Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 13:02 UK

Killed British serviceman named

Royal Marine Dale Gostick
The marine was known by friends as "master chief general of the universe"

A British serviceman killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence as Royal Marine Dale Gostick.

The 22-year-old Viking armoured-vehicle operator, from Oxford, was part of 3 Troop Armoured Support Company.

He was killed at the Sangin crossing of the Helmand River, in southern Helmand province, on Sunday, the MoD said.

His death brought the number of UK troops who have died in operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 97.

In tribute, Marine Gostick's family said he was "much loved and respected by his family and all who knew him".

"Dale had a huge character, making time for all who needed him. His passing has left an irreplaceable hole in so many people's lives," they said in a statement.

He was everything you would expect a marine to be
Major Jez Stemp

The marine's troop was returning from operations when the vehicle he was driving hit a suspected mine. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two others injured in the blast are still being treated.

His commanding officer, Major Jez Stemp, said Marine Gostick - who was jokingly known to friends as "master chief general of the universe" - was "a courageous and gentle man who would not flinch at a challenge or a dangerous task".

He continued: "He was... extremely popular with his peers, and despite only a short time within the corps, an already extremely experienced marine with huge operational experience.

"A physically strong man with a great sense of humour, he was everything you would expect a marine to be."

Marine Gostick had been in Afghanistan since December, on his second operational tour there.

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