The grieving widow of a Royal Marine captain has given birth to a daughter only 10 days after her husband died on active service in the Gulf. Steve Parsley reports.

LIKE Goose Green, Tumbledown and Bluff Cove, the significance of names such as Umm Qasr, Al Faw and Basra will blur with time.

But for Emily Guy, they will always have a certain poignancy; it was in that region of the Middle East the father she will never meet lost his life a few days before she was born.

Her mother, Helen, has already vowed the man she loved will never be forgotten. In a moving tribute soon after Captain Philip Guy's death, she described the Royal Marine she married as "steadfast, honest and true".

"Our love and pride was always with him and he knew that. He died surrounded by our love and we will never, ever forget what a truly wonderful man he was," she said.

But, for now, Emily cannot feel the grief that inspired such touching words.

She was born at Airedale Hospital in Skipton, North Yorkshire, on Wednesday night and, although the arrival of a sister for one-year-old Henry brought joy to her family, they must now prepare for a funeral at the town's Holy Trinity Church next Friday.

"In just two-and-a-half years, we will have been to a wedding, a christening and a funeral," said Capt Guy's mother, Anne.

"He was a very brave and courageous soldier and will be sadly missed by his family and all who knew him."

Capt Guy was killed when a helicopter bringing his unit back from a mission in Iraq crashed in the Kuwati desert, on March 21 - only 48 hours after the first shots of the second Gulf War were fired.

Sent to the Middle East in February, the 29-year-old had been directing laser-guided bombs from jet aircraft on to their targets. In a cruel irony, he had successfully completed what would have been his final mission in Iraq - to capture an oil pumping station - when his helicopter crashed on the way back to base. He was due to fly home in good time for the birth of his daughter.

Capt Guy had planned to give up active service in favour of a desk job so he could be closer to his family. He was due to attend staff college before promotion to the rank of major and a two year stint at RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire.

Helen Guy said: "He was so looking forward to coming home and was hoping to be back in time for the birth of our second child."

The couple moved to Skipton in January to be closer to Mrs Guy's family in Blackburn, Lancashire, and Capt Guy's parents, who still raise cattle on the farm near Leyburn, North Yorkshire, where he grew up.

The town's Wensleydale School has been flying a flag at half-mast as a mark of respect to a pupil still remembered by some of the staff.

"He was one of the most hard-working, committed students I have ever taught," said teacher Jim Wilson.

"If he had a problem, he would go back to it time and again until he had it beaten.

"But he could also motivate others. I can remember him encouraging his team mates in the changing rooms before a football match and, on the pitch, he always gave 100 per cent."

Although the Guys moved to Skipton earlier this year, the mayor, Councillor Andrew Rankin, said the town would be grieving with the family next Friday.

He said: "Regardless of your view on the war, a wife is without her husband and children are without a father.

"Loss of life at such a young age is always sad, but I think the whole community will be hit hard by this tragedy.

"The fighting may seem a long way away, but perhaps this will mean people will realise just what is going on. It will certainly bring the awful truth of war home to our doorsteps."

For now, though, the family have asked to be allowed to grieve in private - and to enjoy their new arrival.

"Some think Emily looks like my mother, Philip's gran," said Anne Guy. "I'm not so sure - but she is gorgeous and a little joy in all our lives."