Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 19:58 UK

Soldiers killed in Helmand named

Sergeant Stuart Millar and Private Kevin Elliott
Sgt Miller (left) and Pte Elliott were on foot patrol when they were attacked

Two British soldiers killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on Monday have been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Sgt Stuart Millar, 40, from Inverness, and Pte Kevin Elliott, 24, from Dundee, died in a blast in Helmand province during an attack by insurgents.

Both men served with the The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The deaths brings the number of UK personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 is now 210.

The MoD said the deaths , thought to have been caused by a rocket-propelled grenade, happened when the men were attacked in the Babaji district of Helmand.

Paying tribute, Sgt Millar's family said: "[Stuart] was very brave and is a credit to both our family and the Army. We are really proud of him as a father, son, brother and soldier."

He [Sgt Millar] was... famously caught on the ITN news on the first day of Op Panther's Claw, complaining a long fire fight with insurgents had delayed his 'morning brew'
Lt Col Stephen Cartwright

Pte Elliott's family said: "Kevin was a loving son, brother, grandson, brother, nephew, uncle and cousin who will be sorely missed by the whole family."

Sgt Stuart "Gus" Millar joined the British Army in November 2000, after service in the Territorial Army.

Following training he joined the mortar platoon of 1st Battalion The Royal Highland Fusiliers and served in Northern Ireland, Falkland Islands, Cyprus and Iraq.

He moved to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) as a mortar fire controller in Belfast in July 2007 and was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2009.

Integrity, humour

Lt Col Stephen Cartwright, commanding officer of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland said he had know Sgt Millar for a number of years.

"He was one of a very select few characters in the battalion that I could sound out for 'ground truth', due to his friendship, honesty, integrity and humour," he said.

It was no surprise to hear that in this tragic incident, he was the first man on the roof in the defensive position
Lt Col Stephen Cartwright

"In his role as a mortar fire controller, he was at the very front of the action throughout the summer, famously being caught on the ITN news on the first day of Op Panther's Claw, complaining that a long fire fight with the insurgents had delayed his 'morning brew'.

"It was typical of the man: in the thick of the action, professional expertise to the fore, combined with his wonderfully positive and humorous style.

"But he had a bite when required, and the Jocks knew not to cross the line."

In tribute to Pte Elliott, who joined the Army in 2002, Lt Col Cartwright said: "He was on the verge of leaving the Army earlier this year, but his inclination to be in the thick of the action was too tempting and he caught the last transport to Afghanistan with his mates. He loved operations and he was a big team player.

"It was no surprise to hear that in this tragic incident, he was the first man on the roof in the defensive position, the first to volunteer to protect his colleagues in a dangerous area.

"That sums up the man; he took life seriously when it was important to do so, and he was a first class field soldier as a result. He would never let his friends down."

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth said: "The loss of both of these fine soldiers is a grave loss to the Army and my thoughts are with their families and loved ones at this difficult time."

A Royal Marine who died in Gereshk in Helmand province on 29 August has not been named by the MoD, following a request from the man's family.



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