Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a North East soldier killed in Afghanistan, just before he was due to be promoted.
Sapper Adam Moralee, of Ryton in Gateshead, was fatally injured on Wednesday while preparing equipment for redeployment in Camp Bastion.
The 23-year-old, from 32 Engineer Regiment, was due to promote to lance corporal later this year.
In tributes to Sapper Moralee, he was called a promising soldier who always had a genuine smile. He leaves behind fiancee Emma and parents Lynn and Darren.
Nicknamed “Mozza” or “Massive” by friends, Sapper Moralee was known for his love of Newcastle United and was incredibly popular.
Corporal Matt Mackay, Armoured Section Commander 32 Engineer Regiment, said: “I first got to know Sapper “Mozza” Moralee from his banter in the troop and later for his passion for Armoured Engineering. “Mozza” was an utter pleasure to work with and an expert in his trade from many exercises in Canada and Germany. Life was so much easier when he was around.
“He was a lover of anything mechanical, from his white VW Polo car to the Trojan tank he crewed alongside Lance Corporal Crosbie. They gelled instantly and became inseparable at work and in the bar. Incredibly popular in the squadron and well-known by the lads, we often teased him for his quiet nature during the day and his fun-loving attitude once encouraged off the sofa.
“His love of Newcastle United was legendary despite being utterly uncoordinated at the game himself. He was loved by everyone around him and definitely a star of the future.
“The only thing that rivalled his friendship with Lance Corporal Crosbie was his love of his fiancée, Emma. She put a look in his eye of pride, achievement and true happiness. The most genuine person I have ever met, it has been a pleasure to know him and to serve with him.
“There won’t be a day or a Newcastle game that we don’t think about him. My thoughts are with his family and especially Emma. I’ll see you in the squadron bar, my friend.”
Close friend Lance Corporal Karl Crosbie added: “From the outset, it was clear that I had met a truly caring best friend and brother who would have done anything for me. Adam and I were inseparable; we did everything and went everywhere together. We were always seen as a pair, almost as if we were joined at the hip. One thing that will forever stand out among many amazing memories is his love for doing body building poses, and from where he got his nickname ‘Massive’.
“Such was our friendship that he asked me to be his best man for his wedding to his fiancée Emma; I was deeply honoured. We were very much like brothers and I will miss him very much. We will meet up again one day, ‘Massive’.”
Sapper Moralee was deployed on Operation Herrick 19 in September last year as part of a close support troop within 39 Armoured Engineer Squadron. He worked as a combat engineer to give physical force protection from both the environment and the enemy threat to personnel deployed in forward bases, and to close these bases as part of TFH’s lift-off from Helmand.
Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said: “It is clear from the tributes paid to Sapper Moralee that he was a determined and respected soldier who was good-humoured, trustworthy and considerate. His untimely death is a tragedy and my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, fiancée and friends at this difficult time.”