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'Finest' serviceman dies in Iraq

21 July 07 11:48 GMT

An RAF serviceman from Flintshire who was killed in a mortar attack in southern Iraq has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Senior Aircraftman Peter McFerran, 24, from Connah's Quay, was one of three RAF servicemen who died in an attack on a base in Basra on Thursday.

He was described by his commanding officer as "robust, strong, dedicated and loyal".

The deaths bring the total number of UK armed forces deaths in Iraq to 162.

The three RAF servicemen were resting from their duties protecting aircraft operating from Basra Airport.

Mr McFerran was the heavy machine gun operator for his unit. He had followed his father into the RAF in 2004.

Officer Commanding No 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, Squadron Leader Jason Sutton described him as "utterly dependable".

"As his squadron commander I knew I could rely on him not only for the consummate skill he brought to the job but also for his honest, incisive opinion.

"His job was his life, his hobby, everything, and in Pete we have lost one of our finest. "

Matthew Caulwell from Birmingham and Christopher Dunsmore from Leicester, were the other senior aircraftsmen who died in the rocket attack.

Defence Secretary Des Browne paid tribute to the men, saying: "They were all exceptional and talented young men whose professionalism and selfless commitment will not be forgotten.

"My heart-felt condolences go out to their partners, families, friends and colleagues in Iraq at this most painful and difficult of times," he said.

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