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Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 17:28 GMT
Soldier killed by grenade named
WO Michael Smith
WO Smith was described as one of his regiment's best soldiers
A British soldier killed in a grenade attack in Afghanistan has been named as Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael Smith.

The 39-year-old, from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, had almost 22 years of military service.

He died from his injuries at the UK base in Sangin, in the southern province of Helmand, on Thursday.

WO Smith, from Liverpool, was described as "an indomitable character and an institution" by his commanding officer Lt Col Neil Wilson.

Known to his fellow soldiers as Mick, WO Smith joined the Royal Artillery in 1987 and served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Kuwait, before being posted to Afghanistan in September 2006.

There he served as the team commander of an artillery and air support observation party.

He also enjoyed rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing and parachuting and was a skilled instructor in all those pursuits, the MoD said.

'Enormous blow'

Lt Col Wilson said WO Smith was "an indomitable character and an institution both within his battery and the wider regiment".

"He defined the levels of professionalism and commando ethos that we demand of all our soldiers, and his loss is an enormous blow to every one of us."

Military death toll in Afghanistan
8 March WO Michael Smith killed in grenade attack
6 March Marine Benjamin Reddy killed by enemy fire
3 March Lance Bombardiers Ross Clark and Liam McLaughlin killed in rocket attack

The Ministry of Defence described WO Smith as "undoubtedly one of the most professional soldiers 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery has ever seen".

And Defence Secretary Des Browne said his service to his country had been "outstanding".

"I am greatly humbled by the dedication and professionalism that WO Michael Smith showed in the service of others and I was deeply saddened to hear of his death," Mr Browne said.

WO Smith died in a hospital in Camp Bastion and was the fourth British serviceman to lose his life in Afghanistan in less than a week.

He was said to have been devoted to his mother and his family told the MoD they were drawing their strength from him at this time.

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