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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 23:43 GMT 00:43 UK
Soldier killed in Helmand named
Cpl Darren Bonner
Cpl Bonner was described as "larger than life"
A British soldier who was killed in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Cpl Darren Bonner, of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, died in an explosion in the Gereshk region of Helmand, the MoD said.

The 31-year-old, from Gorleston in Norfolk, was described by his company commander as a man who had "huge emotional intelligence".

A total of 57 British troops have died in the country since 2001.

Minister's tribute

Cpl Bonner was engaged and had been intending to buy a home in Great Yarmouth after his tour of duty in the conflict zone, according to the MoD.

It is tragic to see the life of a devout Christian taken in this fateful manner
Maj Dominic Biddick

A devout Christian, he had been in the Army for 14 years and previously served in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Iraq.

Friends said he had been reading the Bible the night before his death.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Corporal Bonner at this very difficult time.

"By all accounts, he was a determined and highly professional soldier who looked after those around him.

"His loss will only strengthen the resolve of our forces to continue their efforts to improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan."

'Life and soul'

His company commander, Maj Dominic Biddick, said he had been "a real father figure" to many of the younger soldiers in his company.

"It is tragic to see the life of a devout Christian taken in this fateful manner, to see fate being so cruel to a dedicated young man who was genuinely striving to make a difference."

Cpl Bonner was described by soldiers who had served with him as "the life and soul of the company".

Cpl Wayne Cole paid tribute to him as "a colourful character, larger than life and an even bigger friend".

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