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Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 17:55 GMT
Iraq crash death soldier named
Guardsman Stephen Ferguson
Guardsman Ferguson was described as 'a proud Scots Guardsman'
A British soldier who died following a road accident in southern Iraq has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Guardsman Stephen Ferguson, 31, from Lanarkshire, of 1st Battalion The Scots Guards was injured in the accident in Basra province on 12 December.

He had been flown to the UK for treatment after the accident involving a Warrior Armoured Vehicle.

The soldier's death takes the number of UK troops killed in operations in Iraq since 2003 to 174.

Guardsman Ferguson was killed when the Warrior Armoured Vehicle he was driving slid into a canal while manoeuvring in the dark.

'Fiercely loyal'

He was freed from the vehicle by his fellow soldiers who gave first aid.

He was later flown back to the UK for medical treatment, but died from his injuries.

Guardsman Ferguson was the epitome of a Scots Guardsman, fiercely loyal, proud of his job, quick witted and always willing to go that extra mile
Lieutenant Tom Cowdry

Guardsman Ferguson used to quip "If you can fix them, then I can break them," to Army mechanics after they had repaired his vehicle.

His parents paid tribute to their "fantastic son...who was loved by all that knew him."

Lieutenant Colonel William Swinton, commanding officer 1st Battalion, Scots Guards described Guardsman Ferguson as a "fiercely loyal" soldier with a wry sense of humour.

"He made a success of everything he turned his hand to," he said.

Troop withdrawal

His platoon commander, Lieutenant Tom Cowdry, added: "He was truly a friend to all who knew him, and I am privileged to have known such a person, and been able to call him a friend.

"Guardsman Ferguson was the epitome of a Scots Guardsman, fiercely loyal, proud of his job, quick witted and always willing to go that extra mile."

Defence Secretary Des Browne offered his condolences to Guardsman Ferguson's family and friends.

He said: "It is clear that Guardsman Ferguson was a well-liked and very professional soldier who will be sorely missed by all who knew him."

His death comes just three days before British forces are due to hand over control of security in Basra province to the Iraqi authorities.

The 4,500 UK troops in Iraq will focus on the training of Iraqi security forces. Numbers will fall to 2,500 from next spring.

Last month, two military personnel died when their Puma helicopter crashed near Baghdad. An inquiry will investigate the incident.

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