Tragic loss of South Yorkshire soldier in blast

Killed: Sergeant Lee Paul Davidson, 32, from Doncaster. Photo: MoD/PA Wire.
Killed: Sergeant Lee Paul Davidson, 32, from Doncaster. Photo: MoD/PA Wire.
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A SOLDIER killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan has been described as the ‘best husband and father’ by his wife who is expecting their third child.

The town of Thorne is in mourning for Sgt Lee Davidson, aged 32, who has become the 427th member of British forces die in Afghanistan.

His body is due to be flown back to Britain today.

The death was announced on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda terror attacks on the United States which triggered the war in Afghanistan.

His widow Samantha, who was being comforted at her mother’s home yesterday, is expecting the couple’s third child and is due to give birth shortly after Sgt Davidson should have returned home in a few weeks’ time.

Sgt Davidson, who joined the Army in 1998 and had previously served in Bosnia and Iraq, was on his second tour of Afghanistan, where he was helping train the local police force.

He and Samantha have two sons, Jayden and Jamie.

Samantha said: “My gorgeous husband Lee, we all can’t believe you have gone. You really are the total package: good looking, kind, loving, generous and the best dad I have ever known.

“The memories we had together will be treasured in my mind and heart forever, your children will grow up knowing all this about you. You will never be forgotten.”

The family had lived on Walnut Road, Thorne, until Sgt Davidson was posted to Afghanistan when his wife and boys decided to move in with her mother, Lesley, who works at the Co-op mini-market in South Parade, where Samantha also used to work.

Susan Lee, a neighbour on Walnut Road, said: “I didn’t know Lee well but he was a lovely lad. He once came round to borrow some ladders while in uniform and I just knew he was someone you could trust.

“My daughter knows his family quite well and she told me about his death. It was all round Thorne very quickly on text messages.

“It’s a real shame what has happened. It’s not a war we should be fighting. It’s so sad.”

Thorne resident Frank Jones said: “I feel really sorry for his family. He looks such a decent lad.”

Floral tributes to Sgt Davidson have been laid at the Light Dragoons’ barracks in Swanton Morley, Norfolk, and a memorial service is to take place there this afternoon.

Prayers have been said at Doncaster Minster and a book of remembrance opened for visitors to express their sentiments.

The first was Natalie, who wrote: “A brave and courageous soldier. May you rest in peace.”

Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies said: “I know that everyone will be thinking of Sgt Davidson’s family at this very sad time.”

Sgt Davidson is the second serviceman from Doncaster to be killed by enemy action in Afghanistan. The first was Liam Maughan, from Hatfield, of Third Battalion The Rifles, who was killed in March 2010.

Lt Col Sam Plant, commanding officer of the Light Dragoons, said: “Sgt Davidson will be remembered as a simply superb soldier and a wonderful man. He was the most natural leader of men and soldiers flourished under his command.”

Regimental Sergeant Major David Rae added: “Davo was liked by everyone, peers, superiors and subordinates. There was no agenda, only a down to earth, level headed, happy, fun, chatty, articulate and intelligent Yorkshireman.”

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Sgt Davidson was a respected and skilled serviceman and his loss is a great tragedy.”