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The soldier who saved up to a thousand lives

PUBLISHED: 16:29 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 August 2010

FERRARI PRESS AGENCY - 18/12/09. Family of killed soldier James Brown
His father Stephen Brown 51 with l/r, sisters Eleanor Brown 16, Samantha Brown 20, Hayley Morris 18 (James girlfirend), and Stephanie Brown 21
picture by: Simon Hildrew/Ferrari press
17/12/09

FERRARI PRESS AGENCY - 18/12/09. Family of killed soldier James Brown His father Stephen Brown 51 with l/r, sisters Eleanor Brown 16, Samantha Brown 20, Hayley Morris 18 (James girlfirend), and Stephanie Brown 21 picture by: Simon Hildrew/Ferrari press 17/12/09

RELATIVES were joined by top military chiefs in praising Private Brown for saving up to 1,000 lives, writes Michael Adkins. His sister Samantha Button, who also travelled to Wootton Bassett, led the family tributes to her hero brother. The mother-of-one

Ferrari Press Agency...17.12.09: Collect picture of Private James Brown on holiday in the Dominican Republic. James was killed in action in Afghanistan after sending a message home to his family for Christmas. He was 18

RELATIVES were joined by top military chiefs in praising Private Brown for saving up to 1,000 lives, writes Michael Adkins.

His sister Samantha Button, who also travelled to Wootton Bassett, led the family tributes to her hero brother.

The mother-of-one said: "To say I am proud does not come close. He always put everyone before himself and knowing the sacrifice he made to save others was amazing. I have always been proud of him but this has shown he is really one in a million.

"In a sense his death has brought the family so close together. We are so, so strong, with James' strength as a whole but our loss is immeasurable."

The repatriation of Rfn James Brown (3 Rifles) at RAF Lyneham on Tue 22nd Dec 09.

Supporting our troops, she added: "110 million per cent I do. James never slacked, even if he was scared he would never admit it. He was a true soldier and he was certain we had to be in Afghanistan. There is no doubt he saved lives when he died, he paid the ultimate sacrifice."

She also remarked on the massive influence he had on her 13-month-old son Reece, adding: "They made your heart melt when they were together. My little boy meant the world to him."

His proud father Stephen Brown also paid tribute to his hero son hailing him a "complete hero and a giant among men".

The 51-year-old builder said: "Not only was he the most fantastic son, James was also a great friend."

He added: "When he was blown up he apparently survived for an hour afterwards - that says it all about his never-give up spirit. When I heard he had put himself in harm's way to save others I was not the least bit surprised. The actions of James and the other soldier stopped as many as a thousand people from being killed."

The brave soldier has three sisters Stephanie, 21, Samantha, 20, and Ellie, 16, and his mum Tracy Leslie is separated from his father.

Speaking about both soldiers who died in the attack Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, commanding officer of 3 Rifles Battle Group, praised their heroic actions.

He said comrades took comfort and pride from the fact they averted a "much larger tragedy."

He said: "Their sacrifice prevented two suicide bombers from reaching their intended target, the bustling Sangin bazaar, packed with local Afghans going about their daily business."

Mayor James Richardson, commanding officer of B Company, said his death was "particularly cruel."

"He did not have the chance to forge the closest of relationships with his new battle partners. His loss weighs heavily because of the unrealised potential and the strength of the initial signs. Our thoughts are with his family."

michael.adkins@archant.co.uk

l On Tuesday night the nation watched as Prince William presented the residents of Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, with the Support to the Armed Forces award at the Sun newspaper Military Awards 2009.

He said: "One of the most remarkable things is that the people are so modest, they refuse to accept any praise.

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