Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

UK soldier killed in ambush named

Acting Corporal Richard Robinson. Pic: MoD/PA
Acting Corporal Richard Robinson was killed while on foot patrol

A British soldier killed during an ambush in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Acting Corporal Richard "Robbo" Robinson, 21, of 1st Battalion The Rifles died from his wounds on Saturday after being hit by enemy fire.

The soldier, from Saltash, Cornwall, was killed while on foot patrol close to Sangin, in Helmand Province.

His death took the number of British forces to die since the start of operations in October 2001, to 142.

He was working as a mentor to the Afghan National Army, having been given the acting rank of corporal - two higher than his own rank.

Cpl Robinson died during an ambush while he was on patrol with the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) platoon, with whom he had been operating since September 2008.

The Ministry of Defence said his loss to the small and tight knit team "of which he was an integral part" would be felt heavily.

It was a great honour to serve with such a great Rifleman, a legend in my eyes. But it was also a great honour to be his friend... someone who I will never forget."
Acting Serjeant Simon Lake

"But it is his family and friends, both inside and outside the regiment who will mourn his tragic passing," said the statement.

His brother, Matthew, is also a serving soldier, in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. He also leaves a sister, Sophie, his father Kenneth and mother, Janet.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Joe Cavanagh said Cpl Robinson's death would bring "great sorrow".

"He was a popular, talented man and will be badly missed. Highly qualified and richly experienced for one of his vintage, he was credible and confident as an acting corporal and was already showing potential well beyond that."

'Cool-minded guy'

Major Jonathan Kitson - Officer Commanding E Company in 1 Rifles - said Cpl Robinson was "quiet and discerning".

"He was mature beyond his years, having gained valuable experience in Iraq."

"He had the sort of potential which is gratifying to see in a young and committed Rifleman: resourceful, quick thinking, caring and ready to help others before himself, he epitomised the ethos of his regiment as a junior commander and was set for a successful career."

"He had a ready sense of humour and I rarely saw him without a smile on his face, or firing out the banter in the [bases]," he said.

Acting Serjeant Simon Lake, Second in Command of OMLT 7, said he shared a room with the soldier when "Robbo" joined The First Battalion Devonshire and Dorset Regiment at the aged of 17.

"Robbo was such a cool-minded guy and an excellent soldier.

"We went to Iraq together in April 2006 and were then placed together in the same team for this Afghanistan tour, where he brought so much experience to the team, being reconnaissance and sniper qualified.

"He made my job so much easier; when I needed something doing Robbo was always ready.

"It was a great honour to serve with such a great Rifleman, a legend in my eyes. But it was also a great honour to be his friend, a close friend, someone who I will never forget."

"I know that his family will miss him the most and my thoughts go out to them."

Secretary of State for Defence John Hutton said Cpl Robinson was "obviously held in high esteem".

"My thoughts are with his family and his friends at this very sad time," he said.

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