Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 10:33 UK

UK serviceman dies in Afghanistan

A marine in a Viking in Afghanistan
The latest death brings the number of UK fatalities in Afghanistan to 219

An RAF serviceman has been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The gunner, from 34 Squadron RAF Regiment, died on Thursday while on a patrol near Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province.

Lt Col Nick Richardson, of Task Force Helmand, called it a "true loss". The man's next of kin have been informed.

The death means 219 British service personnel have died in Afghanistan since the conflict began in 2001.

The airman was taking part in a regular patrol to prevent insurgents launching an attack on Camp Bastion, which is the main UK base in Helmand.

Most recent UK fatalities

Total deaths 2011: 32

Updated: Dec 18 2011

The role of the regiment, based at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, is to protect the security of the airfield at the base to ensure that British aircraft can safely take off and land there.

Col Richardson said: "The death of this courageous Royal Air Force Regiment gunner is a true loss.

"He will be mourned by his friends, colleagues and all of us serving in Helmand Province.

"We know that whilst our loss is heartfelt, it is nothing compared to the sorrow of his family, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies."

The UK currently has about 9,000 military personnel in Afghanistan - the second largest deployment of any nation.

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