Defence correspondent Rupert Hamer killed in Afghanistan

RupertHamer.jpgThe Sunday Mirror’s defence correspondent, Rupert Hamer, has been killed in Afghanistan while embedded with US Marines.

Photographer Phil Coburn also suffered serious leg injuries when the MRAP vehicle they were travelling in was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device on Saturday.

One US Marine was killed and five others were injured in the attack near Nawa in Helmand province.

The Mirror, which dedicated today’s issue to Hamer, has a piece written by security correspondent Chris Hughes describing him as "a friend, a colleague, a hero and a legend".

Sunday Mirror Editor, Tina Weaver, said Hamer was "a fine, fearless and skilled writer".

The Army Rumour Service forum also has a thread with a few tributes from at least one journalist and other military personnel who worked with Hamer.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Hamer and Coburn’s "courage, skill and dedication to reporting from the front line was incredibly important and ensured that the world could see and read about our heroic troops.”

Writing from Kabul, John Boone highlights the fact that embedded journalists are often ‘too close for comfort‘.

The incident is particularly disturbing for journalists because Hamer was killed while travelling in a vehicle that is regarded as offering the most sophisticated protection against IED attacks available in Afghanistan.

The MRAP has a V-shaped hull designed to deflect blasts away from those inside and a Department of Defense official has described them as the "most survivable vehicle we have in our arsenal by a multitude". 

Of course, the phrase "most survivable" points to the generally dangerous nature of travelling in any vehicle in Afghanistan and Hamer’s death is testament to the courage required of embedded journalists in bringing us news from the front line.