Page last updated at 18:07 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:07 UK

UK soldier killed in blast named

Guardsman Christopher King
Guardsman King was described as bright, cheerful and inquisitive

A UK soldier killed in an explosion in Afghanistan has been named as 20-year-old Guardsman Christopher King.

He served with 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, attached to 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and died on patrol in the Nad e Ali district of Helmand province.

Guardsman King was born in Birkenhead, Wirral on Merseyside, and described by his parents as a "tremendous son".

His death on Wednesday brings to 188 the total of UK deaths in Afghanistan since 2001 and is the 19th this month.

His "devastated" family said in a statement: "Chris was a tremendous son, he was proud to be a Guardsman and died serving his country doing a job he loved.

"We are very proud of the fact that Chris was prepared to do his duty, helping to secure a lasting peace and provide stability to the people of Afghanistan."

He took life on the chin and cracked on... it was an honour to know him and be his friend
Guardsman Chris Fletcher

Lt Col Charlie Antelme, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said he was a consummate professional who was undeterred by danger or hardship and brought great spirit and humour to every task.

Guardsman King was on foot, attempting to clear a vulnerable area for a vehicle patrol to pass when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated, killing him instantly.

He was single and lived in West Buckland, Devon.

Lt Col Toby Gray, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, speaks about Guardsman Christopher King who was killed in Afghanistan

Lt Col Toby Gray, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, described him as bright, cheerful, inquisitive and dedicated to being the best soldier he could be. He added that Guardsman King volunteered for Afghanistan as soon as he could.

Maj Henry Bettinson, his Company Commander, said he was robust, energetic, uncomplaining and reliable with a sense of fun.

Guardsman Ben Hellyn said he was the best friend anyone could wish for.

"Outside work, he had a passion for his gamekeeping and loved his hardcore rave music. I will sorely miss him and love him forever," he said.

And Guardsman Chris Fletcher said: "He took life on the chin and cracked on. Chris King was constant morale no matter how bad it got - it was an honour to know him and be his friend."

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