British solider shot dead in Afghanistan named


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The Independent Online

A British solider who was shot dead in Afghanistan on Friday has been named as Corporal Michael Thacker.

The serviceman, from 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, was manning an observation post in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province when his patrol came under attack from small arms fire, the ministry of Defence said.

He received immediate medical attention and was evacuated from the scene by helicopter but died of his injuries.

The 27-year-old father-of-one - who was born in Swindon, Wiltshire and had served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan - was described as a "soldier's soldier" and "natural leader" by his comrades.

Cpl Thacker's wife Catherine said: "Michael was the love of my life. He was an amazing husband and father who will always be remembered as a funny, loving and kind man. Everyone who met Mike instantly liked him and through time came to love him."

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Webb MC, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said: "Corporal Michael Thacker had all the attributes of a superb Royal Welsh junior non-commissioned officer and he was exactly the man that you would want at your side when life got difficult.

"He was a soldier's soldier - a larger than life character, highly competent, fiercely loyal and hugely proud of his family.

"He had a great sense of humour, banter was his speciality and any time spent with him was time well spent."

He added: "No-one ever left him without a smile on their face - he simply loved life. He was mischievous, fun, incredibly amiable and with a grin that would brighten the darkest of days."

Lt Col Webb said the solider, who has a two-year-old daughter named Millie, had a bright future ahead of him after recently being promoted.

He added: "He was a professional soldier and a natural leader. People were drawn to him and he recognised the role that he had to play. He knew exactly what was needed to bring out the best in those around him.

"He never shirked a challenge or took the easy option and this selfless commitment spread through those around him."

Cpl Thacker's younger brother, Lance Corporal Matthew Thacker, also served in the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh.

Describing his older sibling as "the best I could wish for", he said: "We were more than brothers, we were best friends and words cannot express how much he will be missed.

"Michael is one of those people who would help others before helping himself. He could light up a dark room, always making people laugh because of his great personality.

"Devastated cannot come close to how we as a family are feeling. He died doing the job that we Thacker brothers love. He is a true hero. Rest in Peace. You will always be in my thoughts."