Tributes to a ‘brilliant Marine’

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A BUXTON soldier killed in Afghanistan was a “brilliant marine” with a “brilliant career ahead of him”, an inquest heard this week.

Royal Marine Scott Gregory Taylor, known as Scotty, was just 21 when he was killed in Afghanistan on May 30 last year.

Lieutenant colonel Sean Brady, company commander at the time of Scott’s death, told the Chesterfield inquest that the former Buxton Community School pupil was a “brilliant marine who did a cracking job and who would have had a brilliant career ahead of him.”

And his comments were echoed by Sergeant Daniel Pea, troop commander, who said: “If I could have had 30 of him, I would have taken them. He was professional and one of the best soldiers I’ve ever worked with at that level. What a man!”

Scott was on foot patrol in Sangin in the Helmand Province with Alpha Company, 40 Commando on the evening of May 30 when he was killed in an explosion.

Along with a colleague, Scott operated a Vallon metal detector which was used to detect for improvised explosive devices or IEDs, and other weapons.

On the evening of May 30, Scott and Marine Thomas French were sent over a wall to clear the way for the rest of the troop. Seconds later, an explosion occurred and Scott and a colleague were both injured.

Marine John Cadwallader, who helped administer first aid to Scott in the seconds after the blast, said: “I heard the explosion, felt the blast and was knocked off my feet. There was a lot of dust, I remember it being like a sandstorm and it was difficult to see.”

Marine Cadwallader rushed to help Scott and he and a colleague administered first aid while waiting for a rescue helicopter, reassuring him and trying to make him comfortable.

Coroner Dr Robert Hunter said: “It was a very brave thing you did because you didn’t have a Vallon. I know it’s not a great comfort to Scott’s mum and dad but at least there was someone with him at the time caring for him, and I’d like to thank you for that.” 

A helicopter arrived on the scene around 45 minutes later, the inquest heard on Wednesday. However, Scott later died of his injuries.

Marine Taylor had been in Afghanistan since April and had carried out around 40 to 50 patrols of the area in that time, many of them leading the way as a Vallon operator.

It was a role he excelled at and during the inquest, Marine Taylor and Marine French were described as “top Vallon operators”.

No potential threat had been picked up by the detectors that day.

All of Scott and his colleagues’ kit was thoroughly checked before they set out on their patrol, and there was no intelligence to suggest there were any heightened threats that evening, the inquest heard.

• Scott joined the Royal Marines in September 2007, aged 18, following in the footsteps of his father Steve and his older brother Liam.

Scott was a proud Buxtonian and when his funeral took place in June last year, the town came to a standstill to pay tribute to the fallen hero.