Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Saturday, 27 February 2010

UK soldier killed in Afghanistan offensive named

Sergeant Paul Fox
Sergeant Paul Fox was killed while taking part in Operation Moshtarak

A British soldier killed in a major offensive in southern Afghanistan has been named as Sergeant Paul Fox by the Ministry of Defence.

Sgt Fox, from St Ives, Cornwall, died after an explosion near a checkpoint in the Nad Ali district of Helmand.

The 34-year-old was part of 28 Engineer Regiment, attached to the Brigade Reconnaissance Force.

His death takes the number of British service personnel killed in the conflict to 266.

Paying tribute, Sgt Fox's family described him as a "legend".

'Proud soldier'

A statement said: "Paul was a legend not only to his loving wife, children and family but also to anyone who ever knew him. Paul was a proud soldier who will be deeply missed."

Sgt Fox, known as Foxy, was born in Manchester and joined the Army in 1994. He leaves behind a wife, Charlotte, daughter Ruby, and sons Archie and Jack.

Lt Col Matt Bazeley, Commanding Officer, 28 Engineer Regiment, said Sgt Fox was a "quite outstanding man".

His love and excitement for his family was clear and contagious
Captain Robin Bourne-Taylor
11 Brigade Reconnaissance Force

"A tremendous soldier, impressive leader, fine engineer, good friend, cracking senior non-commissioned officer but principally just a great man.

"His quick wit, committed sense of purpose, dedication and capacity was beyond doubt," he said.

Lt Col Harry Fullerton, Commanding Officer, Household Cavalry Regiment, said the soldier was a "consummate professional, somebody who inspired others and led from the front".

Captain Robin Bourne-Taylor, 2 Troop Commander, 11 Brigade Reconnaissance Force, said Sgt Fox's "love and excitement for his family was clear and contagious".

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said it was clear Sgt Fox was "a soldier of huge talent, and a man of great charisma".

"I know his leadership and skill will be missed. My deepest condolences are with his family and friends at this time," he said.

Sgt Fox was on a foot patrol against insurgents in an area about three kilometres south of checkpoint Shamal Storrei, to the west of Lashkar Gah, when he was caught by an explosion on Friday morning.

Operation Moshtarak involves up to 15,000 Nato troops aiming to clear the Taliban from parts of southern Helmand.

Some 4,000 British personnel have been involved in the offensive, alongside US and Afghan forces, with the aim of securing government control in the towns of Marjah and Nad Ali.

Earlier, the head of the Army, General Sir David Richards, said Britain will be "militarily engaged" in Afghanistan for a further five years.

On Thursday two servicemen, an airman and a soldier, were killed in Afghanistan. Neither of them was involved in Operation Moshtarak.

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