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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 17:17 GMT
MoD names soldier killed in Iraq
Private Michael Tench. (MoD picture)
Private Michael Tench was described as "always happy"
A British soldier killed in southern Iraq after his Warrior patrol vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb has been named as Private Michael Tench.

The Ministry of Defence said the 18-year-old served with A Company, 2nd Battalion The Light Infantry.

Private Tench, from Sunderland, was described by the MoD as a "young man with so much promise".

Four soldiers were injured in Sunday's attack on the routine patrol in Basra. One remains in a "serious condition".

Private Tench was part of a Warrior patrol that had set out from the Shaat Al Arab Hotel, a British Army base in the north of the city, when the attack happened near the districts of Al Hadi and Al Jezaizah.

He was tough, resilient, liked a laugh, cheeky, but above all a professional
Company Commander Major Andrew Ward

About 7,000 UK troops are in Basra. The government says it hopes to transfer security to Iraqi forces this year.

Private Tench's colleagues and senior officers have paid tribute to the teenager, describing him as "always happy" and a competent soldier who "liked a laugh".

Company Commander Major Andrew Ward said: "He had the exemplary character that we have come to expect from the British infantryman - he was tough, resilient, liked a laugh, cheeky, but above all a professional.

"What struck me most about Michael was that he was 'up for it' and there was no job too tough."

He added: "It is a tragedy that we have lost a young man with so much promise."

'Popular'

Private Craig Swan, also of A Company, said Private Tench would be missed.

"He was always happy and enjoyed having a laugh with his mates - he was a bit of a joker," he added.

"He often spoke about his family and how he was happy that he had joined the Army and made something of himself."

Private Tench was born in March 1988 and went to school at Hylton Redhouse Comprehensive School in Sunderland.

In his spare time he was a keen and talented boxer and regularly trained at Marley Potts Gym in Sunderland.

He joined the Army in the spring of 2005, completing his training at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick.

He left for Iraq with A Company on 4 September last year.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said his thoughts were with Private Tench's family.

He added: "I understand from those who knew him that he was an outstanding and popular soldier."

A total of 130 British troops have died in Iraq since March 2003, of whom 99 are classed as having been killed in action.




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The aftermath of the roadside attack



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