Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Saturday, 13 September 2008 17:53 UK

Afghan battle Para a 'role model'

Private Jason Lee Rawstron
Pte Rawstron was the 119th British soldier to die on operations since 2001

A British soldier shot dead in a firefight with the Taleban in Afghanistan has been named.

Private Jason Lee Rawstron, from the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, died when his patrol encountered Taleban forces in Helmand on Friday.

Pte Rawstron, 23, of Clayton-Le-Moors, Lancashire, was remembered by colleagues as a "role model" for others, with a "heart of gold".

The number of soldiers killed on operations there since 2001 is 119.

His death came two days after that of bomb disposal expert and father-of-four, Warrant Officer Class 2 Gary O'Donnell, of the Royal Logistic Corps.

He had earned a George Medal for bravery in Iraq in 2006 and was widely praised by colleagues for his heroism.

I trusted Sus (Jason) with everything and knew that if I needed him he would be there
Colleague Pte Sam Hall

Pte Rawstron leaves his parents, brother Graham, and girlfriend Michaela, to whom he was said to be devoted.

He joined the army in October 2005 and quickly stood out as a soldier of note, the Ministry of Defence said.

After qualifying as a Infantry Assault Engineer in 2007 he was attached to 7 Platoon and sent to Afghanistan.

Friends said they remembered Pte Rawstron as a quiet man to whom others looked up. He also had a mischievous side which earned him a nickname of "Suspect" - often shortened to "Sus".

'Role model'

His platoon commander Lieutenant Murray McMahon said: "He was without a doubt the most loyal and enthusiastic soldier I have ever known.

"Jason's determination was unquestionable. His strength of character was shown throughout the tour as he guided fellow comrades through difficult situations with considerable courage.

"Jason was all that a paratrooper could be and is a role model for those who will follow."

Friend and colleague Pte Simon Brough, said: "Suspect was a character. He would put 110% into everything and always put others before himself.

"The keenest lad I have ever met and a heart of gold."

Another colleague, Pte Sam Hall, added: "I trusted Sus with everything and knew that if I needed him he would be there. He was a great character within the platoon and the company, he will never be forgotten by anyone."

Most of Britain's 8,000 troops in Afghanistan are based in Helmand province.



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