Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 15:08 UK

Dead UK army dog handler is named

Lance Corporal Kenneth Michael Rowe
L/Cpl Rowe's death means 112 UK personnel have died in Afghanistan.

The British Army dog handler killed in Afghanistan on Thursday has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

L/Cpl Kenneth Michael Rowe, 24, from Newcastle, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, had been due to leave the front line the day before he died.

He and his explosives sniffer dog Sasha died after coming under Taleban fire during a routine patrol in Helmand.

L/Cpl Rowe had asked not to leave on Wednesday - as he was worried about his base not having enough search cover.

The death brings the total number of British service personnel who have died in Afghanistan to 112.

Professionalism

L/Cpl Rowe's commanding officer, Major Stuart McDonald, said he had asked not to leave the base as planned because he was worried about the lack of search and explosives cover if he left.

"This unselfish action epitomised his professionalism and dedication to his job. I feel lucky to have known him and gutted to have said goodbye," said Maj McDonald.

L/Cpl Rowe was attached to the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

Maj Chris Ham, who leads the Military Working Dogs Support Unit, praised L/Cpl Rowe's bravery.

He said: "He died supporting his colleagues in a situation that required his customary composure and professionalism in handling his dog whilst facing a substantial threat from the enemy."

L/Cpl Rowe came under small arms fire from insurgents as he accompanied a patrol, to search for enemy arms and explosives in the Sangin area.

Five other soldiers from 2nd Battalion and one from 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment were injured in the incident, one seriously.

L/Cpl Rowe, who leaves behind his parents and two sisters, had joined the army in 2005 and sent to Afghanistan in 2008.

Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "My thoughts are with the family and friends of L/Cpl Kenneth Rowe at this difficult time.

"By all accounts, he was a rising star in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. "He was making a real difference in Afghanistan and he will be sorely missed by all his colleagues and by all those who knew him."





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