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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Dead British soldiers are named
Private Adam Morris (left) and Private Joseva Lewaicei
The soldiers' commanding officer paid tribute to the two men
Two UK soldiers who were killed in a roadside bomb attack outside Basra on Saturday have been named.

The Ministry of Defence named them as Private Joseva Lewaicei, 25, from Fiji, and Pte Adam Morris, 19, both of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment.

They were identified on the day four soldiers were hurt in a mortar attack on a camp near Amara in southern Iraq.

They were hurt during shelling at Camp Abu Naji, where the Queen's Royal Hussars battle group is based.

The attack at the weekend, which also left a third soldier injured, took place when the men were on routine patrol in a "snatch" Land Rover just outside Basra.

We shall continue to serve the Iraqi people in the way in which we have for as long as they, through their government, want us to be there
Des Browne
Defence Secretary

One was taken to the military hospital at Shaibah, where his condition has been described as stable. Three others were treated for minor injuries at the base.

The latest deaths brought to 111 the number of UK troops killed in operations in Iraq since 2003.

Lieutenant Colonel Des O'Driscoll, the commanding officer of both riflemen, paid tribute to their bravery and professionalism.

Lt Col O'Driscoll said Private Morris, who was single and lived with his mother in Leicestershire, was "one of our most promising soldiers" with a "fine career ahead of him".

'Universally popular'

"Adam's loss has touched and saddened all of us who had the honour to know him," he said. Pte Morris, who previously served in Northern Ireland, had been with The Royal Anglian Regiment for two years.

The soldier, whose nickname was "Borris", joined the army at 17 after going to college in the Leicester area.

Maureen Wright, a neighbour of the dead soldier's mother in Coalville, Leicestershire, said the news was "so sad".

"Adam was in the Army cadets, and it was all he ever wanted to do. He was keen to be going to Iraq," she said.

Pte Lewaicei, who was known as Lewi, grew up in Fiji, but joined the British Army and, according to his commanding officer, soon became "universally popular" with his colleagues.

'Exuberant character'

He was a father of one who had served in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, as well as once being offered a contract to play rugby professionally.

The soldier, who represented his battalion at boxing, was born in Lautoka, Fiji, and his seven-year-old daughter still lives in the country.

Lt Col O'Driscoll paid tribute to the soldier who had been a "fun-loving and exuberant character" who was regarded as the "soul of the platoon".

The 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment has been based at Ternhill, Shropshire, since 2005.

Its recruits come from Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire.

The bomb exploded as the patrol approached a bridge in their snatch - a vehicle protected by composite fibreglass.

A BBC correspondent said it was detonated by a wire, rather than electronically, making it impossible to counter using radio-jamming techniques.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said his "deepest sympathies and thoughts" were with their families and friends.

Helicopter crash

But he said the attack would not stop progress in helping Iraqis to safely govern their own country without foreign assistance.

"We shall continue to serve the Iraqi people in the way in which we have for as long as they, through their government, want us to be there," he insisted.

Monday's attack, in which a number of mortars fell inside the base in the Maysan province, started at around 0420 local time.

Major Sebastian Muntz, in Basra, said: "The injuries are mostly superficial. We don't normally talk about the injuries in detail.

"There's one chap who's had to be flown down here. It's not a serious injury. Whilst it's a significant attack, there's not been many people badly injured.

Last weekend five UK military personnel were killed in a helicopter crash in Basra, including the first British servicewoman to die in action.


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