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Soldier killed in training horror; City-born commando shot dead in training.

Byline: Nick McCarthy

A BIRMINGHAM-born commando has been shot dead in a training accident.

Lance Corporal Mason Edwards, left, was shot in the head during a night-time exercise using live ammunition near Port Augusta, in Australia.

The special forces soldier, who moved from Birmingham to Australia with his family when he was a child, was preparing for his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The 30-year-old had written a heartfelt letter in case he was killed while serving in Afghanistan, which was released by the Australian Department of Defence.

It said: "As a final note, I tell my family, friends and my one and only Cassie that I loved them all until the day I died. "I will stay young forever, and I will love them forever." "I want everyone to know that I love this line of work, the unit and the guys I work alongside."

Cpl Edwards spent most of his life in Queensland. He joined the Australian Army in January 2004, and later specialised in special forces demolitions, mortars and direct fire support weapons and heavy weapons. In August 2006, he was deployed to East Timor and the following year he undertook his first tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Special Forces Task Group. He returned to Afghanistan in June 2008. A statement released by his family described him as a "strong but gentle man" who was dedicated to serving his country. "As a beloved son, brother, uncle, and partner, Mason meant the world to us," it said.

"He was so strong, and yet the most gentle, caring, and loving man you would ever meet. He made us laugh every time we were together and his easygoing attitude was infectious. "Our hearts ache for Mason, and there aren't enough words to describe him as a person, and how we felt about him. "Mason is survived by his parents Julie and Kerrin; his siblings Katie, Remie and Jared; his nephew Henry; and his beloved partner Cassie."
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Title Annotation:News; Front Page
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 2, 2009
Words:329
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