Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 16:09 UK

Family's tribute to dead soldier

Pte Kevin Elliott
Pte Elliott was killed in an explosion in Helmand province on Monday

The grieving family of a soldier killed in an explosion in Afghanistan have paid an emotional tribute to him.

Twenty-four-year-old Pte Kevin Elliott from Dundee, was killed in Helmand province on Monday along with Sgt Stuart Millar from Inverness.

In a statement, his family said he had lived life to the full and had given his life for his friends.

The soldier, who previously served in Iraq and northern Ireland, joined the Black Watch in 2002.

The family said: "Kevin was the life and soul of the party who lived life to the full.

"He chose to go to Afghanistan to be with his mates and to give his life for them.

"The whole family loved Kevin and we are devastated by his death."

'Team player'

The MoD said the deaths, thought to have been caused by a rocket-propelled grenade, happened when the men were attacked in the Babaji district of Helmand.

In tribute to Pte Elliott, who joined the Army in 2002, Lt Col Cartwright said: "He was on the verge of leaving the Army earlier this year, but his inclination to be in the thick of the action was too tempting and he caught the last transport to Afghanistan with his mates. He loved operations and he was a big team player.

"It was no surprise to hear that in this tragic incident, he was the first man on the roof in the defensive position, the first to volunteer to protect his colleagues in a dangerous area.

"That sums up the man; he took life seriously when it was important to do so, and he was a first class field soldier as a result. He would never let his friends down."

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth said: "The loss of both of these fine soldiers is a grave loss to the Army and my thoughts are with their families and loved ones at this difficult time."

The deaths brings the number of UK personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 210.

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