Marine Sam Alexander MC was born on 16 June 1982 in Hammersmith 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.
According to the MoD 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.
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 forgotten”.
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.”
There is no doubt that this was an extremely courageous and brave young man, but there are doubts about why people like him are still dying over there. His own father talking to the BBC paid tribute to the 'humbling' way in which his son was viewed by his colleagues but questioned the worth of the mission. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that, just pause for a second this morning. I would guess nothing you or I face today will come even close to what Sam had to face up to every day. What a loss.