Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 12:22 UK

Dead soldier in Afghanistan named

L/Cpl Dane Elson (MoD handout pic)
L/Cpl Dane Elson had joined the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in 2004

A British soldier killed in Afghanistan on Sunday has been named as L/Cpl Dane Elson of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.

Zimbabwe-born L/Cpl Elson was killed in an explosion while on patrol near Gereshk, in Helmand province.

The Ministry of Defence said the 22-year-old had been an outstanding soldier with a very bright future.

UK forces in Afghanistan have been involved in a major offensive, codenamed Operation Panther's Claw, against Taliban strongholds.

He was the 174th UK service personnel killed in the country since the start of operations in 2001 to 174.

L/Cpl Elson was a team commander, who was providing fire support for an attack on an enemy-held compound in Babaji when he died.

L/Cpl Elson embodied outstanding fitness, calmness under pressure and an intense reliability
Capt Phil Durham
Platoon commander

As his group began to move off, a bomb exploded, killing him instantly.

His battalion was led by Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, who last week became the most senior British Army officer to be killed since the Falklands War.

Lt Col Thorneloe was repatriated on Monday, along with the body of Trooper Joshua Hammond, 18, of 2nd Royal Tank Regiment. They died in a blast near Lashkar Gah in Helmand last Wednesday.

Army colleagues said L/Cpl Elson had lived for his friends and was a keen rugby player.

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, he had joined the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in 2004, also serving in Iraq and Bosnia.

His platoon commander, Capt Phil Durham, said: "L/Cpl Elson was recently promoted because he embodied all the qualities of the most promising of junior leaders: outstanding fitness, calmness under pressure and an intense reliability."

His battalion second-in-command, Maj Andrew Speed, said: "It was so typical of L/Cpl Elson to have been providing cover and looking out for his mates when he died, he lived his life with a very selfless ethos which inspired others."

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: "The respect and warmth with which his friends, colleagues and commanders remember him speaks for itself. All of our thoughts are with his grieving family."



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