Two soldiers killed in Afghanistan blast

 

Two British soldiers died today when their armoured vehicle struck a makeshift bomb in Afghanistan.

Their deaths, while on patrol in Helmand Province, came as friends and relatives paid tribute to Lance Corporal Peter Eustace, 25, who was killed by an improvised explosive device yesterday.

The two soldiers, from the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, had been providing security in the Yakchal region of Nahr-e-Saraj when they were caught in the explosion.

Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie said: "It is with great sadness that I must confirm the deaths of two soldiers from the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards after their vehicle was hit by an IED.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of both these brave soldiers at this very difficult time."

The pair died while serving with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force.

Their next of kin were informed as the grieving family of L/Cpl Eustace spoke of their loss.

In a statement, his mother Carol, sister Kirsty, brother Ryan and girlfriend Aimi said: "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."

The soldier, of 2nd Battalion the Rifles, was hailed by his commanding officer as "one of those men you can completely rely on when things get tough".

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.

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."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...