Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 16:18 UK

UK soldier killed in crash named

Capt Ben Babington-Browne
Capt Ben Babington-Browne died alongside two Canadian troops

A UK soldier killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence as Capt Ben Babington-Browne.

The 27-year-old from Maidstone, in Kent, was a member of 22 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers.

Two Canadian soldiers also died in the same incident in Zabul province.

A spokesman for Nato said a safety investigation had determined that the crash on Monday "did not occur as a result of enemy fire".

Capt Babington-Browne was the 175th member of the British military to die in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.

Since then another soldier has died - a serviceman from the Light Dragoons who was killed on Tuesday. Their deaths bring the toll to seven in a week.

The Canadians who died in the crash with Capt Babington-Browne were named as Master Cpl Pat Audet and Cpl Martin Joannette.

The three men had been on board a Canadian army Griffon helicopter when it crashed shortly after taking off from a US forward operating base about 80km (50 miles) north-east of the city of Kandahar.

Three other Canadians, including the two pilots, were hurt, one seriously.

Griffons are used primarily as transport and escort helicopters.

'Shining light'

Capt Babington-Browne's mother Nina said in a statement that his family was "immensely proud of all his considerable achievements".

Capt Ben Babington-Browne
Capt Babington-Browne was described as an "outstanding officer"

"Ben is a much loved son, brother and nephew who had a huge personality and will be so missed by his family and friends who are all heartbroken by his untimely death," she said.

"One of the brightest stars in the firmament has been lost in the line of a duty which was second only to his love for his family and friends."

Capt Babington-Browne was based at the southern headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).

He was visiting forward operating base Mescall as part of team carrying out an engineering survey.

Lt Col Andrew Noble, commanding officer of the Royal Engineers, said he was "an outstanding officer" with "an extremely bright future".

"It is hard to accept that such a shining light has gone from this world," he said.

"I have rarely met a man who was so widely liked and respected in a regiment. On meeting him when I joined 22 Engineer Regiment, Ben immediately impressed me as a man of genuine purpose and penetrating intellect.

He was a highly respected officer who proved himself to be a gifted leader
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth

"His humility and selflessness was palpable. He carried his rank lightly and the British Army officers' creed of 'Serve to Lead' could have been written for him."

Capt Babington-Browne joined the Engineer Regiment in 2007 and had previously served in Iraq.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of his death.

"He was a highly respected officer who, through his service in both Afghanistan and Iraq, proved himself to be a gifted leader," Mr Ainsworth said.

"Captain Babington-Browne is sorely missed by all his colleagues, but the biggest loss will of course be felt by his family and my thoughts are with them at this time."

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