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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Welsh soldier among Iraq dead
Lance Corporal Thomas Richard Keys
Lance Corporal Keys joined the cadets when he was 16
A soldier from north Wales has been named among six British military policeman killed during what the army called an unprovoked attack in Iraq.

Lance Corporal Thomas Richard Keys, who lived at Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, died when the Royal Military Police came under attack in a village near Amara about 100 miles north of Basra.

Lance Corporal Keys, who was 20, was the youngest of the six soldiers to die in the incident on Tuesday.

His mother Sally Keys said he had been a popular member of the regiment.

He had been in the cadets since he was 16, and in 2001 he was involved in a hostage rescue mission in Sierra Leone.

His father said he was a clean-living lad whose main interest was keeping fit.

Neighbours in Llanuwchllyn, where Lance Corporal Keys' parents moved from Barmouth a year ago, have spoken of their sadness and shock .

"You don't expect this to happen so close to home - it feels as if it's not real at the moment," said Alwen Davies who farms with her family next door to the Keys' family home.
I know that Thomas's mother was very worried about him out in Iraq
Neighbour Alwen Davies

"It has come as a great shock that so many were killed yesterday.

"They came to live here about a year ago and he had been home on leave only a few times since they moved here.

"Everyone had started to think that things had quietened down there now.

"I know that Thomas's mother was very worried about him out in Iraq.

"There has been a lot of coming and going to the house today and our thoughts are with the family."
I send my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Lance-Corporal Keys
Rhodri Morgan

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said he was saddened by the news of his death.

"While memories of the conflict have already faded for many people, this terrible incident has given us all a sharp reminder that our servicemen and women still face extreme danger in the Gulf," he said.

"I send my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Lance-Corporal Keys who must have been looking forward to welcoming him home."

Fourteen British soldiers were injured in the attack and at least four Iraqis were killed.

All of the dead soldiers belonged to 156 Provost Company, part of the 16th Air Assault Brigade, based in Colchester, Essex.

Thousands of extra British troops could be sent to Iraq in the wake of the killings, which were the worst suffered by British forces in a single day of the conflict.

VICTIMS OF ATTACK
Lance-Corporal Thomas Richard Keys, from Bala
Sergeant Simon Alexander Hamilton-Jewell, from Chessington
Corporal Russell Aston, from Swadlincott
Corporal Paul Graham Long, from Colchester
Corporal Simon Miller, from Tyne and Wear
Lance-Corporal Benjamin John McGowan Hyde, from Northallerton
An urgent review of troop numbers, tactics and equipment is under way after the deaths.

British forces are hunting for the killers of the soldiers, whose bodies were found at a police station where they had been training local officers.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: "It is with very deep regret that the Ministry of Defence has to confirm that Lance-Corporal Thomas Richard Keys was killed in action in southern Iraq on 24 June whilst serving with 156 Provost Company, Royal Military Police.

"Aged 20, he came from Llanuwchllyn, near Bala in Wales, and was single."

The family, who are originally from the West Midlands, have a younger son who is also in the army.

Lance Corporal Keys is the second serviceman from North Wales to die in the Gulf.

Lance Bombardier Llywelyn Evans, 24, of Llandudno, died when a US helicopter crashed on the first day of the war.


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