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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
'Inspirational' soldier praised
Daryl Hickey (pic: Army)
Daryl Hickey was described as "fun to be with"
Senior army officers have paid tribute to a British soldier who died from gunshot wounds in Afghanistan.

Daryl Hickey, 27, who was serving with 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards, was described as courageous and determined and "an inspiration to us all".

Guardsman Hickey, from Birmingham, was shot on Thursday near Gereshk, in Helmand province. He was airlifted to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Two other soldiers were injured in another part of the same operation.

'Highest regard'

Guardsman Hickey joined the Army in 2001 and spent time in Northern Ireland and Iraq, before being posted to Afghanistan in April this year.

We knew each other well enough that he could joke with me whenever we met
Col Hatherley

His commanding officer, Lt Col Carew Hatherley, said: "Guardsman Hickey was a quiet and thoughtful character who was fun to be with, both on and off duty.

"Immensely proud to be a Grenadier, whether in tunic and bearskin or combats, he was held in the highest regard by all who served alongside him.

"We knew each other well enough that he could joke with me whenever we met - it was invariably at my expense."

'Sorely missed'

Col Hatherley said Guardsman Hickey had given his life "in selfless service to his country".

"He had been fighting the Taleban on an operation that had at times been nothing short of ferocious, shoulder to shoulder with the others in his platoon, and in whose company he also died.

"His courage and determination is an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten."

Maj Mick Blake, of Somme Company, described his as a "credit to his battalion".

Guardsman Hickey had been serving as part of the 1st Battalion Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment Battlegroup, which is working alongside Afghan National Security Forces to improve security in the Helmand River valley.

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