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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006, 13:47 GMT
Dead British soldier named by MoD
Sergeant Graham Hesketh [Picture MoD]
Sergeant Graham Hesketh was the father of two young children
The British soldier killed by a bomb in Iraq has been named as Sgt Graham Hesketh by the Ministry of Defence.

The 35-year-old soldier, from the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed while taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City.

The armoured vehicle he was commanding was targeted by a roadside bomb.

Sgt Hesketh, a father-of-two who was engaged to another soldier serving in Iraq, was born in Liverpool and grew up in Runcorn, Cheshire.

The MoD said that Sgt Hesketh's children are a seven-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy.

The patrol was heading towards a British Army Base in the centre of Basra when the device exploded. There were no other casualties.

Sgt Hesketh was airlifted to a field hospital but died as a result of his injuries.

'Energetic individual'

His father, Kevin Hesketh, described him as "a very courageous young man" and a "very great asset to the army".

He said he was promoted to sergeant in 2005 and gained "much respect from his colleagues".

"He will be remembered by his family, friends, daughter, son, aunts, uncles and many friends he made during his lifetime ," he said.

His commanding officer Major Rob Driver said: "Graham always lived life to the fullest.

"He was a vibrant and energetic individual whose love for life and sense of humour touched all those around him.

"He was a highly capable, professional soldier and a role model to the other soldiers within his Battalion."

Club tribute

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "The death of Sergeant Graham Hesketh in Basra yesterday is a tragedy. His selfless professionalism was an example to us all.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and comrades at this most difficult time."

Everton Football Club, of which Sgt Hesketh was a fan, also paid tribute.

"On behalf of the club, players, management and staff, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends," a spokesman said, adding that the club would be in contact with the family.

The total number of UK troops killed in operations in Iraq now stands at 127.

Of those, 96 died in action. The rest of the deaths were caused by accidents, natural causes or illness, remain unexplained, or are still under investigation.

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