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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 17:36 GMT
Yorkshire soldier killed in Gulf
Sgt Steven Roberts
Sgt Steven Roberts who was killed in action
The first British soldier killed in combat in Iraq was named by the Ministry of Defence as Sergeant Steven Roberts from Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The 33-year-old was a member of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.

He was shot on Sunday while trying to calm rioting civilians near al-Zubayr.

Sergeant Roberts, who died of his injuries on Monday, was married, and had a child from a previous marriage. He was originally from Cornwall.

His family have been informed of his death.

If there wasn't a war, he would be back home - and that is really what I want to believe - I want to believe he would be back home
Samantha Roberts
Sergeant Roberts' regiment issued a statement reporting the loss of the man who was known to colleagues as TC.

"TC was an all-round professional soldier, a first-class tank commander with a great depth of character who excelled under pressure," it said.

"He will be sadly missed by all ranks, past and present."

Sergeant Roberts joined the Army in 1986 and a year later became a member of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment.

He represented both the 2nd and 3rd Royal Tank Regiments at rugby and squash during his career.

Speaking before the war on BBC Radio Five Live, Sergeant Roberts' wife Samantha said both she and her husband were reconciled to the fact that war was inevitable in the face of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

"I think it's the only thing to do - I think that's all that's left now," she said.

"If there wasn't a war, he would be back home - and that is really what I want to believe - I want to believe he would be back home."

She added that she had not been in constant contact with her husband and that she was "just waiting for the next phone call".

Sergeant Roberts was shot 11 days after the broadcast.

Second death

Meanwhile, a second British soldier has been killed in action.

The soldier from the 1st Battalion The Black Watch was killed in combat on Monday night in an operation near al-Zubayr, to the south of Basra, in southern Iraq.

The Black Watch is a Scottish regiment but no further details of the latest casualty are known.

The latest death takes the number of British troops killed during the war with Iraq to 18.


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