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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
MoD names soldier killed in clash
Alex Hawkins
Alex Hawkins was on a patrol when an explosion went off
A British soldier killed in southern Afghanistan has been named as Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins, 22, of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Two other soldiers were injured in Wednesday's attack, which took place as they returned to base after a routine patrol when an explosion struck.

L/Cpl Hawkins, from Norfolk, was flown to the ISAF medical facility at Camp Bastion, but did not survive.

The attack took place in the outskirts of Sangin in Helmand province.

The UK has 7,100 troops in Afghanistan, mainly concentrated in the southern province of Helmand.

'Deep sadness'

More than 60 military personnel have died since operations against the Taleban began in 2001.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said there was "deep sadness" over the death of L/Cpl Hawkins.

The injuries to the other personnel were described as "not life-threatening".

He was the light of our life and the world will be a duller place without him
L/Cpl Hawkins' family

An MoD spokesman said: "The Vector vehicle could not be removed so it was destroyed to avoid it falling into enemy hands. The convoy continued to its destination."

L/Cpl Hawkins' family issued a statement about their relative.

They said: "Alex died doing the job he loved. He dreamed of joining the Army and becoming a sniper. This he achieved within his first year and was the top student on his course.

"He was an excellent cadet and an excellent soldier, a kind, loving son, brother and boyfriend, always thinking of others before himself.

"He was the light of our life and the world will be a duller place without him."

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Carver, said: "L/Cpl Alex Hawkins was one of the most promising soldiers of his generation.

"He leaves behind some fond memories and a lasting legacy that we will all strive to live up to."

Defence Secretary Des Browne said L/Cpl Hawkins' death was a "dreadful loss".

"He died defending our country and helping to bring stability to Afghanistan. His contribution will be remembered with honour."

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