Page last updated at 00:43 GMT, Sunday, 24 January 2010

UK soldier killed in Afghan blast named by MoD

Rifleman Peter Aldridge
Rifleman Aldridge was killed on his first tour of duty

A British soldier killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan on his first tour of duty has been named.

Rifleman Peter Aldridge, 19, of A Company 4 Rifles, died on Friday while on foot patrol with 3 Rifles Battle Group near Sangin in Helmand province.

Colleagues said the teenager's last words to the medic treating him were to "tell his mother that he loved her".

Rifleman Aldridge's parents, from Folkestone, Kent, spoke of their pride for their son, saying he "died a hero".

In a statement released through the MoD, his family said: "Our son died a hero, he lost his life doing what he believed in.

Family's pride

"Peter said, 'If I'm going to die, I want to die a soldier.'"

His death brings the number of UK service personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 250.

He was a rifleman of the highest quality and a true individual - a man in which our whole regiment can take great pride
Lt Col Nick Kitson
3 Rifles Battle Group

The soldiers had been providing security for the local population in Sangin when the blast happened, the MoD said.

The family statement continued: "He was determined to get his first tour of duty under his belt.

"He believed in the Army and was proud of his job and we are so proud of you Peter.

"We love you, sweet pea."

Rifleman Aldridge "made his mark from the outset", his comrades said.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Rupert Jones, said he was a "natural leader" in his platoon.

'Selfless determination'

"The less experienced riflemen respected and looked up to him as a role model," he said.

"He was genuinely dedicated to being a rifleman and took great pride from it."

Lt Col Nick Kitson, the commanding officer of 3 Rifles Battle Group, said: "So cruelly taken in his prime, having proven himself time and time again in the toughest of fights out here, he leaves us just as his promising military career was really getting under way.

"Rifleman Aldridge's commitment and selfless determination has been exemplary throughout and stands as a shining testament to his memory, which we now honour.

"He was a rifleman of the highest quality and a true individual - a man in which our whole regiment can take great pride."



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