Ely Soldier Died A Hero

PUBLISHED: 09:09 16 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 04 May 2010

Cpl Lee Scott

Cpl Lee Scott

AN Ely soldier whose comrades called him the legend died a hero in Afghanistan, an inquest heard yesterday Cpl Lee Scott, 26, was one of the army s youngest tank commanders. He was killed when his Viking armoured vehicle was hit by an improvised explosi

AN Ely soldier whose comrades called him "the legend" died a hero in Afghanistan, an inquest heard yesterday

Cpl Lee Scott, 26, was one of the army's youngest tank commanders. He was killed when his Viking armoured vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Helmand Province last summer.

At an inquest in King's Lynn on Monday Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded a verdict that he was unlawfully killed while on active service.

"This inquest reminds us that the freedom and security we all enjoy is ultimately dependent on those like Lee who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

Earlier, witnesses said he was soldier who enjoyed a joke, but when it came to the crunch he was a brave, professional soldier.

Capt Terry Newton was in charge of the convoy taking supplies to some of the outposts in the area of Nade Ali, in Helmand Province, when the attack took place on the morning of Friday, July 10.

Cpl Scott, who was born in Ely and grew up in Littleport, was the commander of the first Viking armoured vehicle in the convoy, which set off just after first light.

As they approached a junction, Cpl Scott said there was a suspicious smell. The convoy stopped, while a team of engineers swept the area for bombs. Capt Newton said IEDs were often planted at junctions.

He added: "There were people in the fields and if there's going to be trouble locals tend to know and tend to leave the area."

But 150 yards later, he heard a massive explosion - the largest he had witnessed in Afghanistan at the time.

When soldiers went to investigate, they found the rear cab of the lead Viking had been thrown up and landed in the bomb crater. But the front cab had been blown off and finished upside down in the ditch by the road.

Cpl Scott was found 50 yards away in a ditch. His colleagues said they thought there were signs of life as they pulled him clear, but it soon became clear he had died.

The pathologist who carried out the post mortem had said that from the moment of the explosion, Cpl Scott would have been unconscious and would have known nothing.

Cpl Scott leaves a wife Nikki, whom he married in Lynn in 2008, and two young children Kai and Brooke. The coroner said he noticed when he asked witnesses to describe him, all of them had smiled and said he had been a deeply respected soldier and a deeply loved family man.

Cpl Scott was buried at Gayton Rod Cemetery after a funeral with full military honours at St Faith's Church, Gaywood.

Mr Armstrong recorded a verdict that Lee Scott had been unlawfully killed on active service in Afghanistan. He extended his sympathy to Lee's widow Nikki, who sat through the whole inquest, and his friends and colleagues.

Cpl Scott's mother, Denise Harris, is one of seven mothers who lost their sons in Afghanistan in 2009, who formed the charity Afghan heroes in their memory, to help support bereaved service families.

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