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Helmand death: woman soldier named

The second female British soldier killed in Afghanistan was tonight named as Captain Lisa Jade Head.

Capt Head, of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, the Royal Logistic Corps, had disabled one homemade bomb when another exploded in an alleyway in Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand Province on Monday.

The 29-year-old, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was flown home and treated at hospital in Birmingham where she died yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said.

In June 2008 Sarah Bryant became the first female British soldier killed in Afghanistan.

The 26-year-old, a member of the Intelligence Corps, died along with three SAS men in a roadside bomb attack in Lashkar Gah.

Tonight, Capt Head's family issued a statement saying: "We wish to say that we are extremely proud of Lisa.

"Lisa always said that she had the best job in the world and she loved every second of it.

"Lisa had two families - us and the Army.

"Lisa had a fantastic life and lived it to the full. No-one was more loved."

The officer had only deployed to the Afghan badlands on March 27.

She had cleared one improvised explosive device (IED) in the alleyway used by nationals and troops alike when the second bomb she was defusing detonated.

Lieutenant Colonel Adam McRae, the regiment's Commanding Officer, said: "Captain Lisa Head will be remembered by the officers and soldiers of the regiment as a passionate, robust and forthright individual who enjoyed life to the full - be it at work, on the sporting field or at the bar.

"She was totally committed to her profession and rightly proud of being an ammunition technical officer.

"She took particular pride in achieving the coveted 'High Threat' status which set her at the pinnacle of her trade.

"Lisa deployed to Afghanistan with the full knowledge of the threats she would face.

"These dangers did not faze her as she was a self-assured, highly effective operator and a well-liked leader.

"Methodical and professional in her work, she was always eminently pragmatic and calm under pressure.

"Having spoken with her prior to deployment, she was motivated, enthusiastic and was looking forward to the challenges she would face. Her potential was considerable and she will be an enormous loss to us all."

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Budden, commanding officer of Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, said the captain's death had "rocked" her colleagues.

"Her selfless commitment, dealing with the most dangerous of threats in Afghanistan, is a lesson to us all," he said.

"In a dark time, she had a natural energy surrounding her, an energy that provides a light to shine a path for us all.

"She was someone that people are naturally drawn towards and want to spend time with.

"It is that memory that I hope provides a very small solace in this most difficult of times. She was a role model to us all.

"Captain Lisa Head will be sorely missed, but always remembered, by all ranks in the Counter IED Task Force."

Capt Head's IED disposal team applauded her strong character and leadership qualities, saying: "It was a pleasure to work with you for the short time we had together, you certainly are a northern girl with your strong will and ability to put us lads in our place when needed.

"Thank you for the skills and drills you gave us as a team, we will be sure to utilise these for the rest of our tour and beyond.

"Our thoughts are with Lisa's family and friends at this very hard time.

"We will all miss you sincerely."

Captain Mike Kennedy, who worked alongside the soldier, said she was "the bravest and most courageous woman I have ever met".

"She typified the sprit of the ammunition technical officer, making the long and lonely walk into the face of danger and adversity for the sake of others," said Capt Kennedy.

"I had the great privilege of serving alongside her in 321 EOD Sqn, as she raced from job to job throughout Northern Ireland. She would have had it no other way, she loved her job and she loved the soldiers that she commanded.

"Lisa and I both attended the same high threat course, a course that few women have ever completed but Lisa was determined in her usual way.

"She wanted to pass and operate in Afghanistan alongside her friends, we all did. Lisa was a fantastic operator, technical and resolute, truly irreplaceable.

"In the close knit community in which we work the respect that she held is tantamount to none."