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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Iraq cycling death soldier named
Major Nick Bateson
Major Bateson had represented the Army in triathlon competition
A British soldier who died in a cycling accident in Iraq has been named as Major Nick Bateson.

Keen sportsman Major Bateson, 49, of the Corps of Royal Signals, who was married, was based in Corsham, Wilts.

The crash involving a coach took place on Tuesday at Basra Air Station. The Chislehurst, Kent-born officer died of his injuries in hospital.

The number of UK troops killed in Iraq since the 2003 conflict now stands at 147 - 35 were non-combat deaths.

Major Bateson had been in Iraq for three months, on detachment from the Defence Information Infrastructure Integrated Project Team.

His role was to support communications between the UK and British forces in Iraq.

'Real character'

The Ministry of Defence said Major Bateson had represented the Army in the triathlon and orienteering and competed in swimming, cross country, and cycling.

Nick had a zest and energy second to none
Lt Col David Craft

"He was known not only for his professionalism and commitment to ensuring that he delivered communications support to the very best of his ability, but also for his total dedication to, and love of, sport," said his Commanding Officer, Lt Col David Craft.

Major Bateson was "always the person with a smile on his face and a quick retort; the sort of person you need around to lift the team when things don't go well," he said.

"Nick had a zest and energy second to none."

Lieutenant Colonel Colin McGrory, who heads the Corsham project team, also spoke of Maj Bateson's interest in sport when paying tribute.

"He always had a great big grin on his face, very bandy legs, an eccentric approach to uniform, and wherever he was his workspace would expand gradually as bikes, bits of bike, and running kit started to appear," he said.

"Nick was a lovely guy who will be sorely missed. He was a real character in every way.

"A hugely fit, active man he was somewhat uncomfortable in a desk environment, but was always professional and whether he enjoyed it or not he got on and did a professional job."

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "Major Bateson's death is very sad news, and my thoughts are with his family and friends following this tragic accident."

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