MoD names 104th British serviceman to die in Iraq

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A British soldier killed in southern Iraq by a roadside bomb was named as Lieutenant Richard Palmer of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards yesterday.

Lt Palmer, 27, from Ware in Hertfordshire, died of his injuries on Saturday after the vehicle he was commanding was caught in an explosion near Dayr, north-west of Basra, the Ministry of Defence said.

He was the 104th member of the British armed forces to die since the start of the conflict in March 2003 and the 16th from a Scottish regiment.

The incident happened while Lt Palmer was taking part in a joint patrol with the Iraqi army. He was said to have been "leading from the front" at the time. Despite the efforts of his comrades and medical teams, he died of his wounds.

Yesterday his father, Brigadier John Palmer, said in a statement that his son had been proud to be a soldier. "He was very well aware of the dangers that he and others faced in Iraq, but he believed that the work they were doing was gradually making life better for the Iraqi people.

"Richard was a very talented and popular young man who achieved a lot in his life. We are immensely proud of him, whilst nothing can make his lost any easier, we are just thankful that the other members of his troop, of whom he thought so much, were not seriously injured."

His commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Edwards, also paid tribute, and said he had seemed destined for a "glittering military career" .

On Friday four British soldiers were treated for minor injuries after a suicide bomb attack close to the British logistics base at Shaibah, near Basra.

John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, announced last month that the number of UK troops in Iraq is to be reduced by 800 to 7,000.