Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 19:39 UK

MoD names soldier shot on patrol

Pte Gavin Elliott
Pte Elliott died on the way to hospital after being shot

A British soldier who died after being shot while on foot patrol in southern Afghanistan on Thursday has been named.

Pte Gavin Elliott, 19, of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, operating with The Light Dragoons Battle Group, was shot in Babaji district, Helmand.

Earlier, a soldier killed in an explosion in Helmand province on Wednesday was named by the Ministry of Defence as L/Cpl Richard Brandon, 24.

A total of 212 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

A statement on the MoD website said Pte Elliott had been in "his familiar position as point man" on the patrol when he was shot and fatally wounded. He died on the way to hospital.

Pte Elliott, from Woodsetts in South Yorkshire, had an older sister, Rebecca, and younger brother, Joshua.

A family statement said: "For all those who knew Gavin, there will be a void that will never be filled.

"In our eyes, Gavin was a hero and the best son and soldier we could have ever wished for."

He never shied from danger and in the fiercest of battles you took comfort from knowing he was with you
Lt Col Simon Banton

Lt Col Simon Banton said: "The austere conditions in which soldiers in Helmand live and work are enough to test the resolve of any man; to endure these conditions with the zest for life and good humour for which Gavin was known are testament to a great man and a great soldier."

The commanding officer of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment continued: "He never shied from danger and in the fiercest of battles you took comfort from knowing he was with you, side-by-side, and sharing the danger."

Lt Col Gus Fair, commanding officer of The Light Dragoons Battle Group, said it was "less for the loss of this remarkable young soldier and his memory will never be forgotten".

Capt Johnny Paulin called Pte Elliott "without exception, the most professional private soldier that I have had the privilege to command in my six years of army service".

He added: "His enthusiasm proved infectious throughout the deployment.

"He was loved by all his comrades and his sense of humour and positive attitude made him a pleasure to work alongside."

'Wonderful father'

L/Cpl Richard Brandon, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, had also been operating with the Light Dragoons Battle Group when he was killed.

Lance Corporal Richard Brandon
Lance Corporal Richard Brandon joined the Army in 2001

As driver of an armoured recovery vehicle in the A Squadron Fitter Section of The Light Dragoons, he was carrying out an "essential re-supply task" when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. He died instantly.

L/Cpl Brandon, of Kidderminster, Worcestershire, leaves behind his parents, Anna and Geoff, fiancee Emma-Jayne Webster, daughter Kaitlin and step-sons Liam and Martyn.

In tribute, Ms Webster said he had been "one in a million".

"Richie was a wonderful fiance and father/step-father to Martyn, Liam and our daughter Kaitlin. We couldn't have asked for more.

"He will be very sadly missed by all that knew him. He loved his job. I feel privileged to have spent four-and-a half-years of my life with him. He was one in a million."

Lt Col Fair said through a tough and demanding period of fighting, L/Cpl Brandon had "worked relentlessly to keep the troop's vehicles fully operational and battle worthy".

"His tragic and untimely death will have a profound effect on all who had the privilege to know and work alongside him," he said.

He was a quality vehicle mechanic who would just work and work until the job was done

Cpl Rob Lord

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time and we share deeply in their grief."

Cpl Rob Lord, a close friend, from the Light Dragoons' Light Aid Detachment, said: "First and foremost he was a devoted family man and everything he did was to make a better life for his family.

"Every penny he earned was spent on his new family home and he was excited by every bit of work he did on it.

"Richie was a quiet and reserved character but would always be there to help if anyone needed it.

"He was a quality vehicle mechanic who would just work and work until the job was done."

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