Page last updated at 20:33 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

MoD names four dead UK servicemen

Cpl Tom Gaden, L/Cpl Paul Upton (top l-r) Rifleman Jamie Gunn and Royal Marine Michael Laski (bottom l-r)
The deaths take the number of UK personnel killed in Afghanistan to 149

Four British personnel killed in attacks in Afghanistan have been named by the Ministry of Defence.

L/Cpl Paul Upton, 31, Cpl Tom Gaden, 24, and Rifleman Jamie Gunn, 21, of 1st Battalion The Rifles, were killed in a bomb blast on Wednesday.

The men, all based in Gloucestershire, were in a Land Rover at the time.

On the same day, Royal Marine Michael Laski, 21, from 45 Commando, died in a British hospital after fighting insurgents in Afghanistan on Monday.

The deaths take the number of UK servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan since October 2001 to 149.

Jamie's proudest desire was that he wanted to shine in life
Rifleman Gunn's family

The three soldiers, part of a team mentoring Afghan forces, were killed in the Gereshk district in Helmand Province during a routine patrol.

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Blewett, Regimental Colonel of The Rifles, said the men were "outstanding soldiers".

John Hutton, defence secretary, said: "To lose three men of this calibre in a single incident is a sad day for the Rifles, and indeed for our forces as a family."

Cpl Gaden, of Taunton, Somerset, was described as an "inspiration" in a statement from his family and fiancee, Amanda.

"He was a soldier through and through and the rock that kept our family together," they said.

L/Cpl Upton's mother, Tina, paid tribute to her son, from Looe, Cornwall, saying: "Paul had his life cut short doing a job he loved and he will be greatly missed by family and friends."

'Humility and dignity'

The family of Rifleman Gunn, from Monmouth, spoke of "a funny, popular lad who loved his mates and the girls".

"Jamie's proudest desire was that he wanted to shine in life," they said.

Major Rich Parvin, officer commanding Yankee Company, 45 Commando, paid tribute to Liverpool-born signaller Michael Laski.

"His loss is a tragedy, but his life was a gift to all who knew him.

"He lived his life with a determination to always succeed against adversity, but he did this with humility, dignity and humanity."

Defence secretary John Hutton added: "Marine Michael Laski has been described by his friends and colleagues as courageous, hard-working and professional in every aspect of his work, which was vital to our operations in Afghanistan."

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