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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 21:22 GMT 22:22 UK
UK soldier killed in Iraq named
British soldiers in Iraq
Three others were injured when the device exploded on a road
A British soldier who died after a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq has been named as Lieutenant Richard Palmer, of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Lt Palmer, 27, from Ware in Hertfordshire, was the 104th UK military fatality of the conflict.

He died on Saturday after the vehicle he was commanding was caught in an explosion near Ad Dayr, north-west of Basra, the Ministry of Defence said.

His father paid tribute to a "talented and popular young man".

Three of his colleagues were slightly injured in the attack.

The soldiers were taking part in a joint patrol with the Iraqi Army at the time.

'Future star'

Brigadier John Palmer, Lieutenant Palmer's father, said: "Richard was a much loved son, grandson, brother, uncle and boyfriend, with a huge number of very good friends.

"He was enormously proud to be a soldier and in particular to be a member of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

"Richard was a very talented and popular young man who achieved a lot in his life. We are immensely proud of him - whilst nothing can make his loss any easier we are just thankful that the other members of his troop, of whom he thought so much, were not seriously injured."

Lt Palmer's commanding officer said the regiment had lost a "great ambassador, a splendid soldier and a fine friend".

Despite having only served with the Regiment for just under two years he was widely regarded by soldier and officer alike as a star of the future
Lt Col Ben Edwards

The officer was "an intelligent, charming, talented yet incredibly modest individual", said Lieutenant Colonel Ben Edwards.

"Despite having only served with the regiment for just under two years, he was widely regarded by soldier and officer alike as a star of the future," he said.

"Individuals such as Richard have made a tangible difference to the future of the people of Iraq.

"On a daily basis they put their lives at risk as they endeavour to improve the security situation within the country."

Troop reduction

The death comes after a suicide bomb attack on Friday close to the British logistics base at Shaibah, near Basra, in which four soldiers suffered minor injuries.

The last British soldiers to die in Iraq were Captain Richard Holmes and Private Lee Ellis, both from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment and attached to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

They were part of a routine patrol that was targeted by a roadside bomb on the outskirts of Amara, southern Iraq, on 28 February.

Defence Secretary John Reid announced last month that the number of UK troops in Iraq would be reduced by 800 to 7,000.

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