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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Gunner killed in Kandahar named
Senior Aircraftman Christopher Bridge
SAC Bridge was a popular member of his squadron
An RAF serviceman killed in an explosion in Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence as Senior Aircraftman Christopher Bridge.

The 20-year-old, from Sheffield, was serving with C flight, 51 Squadron RAF Regiment when he was killed in Kandahar province on Thursday.

The squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, was on patrol when one of its vehicles was caught in the blast.

SAC Bridge's mother said he was her "pride and joy" and would be missed.

He touched so many lives. He died courageously serving his country and Queen and we are all very proud of him
Nicolette Williams
SAC Bridge's mother

A civilian interpreter was also killed and two other servicemen injured in the blast during the patrol around Kandahar airfield, the main hub for international forces flying in and out of southern Afghanistan.

The casualties were taken by helicopter to a Nato hospital inside the base, where SAC Bridge was pronounced dead on arrival. The interpreter died of his injuries later.

SAC Bridge's mother, Nicolette Williams, described her son as her "pride and joy".

"Everybody is heartbroken who knew him. He touched so many lives. He died courageously serving his country and Queen and we are all very proud of him," she said.

Iraq service

SAC Bridge joined the RAF two years ago and served in southern Iraq last year at Basra International Airport.

He had been providing protection for Afghanistan's Kandahar airfield and for the local Afghan population since April this year.

He was a high calibre member of the Royal Air Force regiment and a generally good bloke
Flying Officer Matt Jupp

Commanding officer of 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, Sqn Ldr Tony Brown, said SAC Bridge was a "very competent gunner" who was "unassumingly professional and with a promising career ahead".

"Following operational service in Iraq, Chris had consolidated his position on the squadron as a capable and enthusiastic gunner whose likeable personality and witty sense of humour made him engaging to serve with," he added.

Commanding officer of C Flight, 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, Flying Officer Matt Jupp, said that although SAC Bridge had joined as a quiet man, he had grown into an "adventurous, charismatic and intelligent gunner".

He added: "He was a high calibre member of the Royal Air Force regiment and a generally good bloke. I will miss him."

Return home

Defence Secretary Des Browne said SAC Bridge had been held in high regard by his comrades and officers.

"His death is a tragic loss which is being felt by all who knew him," he added.

The RAF Regiment's 51 Squadron have been in Afghanistan since April and are due to return home in the next few weeks.

The latest death takes the total number of UK troops killed while on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 74.

Last week, three soldiers from The Royal Anglian Regiment were killed in Helmand province in a "friendly fire" incident.






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