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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, VBA)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition