Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Saturday, 9 May 2009 16:51 UK

Killed soldier 'giant among men'

Sgt Ben Ross
Sgt Ross was a security advisor to the Afghan police

A Welsh soldier killed in Afghanistan while advising the Afghan police on security has been described as a "giant among men" by his commanding officer.

Sgt Ben Ross, from 173 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment, Royal Military Police, was killed in a suicide attack.

His colleague Cpl Kumar Pun from 1st Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, also died in the explosion on Thursday.

Sgt Ross was originally from Bangor and joined the Army in 1996 before joining the military police in 2003.

While in the Army, he served in Germany, Canada, Poland and the Balkans.

On joining the military police, he was posted to the weapons intelligence section in Northern Ireland and later worked as part of the close security for the British Ambassador to Iraq.

In Afghanistan, his role was to mentor, train and advise the Afghan Uniformed Police on security, policing and law enforcement.

He was married to Sheena, who is also serving with the Royal Military Police.

Major Adam Quantrell, the officer commanding 173 Provost Company, said Sgt Ross's death came as a "huge shock" and added: "The hole that has been left by him appears at the moment to be overwhelming.

Fiercely determined yet compassionate and patient, he added colour to all our lives
Major Adam Quantrell

"I know if Ben were still here he would just look at me, tell me to fill the hole and get on with the job.

"This was the nature of the man - a professional, a veteran of many tours with a warrior attitude and spirit. Fiercely determined yet compassionate and patient, he added colour to all our lives.

"Dedication, sacrifice, and leadership were his mantras and they are the best words in which to describe him.

"He was a giant among men and I am blessed for having him under command and the company is blessed for having served with him."

Warrant Officer (Class 2) Sean Kimber, the Company Sergeant Major, said: "Ben fell in the manner that he performed as a soldier - by leading the way and not shying away from the difficult situations he was confronted with."

Staff Sergeant Dan Stephens, second in command of 8 Platoon, added that Sgt Ross was his right-hand man and "never failed to deliver".

The attack also left at least 16 Afghan civilians dead and more than 30 wounded, according to the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).

Patrol

Two other soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on the same day as Sgt Ross and Cpl Kumar in two separate incidents.

Rifleman Sheldon, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, near Mansfield, was killed when his Jackal patrol vehicle was hit by an improvised device near Sangin, in the province's north and Cpl Sean Binnie, 22, from the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment had been on a reassurance patrol in Helmand province.

It was the first time since June 2008 that four soldiers have been killed on a single day. Three soldiers and a marine were killed on 25 February this year.

The latest deaths took the number of UK troops to have been killed on operations in Afghanistan to 157.



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