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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007, 18:38 GMT
Iraq death crash sergeant named
Sergeant Wayne Rees, pic from MoD
Sgt Rees had been in the Army for 18 years
A British soldier killed in a road accident in Iraq has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Sergeant Wayne Rees, 36, of the Queen's Royal Lancers, was killed in the accident involving a tracked reconnaissance vehicle on Sunday.

Two other soldiers sustained minor injuries in the road crash in the Maysan Province, in southern Iraq.

Sgt Rees, a father-of-two from Worksop, was described by colleagues as a kind, loving and respected friend.

His death brings the total number of UK troops killed during operations in Iraq to 128.

Major Charlie Burbridge, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Southern Iraq, said the crash happened during a patrol.

To be friends with him was to feel like you were part of his family
Sergeant Adam Westwood

"The vehicle left the road, we're not sure why, but having left the road it crashed," he said.

The crash is said to have happened in the early hours, shortly after dawn, in a rural area where conditions were cold and in places muddy.

Sgt Rees was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Maj Burbridge.

The other two members of the three-man crew - the driver and a soldier in the turret - have been treated at a field hospital in Basra for minor injuries.

'Loveable rogue'

Colleagues paid tribute to Sgt Rees, known to friends as Mave, who leaves behind his fiancee, Jayne, and two children, aged 11 and seven.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Nixon-Eckersall, said serving with the soldier was a privilege.

"A consummate professional; he led his men with flair and took great pride in ensuring that they wanted for nothing," he said.

"He was a great character and embodied the essence of what it is to be a reconnaissance soldier; no matter what the challenge he could be counted on to find a solution."

He added: "He is a great loss to The Queen's Royal Lancers. We are privileged to have served with him and will always remember a bright, energetic and talented man, with a mischievous sense of humour.

'Inspired'

Sergeant Adam Westwood, who knew Sgt Rees throughout his 16-year Army career, said: "To be friends with him was to feel like you were part of his family."

Regimental Sergeant Major, Ian Savage, described him as being kind, caring and considerate to everyone, from the highest to the lowest rank.

"He was simply a great friend, a great bloke and a loveable rogue."

Squadron leader, Major Martin Todd said "We will continue in our task saddened without him, but inspired by his example and remembering always a staunch comrade-in-arms and the very best of friends."

Defence Secretary Des Browne said his thoughts were with Sgt Rees' family.

'Strategy unchanged'

The Queen's Royal Lancers are two months into a six-month tour of Iraq.

Of the British soldiers killed in Iraq, 96 died in action.

The remainder of the deaths were caused by accidents, natural causes or illness, remain unexplained, or are still under investigation.

In December, Mr Browne told MPs British forces will not "cut and run" from Iraq by following a "prescriptive timetable" for withdrawal.

Mr Browne said the security strategy was "clear and hasn't changed".




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