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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 19:43 GMT
First female soldier dies in Iraq
British troops patrolling in Basra
Around 8,000 British troops are based in southern Iraq
The first British female soldier to die during military operations in Iraq has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Staff Sgt Denise Rose, 34, of the Royal Military Police's Special Investigation Branch, was found dead from a gunshot at a Basra military camp on Sunday.

An investigation was under way, but it was not believed to be the result of any hostile action, said the MoD.

Her death - days after a Black Watch soldier died - takes the number of UK service personnel to die in Iraq to 70.

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, 31 male British soldiers have died in action - seven in so-called friendly fire incidents - 31 in accidents, two in explosives accidents and five from natural causes or illness.

Corporal Marc Taylor

The body of Staff Sgt Rose, of Liverpool, was found at the Army base in the Shatt-al-Arab Hotel in the southern Iraqi city.

Lt Col Robert Silk, commanding officer of her parent unit, the SIB (Germany), based at Rheindahlen, said: "Denise had a multitude of friends, being universally popular, intelligent and ever cheerful.

"She was doing so well in the Army, and had a bright future in front of her."

The death was "a terrible shock for all her many comrades in the unit" and a tragic loss, Col Silk added.

Staff Sgt Rose joined the Royal Military Police in 1989 and trained as an Special Investigation Branch (SIB) investigator in 1995, conducting investigations into serious incidents within the military in the UK and Cyprus, said the MoD.

The statement added: "She deployed as a volunteer to Iraq on 27 September operating as part of a small team of specialist investigators to provide security for the people of Iraq and assist in the rebuilding of the country through the provision of a well-trained police force."


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