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Last Updated: Monday, 25 June 2007, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Dead soldier was 'true character'
Drummer Thomas Wright
Drummer Wright was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital
A soldier who was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan has been named as Drummer Thomas Wright.

The 21-year-old, from Ripley in Derbyshire, served with the 1st Battalion the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters.

Four other soldiers were injured in the incident on Friday in the Babaji area of Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand.

The soldier's commanding officer said he was a "true regimental character".

Road project

The explosion happened as the group travelled in an armoured Snatch Land Rover with a military team to survey the site for a new road project linking several villages in the Babaji area.

All five soldiers were airlifted to hospital and four are still receiving medical treatment.

He was a true regimental character who can never be replaced
Lt Col Richard Westley
Commanding officer

Drum Wright first joined his local infantry battalion with his school friends and went on to join The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in 2003.

He served in Kenya, Northern Ireland and Belize before deploying to Afghanistan.

He was a keen sportsman and recently reached the finals of the Regimental Inter-Company boxing competition.

He was also described as a "natural drummer" who had performed at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

'Exceptional soldier'

Lt Col Richard Westley, commanding officer of 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, said Drum Wright was known for his "razor sharp wit, numerous tattoos, quirky dress sense and practical jokes".

He added: "Never shy in coming forward, always in the thick of the action, either in the boxing ring or in the field, on parades or in the block, he was a true regimental character who can never be replaced."

Map of Helmand province, Afghanistan

Maj Max Wray, the officer commanding Drum Wright's company, described him as an "exceptional soldier" who inspired those around him.

"A strong team player who gave his all to those around him, Drummer Wright's infectious enthusiasm and brilliant sense of humour will be sorely missed. It was a privilege to know him."

Close friend L/Cpl Les Barker said he would be "sorely missed by all of his mates".

Defence Secretary Des Browne described the death as "tragic news".

"Losing such a talented and popular soldier is terrible, but Drummer Wright did not die in vain. Thanks to his endeavours we are winning against the Taleban and making progress in rebuilding Afghanistan."

Drum Wright's death takes the total number of UK troops killed while on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 61.

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