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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Father's tribute to red beret son
Ben Hyde
Lance Corporal Hyde had always wanted a red beret
The father of a military policeman shot dead in southern Iraq has paid tribute to his son.

Lance Corporal Benjamin Hyde, 23, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, was one of six British soldiers gunned down in the town of Al Majar al-Kabir on Tuesday.

They were members of the 156 Provost Company, part of the 16th Air Assault Brigade, based in Colchester.

John Hyde, a taxi driver, said: "The red beret was all he ever wanted. It was his life, so he gave his life doing the job he loved most."

Radio operator

Ben Hyde joined the Army in June 2001 and was posted to 156 Provost Company in March 2002, where he served with the Parachute Provost Platoon.

A qualified radio operator, he was on his first operational tour, the Ministry of Defence said.

Mr Hyde added: "All he ever wanted to become was a military policeman and he worked very hard to become one.

"He was very career-minded with bags of potential and had been recommended for promotion early."

The bodies of the soldiers were found at a police station - where they had been training local officers - in a village near Amara about 100 miles north of Basra.

The Iraqis had been protesting about weapons searches before embarking on a two-hour gun battle.

The deaths mark the heaviest losses suffered in a single day by US-led coalition forces since the war in Iraq began.

An investigation is under way to discover why the six men were killed while travelling local police officers.

Shock over soldiers' deaths
25 Jun 03  |  Essex

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