A heroic officer killed in Afghanistan complained of equipment shortages to his fiancee just days before his death in a firefight, it was revealed.
Captain David Hicks, who received the Military Cross for gallantry, told his partner Nicola Billen his men were "sitting ducks" for the Taliban at their makeshift base. In letters and conversations, he repeatedly spoke of his "frustration" that demands for kit went unheeded.
Miss Billen told the Daily Telegraph Capt Hicks had not specified what they were missing, but said: "I keep asking for things and I'm not getting them".
Blaming a helicopter shortage - which hit supplies so badly that on one occasion they had to stop firing mortar rounds to preserve ammunition - he added: "It is ridiculous that we have to make do."
On several occasions the 26-year-old had asked for a doctor for be sent to the remote Inkerman base, north of the volatile town of Sangin, because they were being attacked twice a day by the Taliban. But it was not until he was killed in a battle with the enemy on August 11 last year that a doctor was permanently stationed at the base.
Earlier this week, the coroner at Capt Hicks's inquest criticised the Ministry of Defence for forcing troops to "make do".
In a letter to 32-year-old Miss Billen, just two days before he was killed as he tried bravely to locate Taliban positions, Capt Hicks wrote: "It still remains pretty busy at the minute with a few niggling problems that concern me but I won't go into them now."
The officer, of 1st Battalion Royal Anglians, was in charge of 60 men at the outpost. On the morning Capt Hicks died was he was devastated that a fellow Royal Anglian, Pte Tony Rawson, had been killed the day before. In a final phone call to Miss Billen, minutes before he was killed, he said: "I'm not taking any unnecessary risks but we are being attacked twice a day - it's just too much, we can't keep going like this."
Miss Billen said: "Then we started talking about other things and then the explosion went off and he said 'Sweetheart I have got to go. I will speak to you later I love you'."
Capt Hicks was hit by a shell as he tried to locate enemy position from the top of a sangar observation platform. He could have returned to the UK weeks before his death as he had handed in his resignation, but chose to stay on until his six-month tour was finished.