The commanding officer of a British soldier killed in Afghanistan has paid tribute to him as "one of those men you can completely rely on when things get tough".
Lance Corporal Peter Eustace, 25, of 2nd Battalion the Rifles, died when he was hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Nahr-e Saraj in Helmand Province yesterday.
He leaves his mother Carole Ann, his sister Kirsty, his brother Ryan and his girlfriend Aimi.
L/Cpl Eustace, from Liverpool, known to his friends as "Eust", worked briefly as a painter and decorator before joining the Army in late 2004.
He served hard-fought tours in Basra, southern Iraq, in 2006-07 and in the deadly Sangin district of northern Helmand in 2009.
He returned to Afghanistan last month as a mortar fire controller with Delhi Company of 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
His family said in a statement: "Peter was very fit and he always wanted to join the Army. He was committed to carrying out a full career there. He will be missed by his family and friends and is loved by all.
"Peter was a loving son and grandson and will be especially missed by his girlfriend, Aimi. He will also be missed by loving dog Macey."
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Wright, commanding officer of 2 Rifles, said L/Cpl Eustace was "blessed with a huge character that matched his size".
"He had nothing left to prove as a warrior. He was one of those men you can completely rely on when things get tough," he said.
"He will be sorely missed by all, particularly the mortar platoon and his fellow chosen men in the corporals' mess. Their parties will be far quieter without him.
"All our thoughts and heartfelt best wishes are with his family and friends at this tragic time."
Major Spiro Marcandonatos, officer commanding Delhi Company of 1 Yorks, described L/Cpl Eustace as an "upstanding and fiercely loyal individual".
He said: "A lively character, he served us extremely well from the moment we were first introduced and his experience was vital to the company, hitting the ground running and taking the fight to the Taliban. He will be sorely missed."
Captain Mark Endersby, of 2 Rifles, said it was testament to L/Cpl Eustace that all around him, including the Afghan soldiers he fought alongside, were "deeply hurt" by his loss.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "I was hugely saddened to learn of the death of Lance Corporal Eustace.
"The touching tributes I have read show that he was a professional and natural soldier who was held in the highest regard by all those who worked with him.
"He fought bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan prior to this tour where he has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us at home in the UK. My thoughts are with his loved ones."
L/Cpl Eustace's death takes the number of British troops who have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 to 386.