The First British Journalist Dies in Afghanistan

Last night, tributes were paid to the first ever British journalist to be killed in the current war in Afghanistan. Political leaders and colleagues were devastated to hear the news, which has come as a sad shock to his friends and family.

39 year old Rupert Hamner was a father to 3 children. He had become known as a seasoned war reporter, covering events from the front line. He died when a bomb went off and blasted through the US armoured vehicle he was in. He worked alongside British photographer Phil Coburn, who survived the attack. Sadly, he lost a leg in the blast. Five other people were injured, and a US Marine was also killed.

Yesterday was a very difficult day for Rupert’s widow, Helen as she attempted to explain the tragic attack to the couple’s children, aged between 19 months and six years. Rupert Hamner had been working for the Sunday Mirror as the defence correspondent.

At the time of the attack, the men were on a “surge operation” with the US Marine Corps. They intended to enter Taliban Territory in Ghazni province. The unit planned to meet tribal elders on Saturday on a “hearts and minds” mission.

The surviving Mr Coburn, aged 43, was taken to a British Field Hospital last night – his condition is said to be “serious but stable”. He has been able to talk to his partner in London on the phone.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has praised Rupert Hamner for his dedication, courage and skill – it does indeed take a brave man to report from the front line. Brown was “deeply saddened” by the news, as were our London escorts and readers of the Sunday Mirror.

It was Mr Hamners belief that the only way to report the war accurately was to be alongside the soldiers who were in battle; sources say that he never complained of the incredible danger he faced, nor boasted of the perils of each assignment. He was admired by many for his sense of humour combined with an in depth knowledge of the military. Hamners became friends with many of the troops and managed to earn their respect.

Mr Hamners flew out to Afghanistan on New Year’s Eve, having also reported from Iraq, central Asia and the Middle East in the past. His body will be flown back to England this week.