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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
British soldier dies in Iraq
Lance Corporal McCue - Ministry of Defence
Lance Corporal McCue died after a blast

A British soldier has died after being wounded in an explosion in southern Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Lance Corporal James McCue was a member of 7 Air Assault Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

The 27-year-old, from Paisley, in Renfrewshire, died on Wednesday morning and the Army said an investigation into the blast was under way.

The lance corporal's mother, Mary, paid tribute to the son she knew as Jamesy.

He was a wonderful son, and those that knew him will remember his maturity and lively sense of humour
Mary McCue, soldier's mother

She said: "The family and all of Jamesy's friends were shocked and saddened to hear of his death during active service in Iraq.

"He was a wonderful son, and those that knew him will remember his maturity and lively sense of humour.

"At this time words cannot express the depth of our grief, but mixed with our profound sadness there is pride in the knowledge that he died a soldier while serving his country.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Armstrong, Commanding Officer of 7 Air Assault Battalion REME, described the lance corporal as a "highly competent" soldier.

He said he was popular with his colleagues and had used his physical fitness skills to help train others.

Vehicle mechanic

Lance Corporal McCue was single and joined the Army in April 1999.

He served in Germany and Kosovo with 32 Royal Engineer Regiment Workshop (REME) until August 2002.

At the time of his death he was serving as a vehicle mechanic with 8 Close Support Company, 7 Air Assault Battalion REME, stationed at Colchester Garrison in Essex.

His battalion had been sent to the Gulf as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade in February this year.

The conflict in Iraq has now claimed the lives of 33 British soldiers, marines and pilots.

Thirty-two have died in the region, another died of his injuries after being flown back to the UK.

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