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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Family 'devastated' at soldier's death
Fusilier Russell Beeston
Fusilier Beeston died from gunshot wounds to the chest
The family of a British soldier killed in southern Iraq say they are "devastated" by his death.

Fusilier Russell Beeston from Govan, Glasgow, died when his patrol was attacked by a crowd with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades near Basra.

In a statement, his family said: "Russell was a soldier doing his duty in Iraq and he will be sadly missed by all his family and friends."

The 26-year-old's death came on the same day as two other UK soldiers who died in Iraq were buried.

The attack which killed him happened at about 2145 local time on Wednesday as soldiers were returning to base after a raid in the nearby town of Ali al-Gharbi, the spokesman said.

Another soldier is said to be in stable condition after being wounded in the incident, which occurred in Ali al-Sharqi, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north-west of Basra.

An infantry officer is required to demonstrate considerable personal and professional qualities and Dai had them all
Major Adrian Peters

The soldiers encountered two large crowds blocking the road outside the town, and it appears they became trapped between these two crowds.

They fired warning shots which were returned with small arms fire and, reportedly, rocket-propelled grenades.

The injured soldier is currently receiving hospital treatment for a wound on his hand and is said to be in a stable condition.

Fusilier Beeston received medical treatment at the scene, said Major George Wilson, acting commanding officer of the battalion.

"The thoughts and prayers of the battalion are with Fusilier Beeston's family," he said.

"He was a well-liked and respected soldier, highly regarded by his peers."


The British Army says 10 arrests were made before soldiers withdrew to their base at al-Amarah.

Fusilier Beeston joined the Territorial Army in 2000 and was a member of the 52nd Lowland Regiment, attached to the 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers.

He was separated from his wife and had no children.

Fusilier Beeston's death brings to 50 the number of British personnel who have died in Iraq since the conflict began.

The commanding officer of Fusilier Beeston's regiment has expressed sorrow at his death.

27 Aug: Fusilier Russell Beeston killed after night raid in town of Ali al-Sharqi, about 120 miles north of Basra
23 Aug: Three Royal Military Police officers die in Basra city centre ambush
14 Aug: Captain David Jones killed in bomb attack on ambulance in Basra
24 June: Six Royal Military Police officers apparently killed by angry locals while searching for weapons in Majar al-Kabir, north of Basra

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Wilson said: "Personally, I'm very saddened. I knew Russell reasonably well, and across the regiment it is a day of deep sadness.

"Our sympathies of course go out to his family.

"It's particularly poignant that we received the news of Russell's death as we were about to go to the funeral of Jason Smith, another territorial soldier from Scotland."

The funeral of Private Smith, 32, took place on Thursday in Hawick in the Scottish Borders. He died on 13 August from apparent heat exhaustion while serving in Iraq.

Captain David Jones, 29, was also buried on Thursday in South Elkington, Lincolnshire, after a funeral with full military honours. He was killed in a bomb attack in Basra on 14 August.

Last week, three Royal Military Police officers were killed when their civilian jeep was attacked by Iraqi fighters in Basra.

The latest death comes after a string of attacks on British soldiers this month, and two days of rioting in Basra over power and fuel shortages.

The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"Rebuilding Iraq is becoming an increasingly dangerous mission for British troops"

Sadness at soldier's Iraq death
28 Aug 03  |  Scotland


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