointed to Juliet Company, before returning to Afghanistan for Operation HERRICK 14.

On Friday 27 May 2011 Marine Alexander MC was part of a patrol, operating in the Loy Mandeh area of the Nad-e Ali district in Helmand province. His patrol was tasked to disrupt insurgent activity in their perceived rear area and provide depth to the Clear, Hold, Build Operation occurring to the North in Loy Mandeh Kalay further to expand
the influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. During that patrol Marine Alexander MC was fatally injured in an Improvised Explosive Device blast that also claimed the life of Lieutenant Ollie Augustin, Royal Marines.

Claire, Marine Alexander's wife, said:

"Sam was so special. He was the gentlest of men but tough when he needed to be. He risked his safety for his friends but never batted an eyelid. It was his job and a job he did well. 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. These are all special guys who, for whatever reason, join a very tough band of blokes who willingly die for each other without a second thought. I just hope his death was not in vain"

Stuart, Marine Alexander's father, said:

"Sam's professionalism was widely acknowledged, the award of a Military Cross is testament to his courage and care for those around him. But it is as a father and husband that he showed the same deep-rooted wish always to help and care for others. People say I must be very proud, but the respect in which I held him was more important than pride. He was a great guy with a great smile and a zest for life. I loved him very much."

Serena, Marine Alexander's mother, said:

"The legacy that Sam leaves is hope - hope for oppressed people all over
the World. There are people like Sam who risk their lives for others.
Wherever you are now Sam, keep on fighting. You will never be

Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison MBE, Commanding Officer 42 Commando
Royal Marines, Coalition Force Nad-e Ali (North), said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was a truly remarkable young man. Decorated
during his last tour of Afghanistan for gallantry, he embodied all the
finest attributes of a Royal Marines Commando: he was courageous,
selfless, resolute, loyal and cheerful in the face of adversity. The
loss of such a professional and well respected Marine comes as shocking
news; he was a larger than life character and leaves a gap that cannot
be filled. One of the more senior Marines in Juliet Company, he inspired
those around him to reach the highest possible standards and in doing so
was an exemplary role model for those younger and less experienced than
himself. He led by example and from the front and would have
unquestionably had a promising future in the Royal Marines ahead of him.
Sadly this will not be realised as his life has been tragically cut
short. Instead, Marine Alexander now joins the legends, the bravest of
the brave, who inspire us all forever with their courage, dedication and
sacrifice; his memory will endure. On this the darkest of days, our
thoughts and prayers are with his wife Claire, their son Leo and his
parents Stuart and Serena; may they somehow find the strength and
courage to face the days ahead."

Major Steven McCulley, Officer Commanding, Juliet Company, 42 Commando
Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was one of Juliet Company's most experienced
and professional Marines. Not only was he a Heavy Weapons specialist,
but also a Sharpshooter; a qualification he took much pride in. Having
been awarded the Military Cross for bravery on Operation HERRICK 9, the
lads looked up to him and he could be relied upon to galvanise them when
required. An unbearable loss of life, he will be deeply missed by all of

Captain Rob Garside, Company Intelligence Officer, Juliet Company, 42
Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Alexander MC was one of the most experienced Marines in the
Company. Having completed a previous HERRICK Tour, it was clear that
more junior ranks looked up to him. A Bootneck that everyone would want
to be by his side in a firefight, Sam Alexander was a true operational
Bootneck who carried out his duties to the highest of standards. He will
be sorely missed by all in Juliet Company and our thoughts are with his
young family."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Andy Place, Company Sergeant Major, Juliet
Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was always the first man to volunteer for any
detail. His professional attitude towards all military skills was
infectious to the junior Marines within Juliet Company. Always proud to
be a part of Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 'Jesters'; his attitude
was that of a 'big man trapped in a small body'. His tragic death will
hit the Company hard, however he would not want to be the cause of any
drop in excellence. My thoughts go to his wife, son and family. See you
on the re-org Royal."

