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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 20:54 GMT
Tributes to Iraq death soldier
Lance Corporal Andrew Craw
Lance Corporal Andrew Craw: "Sorely missed"
Tribute has been paid to a Scottish soldier who died after a "tragic incident" on a training range in Iraq.

Lance Corporal Andrew Craw, 21, of the 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, died near Basra on Wednesday.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Gray, said he was "a bright and promising soldier".

An investigation has been launched into the death of the 21-year-old, who was single and came from Tullibody, Alloa.

Lance Corporal Craw, who joined the army in 1999, had only recently arrived in Iraq following promotion.

He had previously served in Northern Ireland and had been stationed with his regiment in Canterbury, Kent.

Lieutenant Colonel Gray said: "This is a tragic incident, in the first few days of the Battalion's six-month operational tour in Iraq.

"Andy was a bright and promising soldier who will be sorely missed by all in the regiment.

A popular soldier, Andy was an extremely fit and capable sportsman
MoD spokesman
"At present, our thoughts are with his family, who have asked for privacy at this very difficult and distressing time."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said Lance Corporal Craw was "an outstanding soldier" who demonstrated "exceptional talent" from the outset.

"Having shown early potential on joining the battalion, he was selected for leadership training and promoted to lance corporal in the summer of 2003," he said.

"A popular soldier, Andy was an extremely fit and capable sportsman.

'Keen boxer'

"In particular, he was a keen boxer who had represented the battalion on a number of occasions."

No further details of the incident which led to his death have been released.

In a statement, the soldier's parents James and Ray Craw spoke of shock and sadness at their son's death.

"The family and all of Andy's friends were shocked and saddened to hear of his death during active service in Iraq," it said.

"He was a wonderful son and brother - and those that knew him will remember his maturity and lively sense of humour.

At this time, words cannot express the depth of our grief
Craw family statement
"He talked often about how much he loved serving with the 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, and was extremely proud when he was promoted to lance corporal during the summer last year.

"At this time, words cannot express the depth of our grief, but mixed with our profound sadness there is pride in the knowledge that he died a soldier while serving his country."

The statement added: "He will be remembered by all that knew him forever. On behalf of the whole family, we would be grateful to the media to now leave us alone to grieve in peace during this very sad time."

Troops from the 1st Battalion Royal Scots, 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and 51st Highland Volunteers are all currently among the British forces deployed in Basra.

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