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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Killed Afghanistan soldier named
Sgt Dave Wilkinson
Sgt Dave Wilkinson "excelled as a soldier"
A British soldier killed in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Sgt Dave Wilkinson, 33, of the 19 Regiment Royal Artillery, died when his vehicle was blown up after an exchange of fire on Sunday.

Sgt Wilkinson, from Ashford, Kent, was serving with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards at the time.

Four other soldiers were injured after a patrol left base in the town of Gareshk in Helmand province.

The patrol was engaged by small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.

'Extremely popular'

Sgt Wilkinson, known as "Pidge", joined the army in 1993 and served in Gibraltar, Turkey, Norway, the Balkans and Iraq.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Will Bramble, said: "Sergeant Wilkinson excelled as a soldier.

"Clearly passionate about his trade, he contributed widely to the regiment and was held in the highest regard by all those who knew him. His selfless nature and wry wit made him extremely popular."

Defence Secretary Des Browne said Sgt Wilkinson was a "particularly experienced and professional soldier".

Taleban clashes

Sgt Wilkinson, who was married, was the second British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in two days.

Capt Sean Dolan
Capt Sean Dolan was "an unsurpassed military talent"

The other was named by the MoD as Capt Sean Dolan, 40, of the 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, who was killed on Saturday in Helmand province.

He died after clashes between coalition forces and the Taleban near the village of Qaleh-e-Gaz.

Capt Dolan, originally from the West Midlands and nicknamed Dollar, was based in Chester with his wife Mitch and son Ashley.

'Consummate professional'

He joined the army in 1985 and served on multiple tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, the US, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Belize. He was on his second tour of Afghanistan.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Richard Westley, said: "He was the complete man and an unsurpassed military talent.

"Strong, intelligent and immensely fit, he was the consummate professional and had a work ethic that served as a model for everyone who was privileged enough to serve with him."

Mr Browne said Capt Dolan's dedication and commitment were "second to none".

The latest death brings the number of British military fatalities in Afghanistan to 63 since operations began in 2001.

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