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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 15:37 GMT
Killed Afghanistan soldiers named
Lance Bombardiers Ross Clark and Liam McLaughlin (Pic: MoD)
Ross Clark and Liam McLaughlin died in a rocket attack
Two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been named by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Lance Bombardiers Ross Clark and Liam "Paddy" McLaughlin, who was from Lancashire, were both from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

The soldiers died during a rocket attack in the Sangin area of Helmand province on Saturday.

Their deaths take the number of UK troops killed in combat operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 50.

Of these, 22 died from accidents, illness, or non-combat injuries, according to the MoD.

Lance Bombardiers Clark and McLaughlin were taking part in an operation as part of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) when they were killed.

'Extremely popular'

Lance Bombardier Clark, 25, was born in Zimbabwe and brought up in South Africa before joining the British Army in April 2002.

He also served in Iraq, and on exercises in Norway, Belize and the US, and was deployed to Afghanistan on operations in September 2006.

His commanding officer Lt Col Neil Wilson said: "Ross was a determined, intelligent and motivated young man who epitomised the standards of professionalism against which we measure ourselves.

"He was extremely popular within the regiment and had already begun a rapid progression through the ranks."

'Deeply shocked'

Lance Bombardier McLaughlin, 21, enlisted in September 2002 and was deployed on exercises to Norway, Belize, Senegal and the US, and gained promotion to lance bombardier in August 2005. He also went to Afghanistan in September 2006.

"Paddy was a real character, that rare combination of natural verve and determined professionalism that is an absolute pleasure to be around," said Lt Col Wilson.

"He leaves a void that will be felt by the entire regiment, who are deeply shocked to a man."

The two men were said to be friends as well as colleagues.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "I was greatly saddened to hear about the deaths of Lance Bombardier Ross Clark and Lance Bombardier Paddy McLaughlin in Afghanistan on Saturday."

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