Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 20:28 UK

Dead UK soldiers named by MoD

 L/Cpl David Dennis and Pte Robert Laws
Both men were killed while taking part in a major offensive

Two soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Saturday have been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Lance Corporal David Dennis, 29, of The Light Dragoons and Private Robert Laws, 18, from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, were killed on Saturday.

Both soldiers were killed while taking part in a major UK military offensive in Helmand Province.

Their comrades and commanding officers have have paid tribute to the men, who died in separate incidents.

On Sunday, a soldier from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards died in a blast near Gereshk in central Helmand. He has not yet been named.

Since 2001, a total of 174 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan.

L/Cpl David "Duke" Dennis was killed in an explosion while on foot.

He leaves behind his mother Adele and his twin brother Gareth, of Llanelli, his father Roger, step-mother Helen and step-brother Matthew, of Port Talbot, and his fiancée Lisa.

Duke was one of the most loved guys in the regiment
Corporal Tony Duncan

Comrades described him as a quietly spoken, popular soldier who was fiercely loyal to his friends and the Army.

His commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Gus Fair said: "Lance Corporal Dennis was one of a hugely talented generation of Light Dragoons.

"With tours of Afghanistan and Iraq behind him, he was experienced beyond his relatively junior years. Duke loved being in the regiment and the regiment celebrated this popular, genuine and heartfelt soldier."

Corporal Tony Duncan said he was a "man that every soldier should aspire to be".

"Duke was one of the most loved guys in the regiment, and a character that will never be replaced," he said.

"He had it all. He was quick thinking, hard working, strong, selfless, courageous and had a great sense of humour. Most of all he was well respected and loyal to all those around him. Our friend Duke will never be forgotten."

'Immensely proud'

Pte Laws, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said he was on the front line in Afghanistan within a year of finishing basic training, which was a "tremendous undertaking".

He was a warm and cheerful young man who mucked in when there was work to be done
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Banton

Pte Laws' family said in a statement: "The parents and close family are immensely proud of their popular and loving son. They would like to thank all their friends for their loving support at this very difficult time."

His father, Steven, told the BBC his son was a hero who did not die in vain.

Joining the army was "what he wanted to do," Mr Laws said.

"He knew what the consequences were," he added.

A popular member of his platoon, "Robbie" had quickly become known for his mischievous sense of humour and cheeky wit, the MoD said.

His commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Simon Banton said: "He was a warm and cheerful young man who mucked in when there was work to be done and quickly made friends.

"Robbie's falling has taken a good soldier from us; a man who was not afraid to move forward, endure hardship and he had the courage to fight the enemy alongside his brothers."

Private Daniel Eaglesfield, who trained with Pte Laws, said: "Robbie was like a brother to me and we always looked out for each other, we shared many stories and laughter together. I will never forget the smile he always had on his face.

"We used to talk a lot about our girlfriends back at home and how much we loved them. He was planning to take his girlfriend to Paris when the tour was over."

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