Corporal Phillip Willis, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal
Marines, said:

"Sam was one of those Bootneck's who was able to have a smile on his
face no matter what the situation. Most days he would have something
funny to say; out here it was that my eyebrows looked awesome as they
have gone bleached blonde. He would say I looked like a super hero which
would always make us laugh. Sam was a good person, a Bootneck showing
all the qualities that a good Bootneck should have; cheerfulness in the
face of adversity, selflessness, courage and determination."

Lance Corporal Christopher Watson, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando
Royal Marines, said:

"Sam was one of those men who due to his experience everyone looked up
to and respected regardless of rank. He always made the time to help the
more junior Marines, and treated them with the same level of respect
they afforded him. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and
will be fondly remembered as the perfect Marine, as a great laugh and as
a Great Man."

Lance Corporal Adam Perkins, 2 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal
Marines, said:

"Marine Alexander MC was a member of my Troop throughout training and
ever since we have always crossed paths; since deploying on Operation
HERRICK 9, and more recently Operation HERRICK 14. Sam was a character
who never dropped his smile or charms, either on camp, in the
accommodation or in the field. He was a lad who would never say no and
would do anything for anyone. My thoughts are with his son Leo and wife
Claire. Rest in Peace mate."

Leading Medical Assistant Chris Jones, Juliet Company Medic, 42 Commando
Royal Marines, said:

"I first met Marine Alexander MC during Operation HERRICK 9 when I was
attached to his section. I remember he made me feel welcome and we
laughed and joked about me being a Matelot out in the field. Sammy was
awarded a Military Cross during Operation HERRICK 9 which is a testament
to his bravery. Only a few days ago he jokingly said to me that we had a
habit of being in sticky situations together. Apart from operations, I
didn't know Sammy as well as others but I do know he was a humble guy, a
very proud Royal Marine and a man I will always look up to. No two ways
about it, Marine Sam Alexander MC was a hero, a legend who will never be
forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in Peace
Sam, you will be sadly missed."

Marine Jason Badham, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines,

"Marine Alexander MC, a true hero, always full of morale, a real
inspiration to us all and he will be greatly missed."

Marine Ross McIlduff & Marine Joshua Best, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42
Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Alexander MC epitomised a Royal Marine, always looking out for
an oppo (opposite number), always first to give a hand and always lifted
morale. He always carried out his job to the highest standards. A true
Soldier. He always had some good 'dits' to spin to the lads and was a
guaranteed 'Hoofing run ashore'; there was never a boring night with
Sam. Sam will always be remembered for what he has done and will always
be a 'Jester'. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family."

Marine Michael Chapman, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando
Royal Marines, said:

"I have only known Sam for about 6 months since joining Juliet Company,
I was expecting a hoofing, courageous, selfless Bootneck after hearing
about his Military Cross; and that is exactly what he was. He would
always be the first to the stand-to position in order to protect
everyone else. Even with so much to lose, i.e. his wife Claire and his
future Formula One driver son, Leo. He was perfect for all occasions, if
it be for a one on one welfare discussion or generally being the centre
of a conversation; although his Formula One dits were sometimes ideal
for sending you to sleep! Not forgetting his run ashore dits, the
Pringle saying 'once you pop, you can't stop,' was a perfect way to
describe his drinking style. Although, he wouldn't let the beer defeat
him, he would always soldier on to sun-uppers, or was adamant of making
his way home to annoy his wife Claire; If that was the case, he would
come into work the next day with his tail between his legs like a
naughty dog. He was a truly a great asset to the Corps and will clearly
be missed by many. An absolute professional."

Marine Louis Nethercott, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando
Royal Marines, said:

"To sum up Sam: A truly courageous and professional soldier."

Marine Liam Kelly, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal
Marines, said:

"Sam was one of the best and most professional Marines I have ever
worked with. Having been in Fire Support Group with him since I arrived
in the Unit 2 years ago after passing out, he was always on hand to give
me advice on anything. I can say I have learnt a lot from him,
especially from the time I spent with him on Operation HERRICK 14. Sam
was very courageous and always first to volunteer for anything. Aside
from being a real hand grenade ashore, and his horrendous Formula One
dits; it was an honour to work alongside him. He will be sadly missed
and our hearts go out to his wife Claire and son Leo."

