THE Huddersfield aunt of an RAF man who died in Afghanistan has spoken of the family’s loss.
Senior aircraftman Marcin Wojtak was killed as a result of an explosion while commanding his vehicle in the desert to the south of Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand province, last Thursday.
The 24-year-old, who was known as ‘Big Ted’ because of his teddy-bear like qualities, was from Leicester.
But his mother, Teresa, was brought up in Huddersfield after her Polish parents, Michal and Wanda Cybulski, settled in the town after the Second World War.
Michal, who had been a paratrooper for the Allied forces during the war, worked at a textile mill between Huddersfield and Meltham.
They lived at Trinity Street, where Marcin’s aunt, Barbara Golabek, still lives.
She said: "Marcin was lovely, as a child and as a teenager. You couldn’t say a bad word about him. He would talk to anyone.
"It’s hard to take on board what has happened and it’s going to take a long time for us to adjust.
"We have lost a member of the family who was very young. He had plans and they were cut short."
Marcin had been on his current tour in Afghanistan since September 18. He died while on patrol.
He was the 219th member of the British forces to die since the start of the conflict.
Barbara said her nephew loved his job in the RAF.
She added: "It was a huge shock to find out what had happened..
"Obviously, you watch the news and are aware of where British troops are based.
"There has been a lot of interest in Afghanistan and you are conscious of the fact that a member of your family is over there.
"We were always as a family quite nervous, but you don’t really realise what it means until it hits so close to home."