Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 14:43 UK

Army colleagues dead hours apart

Captain David Hicks
Capt Hicks also served in Bosnia and Iraq

A British soldier died a day after paying tribute to one of his men, also killed in Afghanistan.

Captain David Hicks and Private Tony Rawson were colleagues in the C (Essex) Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Pte Rawson was shot on 10 August shortly before 0600 hours local time and Capt Hicks was fatally wounded in an attack at 1320 the following day.

Capt Hicks had said Pte Rawson's loss would "be deeply felt by all".

Capt Hicks, 26, died after being injured at the base north-east of Sangin in Helmand province on Saturday.

He was flown by helicopter for treatment, but later died. Five others were also injured in the incident.

Capt Hicks, from Wokingham, Berkshire, was described as an "outstanding officer" who always led from the front.

'Concern for men'

His commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver, said he was an "outstanding officer" who would be "sorely missed by all members of the battalion".

During the attack on the base, Capt Hicks had "led from the forward position" in order to direct the battle and "provide an inspiring example to his men", he said

He added: "Even after being mortally wounded his only concern was to get back into position to control the fight.

"Highly professional with a genuine concern for his soldiers, he typified the highest standards of leadership and commanded genuine respect from all who served with him."

Capt Hicks was commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in 2002.

After tours in Bosnia and Iraq, he went to Helmand province in March this year where he had been involved in a number of clashes.

Skiing fan

At the time of his death, he was acting as company commander and had led a number of fighting patrols into Taleban territory.

Capt Hicks, who was a keen skier, had been with his girlfriend Nicola since late 2006. He was planning to buy a house with her in Surrey when he returned from Afghanistan.

He was an infantry officer of the highest order, totally dedicated to his work and determined to give 100% in everything he did
Major Phil Messenger

Major Phil Messenger, of C (Essex) Company, described Capt Hicks as "the most professional and dedicated fellow infantry officer" he had ever worked with.

"He was an infantry officer of the highest order, totally dedicated to his work and determined to give 100% in everything he did," he added.

Capt Hicks' death brings the total number of UK troops killed while on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 70.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said his death had been "tragic".

He added: "The loss of such a dedicated and talented officer is truly sad and I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family.

"My thoughts are also with the men of the Royal Anglians who Capt Hicks led so courageously in battle."

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