Marine Brett Newman, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando
Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was a credit to the Corps, he was always having
a laugh and a joke with the lads and his daily complaints never failed
to amuse. He thought the world of his wife and son, Leo, who Sam thought
would be the next Lewis Hamilton; despite the fact he was still in
nappies. He was a very good mentor to the new lads. One of my last
memories of Sam was just before we started this Operation, we were all
sat in our room packing our kit and we were all laughing at the fact
that Sam couldn't pick up his Bergen. He was morale and he will be
greatly missed amongst the lads."

Marine Matthew Smith, Headquarters, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal
Marines, said:

"Sam Alexander; what a bloke. As the Company Clerk, or spy as the lads
like to call me, I get to know most of the lads pretty well. Sam was one
of those who would always be a friendly face and always lots of morale.
He would always come up with a witty one liner or 'dit' that would
instantly make you smile or burst out with laughter. The most recent
memory I have of him is being in a resupply to his Check Point; with the
stores being offloaded and Sam at the front, I can remember him breaking
into song about nothing in particular, other than the fact that they
were unloading stores. Quality. He was an amazing lad and a top
Bootneck, with the medals to prove it, and I will never forget him.
Corps legend through and through, my thoughts and prayers are with his
family and friends. Rest in Peace mate. 'Prove Jokers'."

Marine Owen Blake & Marine Dale Monk, Recce Troop, Command Company, 42
Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Both Dale and I had the pleasure of serving with Sam in Kilo Company
for the duration of Operation HERRICK 9. We were both present on the day
in Majah where Sam won his Military Cross for valiant action that
heavily contributed to saving the life of his Section Commander. The
Officer Commanding afterwards said that all the men that day were worthy
of the award but those that were present all knew that the courage
required to do what Sam did was way above what can be expected of an
ordinary man. To run into open ground in direct enemy fire, effectively
suppressing the enemy, while his fallen Section Commander was extracted
just proved what all his colleagues already knew, that Sam was an
exceptional soldier with the heart of a lion. During Post Operational
Tour Leave and over a few 'wets' Sam casually played down his award
stating he was only doing his job; in the years since he has never
showed off or acted on his award. This sums Sam up to a 'T', a modest
man and exceptional soldier and a Bootneck that many aspire to emulate.
He will be truly missed."

Marine Sam Magowan, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando
Royal Marines, said:

"Sam, the most inspirational Marine I have met. You will be missed by
all. Rest in Peace."

The entire Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal
Marines, said:

"A selfless decorated Marine who all aspired to emulate. A true Bootneck
in every sense of the word, and a proud father. Fiercely loyal to all
lucky enough to be called his friend. You can never be replaced and will
never be forgotten."

The entire 2 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"We can remember when he came back to work after the birth of his boy
and telling everyone how proud it made him; and then there was the
Friday night DJ sessions in the accommodation that everyone loved
(Gen!). Or just his general enthusiasm for his job and the effort he put
into the lads; the Military Cross awarded to him on Operation HERRICK 9
proves this tenfold. Our thoughts go out to his family at this time.
Rest in Peace Royal."

Latest from

British military casualties - Editorial policy

In the service of our country.

Eulogies for all personnel killed on UK operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are posted as soon as they have been released by the UK Ministry of Defence. Each eulogy we publish for men down in operations brings a lump to the throat. We are losing the best of the best. Politicians must ensure that, when the newspaper cuttings have faded, their sacrifice has had some meaning, has helped bring about a good result. Anything else would be a waste for which they will be eternally condemned.

There is invariably at least a 24 hour gap between the official release of news of an event and the naming of the dead. This is to allow families to be informed and proper eulogoies to be produced. Occasionally families request no euologies or comment. We abide by guidance we receive on such sensitive matters. We regret that information on those who sacrifice almost as much through grave injury is seldom released by the MoD for operational reasons, and so we are unable to pay tribute.


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