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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 21:02 GMT
UK forces suffer 100th Iraq death
British soldiers
British soldiers have been in the Basra province since 2003
The 100th UK soldier to die in Iraq since the 2003 invasion has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Corporal Gordon Alexander Pritchard, 31, a soldier from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards died in a blast in Umm Qasr, Basra province.

His parents Jenny and Bill said in a statement he was "the epitome of a modern, professional soldier" and "extremely proud" of his regiment.

It follows the death of L/Cpl Allan Douglas, 22, who died on Monday.

The statement by Cpl Pritchard's parents said he had followed family tradition by serving with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

"He was a well-trained, well-motivated soldier serving in a regiment that he was extremely proud of, as did his father and elder brother," it said.

"He was a loving son, and a very proud family man, and he will be deeply missed by us all."

Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was a "tragedy" but British troops would remain in Iraq for as long as needed.

Three other soldiers were injured, one seriously, in the Umm Qasr blast, which took place at 0834 local time (0534 GMT).

The MoD said all three were receiving treatment at the Shaibah medical facility and the explosion was being investigated.

Rations run

Cpl Pritchard, who was married with children, was commanding the lead Land Rover in a three-vehicle convoy. The MoD said the convoy was on a routine rations and water run when the explosion was detonated.

An MOD spokesman expressed "our deepest sympathy" to Cpl Pritchard's relatives and friends "at this sad time".

Umm Qasr, Iraq's biggest port, was one of the first cities to be captured by British forces in May 2003.

Since then, it has largely avoided the kind of violence seen in Baghdad and, to a lesser extent, the city of Basra.

Defence Secretary John Reid said it was an appropriate time to reflect on the "dedication, courage, professionalism and sacrifice" of the armed forces and their families.

100 service personnel killed
77 died in action
23 from non-combat injuries

The family of L/Cpl Douglas, who was shot and killed in Maysan province on Monday morning, have spoken about his death.

His mother said her son had been back to his Aberdeen home over Christmas and had not wanted to return to Iraq.

Diane Douglas told the BBC it was a "damn disgrace" that young people were being killed in Iraq, adding: "I don't think Tony Blair should have put any young kids out there."

Former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a Conservative who initially opposed the war, said he was "deeply saddened" by the death but added Britain could not just leave Iraq.

L/Cpl Allan Douglas (Pic: Highlanders)
I don't think Tony Blair should have put any young kids out there
Diane Douglas

George Galloway MP, who wants all troops to be withdrawn from Iraq, said the latest casualty showed the "full disastrous consequences" of the war.

Former Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who is an honorary member of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards officers' mess, also expressed his sadness.

"I am dreadfully sorry that this should have happened in a conflict where the military objective is far from clear," he said.

Some 230 British troops have been injured by enemy action since the conflict in the country began in 2003.

Of the 100 servicemen and women who have died in Iraq, 77 were classed as being killed in action.

The other 23 died from illness, non-combat injuries, accident or an unknown cause.

In all, 2,242 US troops have died in the conflict. There is no widely accepted figure for the number of Iraqi civilian deaths. Estimates have varied between 10,000 and 100,000.

Hear Tony Blair speak on the role of UK troops in Iraq


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