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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Family's tribute to dead soldier
Craig O'Donnell
Craig O'Donnell fulfilled a childhood dream by joining the army
A grieving family has paid an emotional tribute to "a wonderful son" killed by a suicide bomb in Afghanistan.

Private Craig O'Donnell, 24, from Clydebank, Dunbartonshire was killed by a suicide bomb in Kabul on Monday.

His girlfriend Jessica is carrying his child and the baby is due at Christmas. His parents said: "At this time words cannot express the depth of our grief."

Private O'Donnell was serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland.

He was the 15th soldier to die within three days in Afghanistan.

Mixed with our profound sadness there is pride in the knowledge that he died while serving his country
Private O'Donnell's parents

Private O'Donnell had served in Bosnia in 2005 and Kenya in 2006 before deploying to Afghanistan as part of the force protection element in Kabul in July.

His mother and father, Robert and Lorraine, said: "The family and all of Craig's friends were shocked and saddened to hear of his death.

"He was a wonderful son who lived life to the full and was an ardent fan of Celtic Football Club and the rock band Queen.

"He was a happy go lucky person who always put others first.

"He was looking forward to moving into married quarters and setting up home with his girlfriend, Jessica, and to the birth of their first child this coming Christmas."

'Serving his country'

His family said Craig wanted to join the army from the age of four and said they were proud of him.

They said: "He is sorely missed by all the family all of whom were extremely proud of him being a soldier and he was much looked up to by his younger sister Claire.

"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 while serving his country.

"He will be remembered by all that knew him forever."

Private O'Donnell was described by Commanding Officer Lt Col Simon West as "a very positive young man, well liked by all his peers and with a very bright future ahead of him".

He added: "He stood for all the right things in life and was a dedicated and professional Argyll soldier."

Another soldier was seriously injured in the attack on the Nato military convoy in the Afghan capital.

Active service

He has been taken to a military medical facility for treatment.

The Argylls have been on active service in Afghanistan for the past month.

Private O'Donnell's death has brought to 37 the number of UK personnel killed since operations began there in 2001.

On Saturday, 14 RAF Kinloss based troops died when their Nimrod crashed near Kandahar in Afghanistan.

An RAF inquiry team, which has begun its investigation into the weekend crash, confirmed that the crew reported a fire on board the aircraft.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy said the Nimrod had just completed a routine air-to-air refuelling when the alarm was raised.

The Nimrod fatalities are the biggest single loss of life suffered by British forces in the war on terror.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Watch a report on the family's tribute



SEE ALSO
Family tribute to Kinloss airmen
04 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles
Close-knit town wakes to tragedy
03 Sep 06 |  North East/N Isles

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