Tributes have been paid to a ‘highly professional’ and ‘passionate’ Royal Marine from Bury St Edmunds who died last month.
Colour Sergeant Aaron Winter died suddenly on December 6 while off duty at Norton Manor Camp, in Taunton, Somerset, where he lived with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Ava.
The 39-year-old from the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, nicknamed Tiny because of his tall frame, was born in Bury and had been deployed on operations to Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In addition to his campaign medals, he had been awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals.
He was described by the Ministry of Defence as a family man above all else and ‘a passionate, morally upstanding and straight-talking marine who lived life to the full.’
In a statement confirming his death, the MoD said: “Tiny was a man who inspired those around him. He always had time for people and because of this he gained the absolute trust of those with whom he worked. He was the archetypal paragon of what one expects of a sergeant in the Royal Marines – highly professional, tough but compassionate.”
Colonel Dave Kassapian, Commandant Commando Training Centre RM, said Tiny, as Provost Sergeant, was his enforcer of standards and discipline, an ‘indomitable character who compelled compliance through presence alone’.
“He lived life by the Commando values of excellence, humility, integrity and self-discipline,” he said.
Corporal Edwards, Provost JNCO, said Tiny was ‘a mountain of a man with a character to match’ and was ‘always approachable’.
He added: “Tiny was a legend, he was an inspiration to us all and had a professionalism that we aspired to – a true Bootneck’s Bootneck.”
Staff Sergeant Dave Loe said Tiny had left ‘very large shoes to be filled’.
He added: “It seems incomprehensible that a fit, healthy and active man as Tiny was should become victim of his own body turning against him. A light has gone out without so much as a flicker, and all we have left is the precious memory of how brightly it burned and the warmth it gave us.”
An inquest is due to be held into Colour Sgt Winter’s death.