Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan named

Cpl Stephen Thompson, L/Cpl Tom Keogh
Cpl Stephen Thompson and L/Cpl Tom Keogh

Two British soldiers killed in southern Afghanistan in separate incidents on Sunday have been named by the Ministry of Defence.

It said Cpl Stephen Thompson, 31, from 1st Battalion The Rifles died as a result of an explosion south of Sangin district centre, Helmand province.

L/Cpl Tom Keogh, 24, from 4th Battalion The Rifles was killed by a gunshot wound during a firefight in Sangin.

Six UK soldiers have been killed in Sangin area since 1 March.

Some 272 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has described the area as "one of the most dangerous places in Helmand, and one of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan".

Cpl Thompson, from Bovey Tracey, in Devon, leaves behind his parents, a brother, two sisters, and a son, Ewan.

Enthusiastic, professional and brave, he was a great influence on the section he was commanding, and on his new platoon
Lt Col Nick Kitson

"We are so very proud of our son Stephen and all that he achieved. He lived life to the full and died doing the job he loved," said his parents in a statement.

Both soldiers were killed while serving in 3rd Battalion The Rifles Battle Group.

Lt Col Nick Kitson, the battle group's commanding officer, described Cpl Thompson as "go-getting and committed, he embraced the challenge of operating in one of the most demanding environments, within this most demanding of operational theatres".

He said: "I couldn't have asked for a better non-commissioned officer to come out and take command of one of my sections.

"Enthusiastic, professional and brave, he was a great influence on the section he was commanding, and on his new platoon."

'Dedicated warrior'

Of L/Cpl Keogh, Col Kitson said: "It is typical of such a dedicated warrior that he fell whilst unhesitatingly fighting off an enemy attack with selfless commitment and determination."

Most recent UK fatalities

Total deaths 2011: 32

Updated: Dec 18 2011

Lt Col Rupert Jones, commanding officer of 4 Rifles, said: "He was quite simply one of the very best soldiers in the battalion and proves yet again the sad adage that it is the best that die young."

L/Cpl Keogh, from Paddington in London, leaves behind his parents and two younger brothers.

A family statement said: "He loved the army life and lived his life to the full. He brought laughter and happiness to our home and all who knew him.

"Our family has been left devastated by Tom's tragic death, but not a day will pass without us remembering the happiness and pride he gave us."

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