I can’t wait to get back from war zone to see my baby girl

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A SOLDIER from Sheffield serving in Afghanistan has celebrated the birth of his second child - but has so far seen her only on video.

Major Edward Colver, aged 35, from Dungworth, is commanding troops from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment in Helmand province.

He deployed in late February - and days later his wife Lisa gave birth to their daughter, Philippa.

Their Leap Year baby, who weighed in on February 29 at 9lb 2oz, is the couple’s second child - a sister to two-year-old Hugo.

Major Colver said: “It felt awful being away for the birth but I have an important job to do out here and I know my wife will be okay with the support of friends and family.

“She is immensely strong, and that gives me the strength to get on with my job.

“I’ve seen pictures and a couple of videos of Pippa via email, so that helps me see how she’s getting on.

“Fortunately I’ve not missed any other major family events before - apart from a few of Lisa’s birthdays!”

Major Colver is on his first tour of Afghanistan, but has previously served in Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland.

He is part of the regiment which lost five men in the deadliest attack on UK troops in Afghanistan - and said he and his colleagues are determined to carry on despite the tragedy.

Last week the regiment helped shut down Taliban bomb factories and command centres - and in the thick of the action were three friends from Sheffield.

Lance Corporal Nick Clark, 21, from Richmond, Private Simon Akundam 29, from Fir Vale, and Corporal Chris Tompkins, 30, from Low Edges, arrived in Afghanistan at the same time as the men who were killed in an IED blast on the Helmand border.

Major Colver, who was company commander of the men who died, said while the regiment would never forget the loss they would not let it stop them doing their duty.

“It has been tough for the company to deal with and they will be sorely missed by us all.

“We are getting on with our mission and doing well.

“But our thoughts and prayers are with the heroes’ families at this difficult time.”

The regiment’s tour is also seeing troops taking part in an Afghan-led operation to clear a Taliban stronghold near the province’s second city of Gereshk.