Royal Anglian killed in roadside blast

MARK NICHOLLS A British soldier from the Royal Anglian Regiment was killed today in a bomb blast while on duty in southern Afghanistan.The death brings to four the number of troops from the regiment's 1st Battalion who have been killed in the troubled Helmand province since deploying to the country in April.

MARK NICHOLLS

A British soldier from the Royal Anglian Regiment was killed today in a bomb blast while on duty in southern Afghanistan.

The death brings to four the number of troops from the regiment's 1st Battalion who have been killed in the troubled Helmand province since deploying to the country in April.

Figures revealed by the EDP over the weekend showed that more than 40 Royal Anglians have been injured, some seriously, in the first three months of a deployment that their commanding officer has described as their most dangerous mission in years.

The soldiers are fighting Taliban elements in a bid to bring security to the region.

The Ministry of Defence said the solider, who has not been named, died after a blast during a patrol in the outskirts of Sangin.

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Two other casualties are being treated in hospital for injuries which are not thought to be life threatening. All next of kin have been informed.

The MoD say the soldiers had been returning to base after a routine patrol just before 6am local time when an explosion struck their Vector vehicle and there was “deep sadness” at the latest death.

Following the explosion, an emergency response helicopter flew the soldier to a medical facility at Camp Bastion for treatment, but he later died.

An MoD spokesman said: “The Vector vehicle could not be removed so it was destroyed to avoid it falling into enemy hands. The convoy continued to its destination. The next of kin have been informed and have requested a period of 24 hours' grace before further information is released.”

The UK has 7,100 troops in Afghanistan, mainly concentrated in the southern province of Helmand. More than 60 military personnel have died since operations against the Taliban began in 2001. The number of UK troops in Afghanistan is due to increase to about 7,700 this year.

The three other soldiers from the 1st battalion Royal Anglians killed are Private Chris Gray, 19, who was killed by a Taliban bullet on April 13, Corporal Darren Bonner, 31, who died on May 28 when the vehicle he was in hit a mine and Lance Corporal George Davey, 23, who died in a firearms accident.

Yet many more have been injured, some losing limbs, sustaining bullet wounds or fragmentation wounds.

The 1st Battalion, nicknamed The Vikings and with 600 soldiers in Helmand, recruits in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. It has had significant successes in driving Taliban forces from their strongholds across Helmand.

Last week the regiment announced a memorial fund would be set up for those killed during fighting from the current deployment. The 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund will also help support those injured and have the aim of assisting those soldiers that are able to continue their military careers rather than being medically discharged from the army.

Anyone wanting to donate to the 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund can do so by making cheques payable to CB 1 R Anglian and sending them to Major R.C. Barrett, Treasurer, 1 R Anglian Afghanistan Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, Surrey, GU24 0DT.

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