Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 21:04 UK

Soldier killed in explosion named

Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett MC
Sgt Lockett received his MC from the Queen in June 2008

A British soldier killed in a blast while on patrol in southern Afghanistan has been named by the MoD as Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett MC.

He was awarded the Military Cross for bravery in 2007.

The 29-year-old, from Monifieth, Angus, was near the Sandford base in Helmand province investigating a roadside bomb when it went off on 21 September.

From 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, his death brings the number of UK troops killed since 2001 to 217.

Two other soldiers were injured in the incident on Monday. Next of kin have been told.

Rescue under fire

In 2007, He displayed "selfless commitment and unshakable bravery" leading his platoon in A (Grenadier) Company to rescue wounded soldiers trapped in a Taleban ambush, the Ministry of Defence said.

For three hours he operated calmly and with incredible composure in a killing area which was subjected to the most concentrated enemy fire experienced in many months.

A year later, he spoke of the experience, saying: "There were so many emotions. It was horrible. But you have to show the lads you are in control, they're looking to you for inspiration.

"You've got guys out there and you're not leaving them."

'Most impressive'

Sgt Lockett's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Banton, said: "The Mercian Regiment has lost one of its brightest and its best, and a true hero.

"Sergeant Lockett MC was one of the most impressive soldiers I have ever met."

Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett MC
Sgt Lockett was on a third tour in Afghanistan

He had served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland and was was nearing the end of his third tour of Afghanistan when he was killed.

He spent the majority of his army career as a machine gunner, but held many other qualifications including jungle warfare and military tracking instructor.

As part of the operational mentoring and liaison team battlegroup in Afghanistan, he was working alongside the warriors of the Afghan National Army in the upper Gereshk valley.

"His professionalism set the finest example to the Afghan Warriors. He was an inspirational leader," the MoD said.

"Locky, as he was known to his friends, will always be remembered for his infectious laugh and prominence as a man.

We can only take solace in the fact that he died doing a job he was born to do with his 'boys'
Mal and April Lockett

"His leadership style was the exact mix of compassion and steel which garnered the respect of both those he led and those he served. He was nearing the end of his tour when he died.

"He volunteered to stay on at his patrol base to ensure that the incoming soldiers knew as much as they could about the local area and they could reap the benefits of his vast local knowledge.

Sgt Lockett leaves a girlfriend and three children.

His parents, Mal and April Lockett, said: "We are immensely proud of Mike - he was everything that we could ever have wanted in a son and a devoted father.

"Words simply cannot express what he meant to his close and wider family and his many friends.

"We can only take solace in the fact that he died doing a job he was born to do with his 'boys' in 2 Mercian Regiment.

"He would want us all to celebrate his life by remembering the many good times, with a cold beer, broad smile and looking forward to the future."

Selfless act

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth MP, said he was "saddened" to learn of Sgt Lockett's death so close to the end of his tour.

"His gallantry is not only demonstrated by the fact he held the Military Cross for previous brave actions, but also by the manner in which he died, investigating the find of an improvised explosive device in an effort to save the lives of others."

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