Rescue soldier died doing 'job he loved'

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The Independent Online

The soldier killed in a swoop by paratroopers on a jungle hideaway in Sierra Leone to free six captured British soldiers was named today as Bombardier Brad Tinnion, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

The soldier killed in a swoop by paratroopers on a jungle hideaway in Sierra Leone to free six captured British soldiers was named today as Bombardier Brad Tinnion, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

He served with the Royal Artillery and was killed during the daring dawn mission on Sunday.

He was with other soldiers who entered a renegade stronghold in a bid to free the members of the Royal Irish Regiment, who had been held by the rebel West Side Boys.

He and 25 rebels were killed during a 90-minute firefight deep in the jungle and several more troops were injured.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "The family of the soldier killed during the hostage rescue operation conducted by British troops in Sierra Leone yesterday has given their permission for the MoD to release his name.

"His name is Bombardier Brad Tinnion. He served with the Royal Artillery. No more details about him are being given."

Director of the Royal Artillery, Brigadier Jonathan Bailey MBE, said: "Brad Tinnion died bravely doing the job he loved, helping to rescue hostages.

"We will always remember him with great pride. I would now ask that the family are left alone to mourn in private," he added.

Mr Tinnion was killed in the raid that came after the rebel gang threatened to kill their hostages, and their Sierra Leonean liaison officer, if aircraft were spotted over their base in the Occra Hills, 50 miles from the country's capital Freetown.

But military chiefs gambled on a surprise attack and dropped troops from the air after deciding the swamps and rough ground surrounding their encampment would dangerously slow down the 150-strong force from 1 Para.

The paratroopers flew in at daybreak on board five helicopters - two Lynxes and three Chinooks - which provided extra firepower during the difficult operation.

Within 20 minutes, the seven hostages were on board a helicopter and whisked to safety on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Sir Percivale at Freetown.

And 90 minutes after the Paras landed, the rebel band had been beaten back and their leader, self-styled "Brigadier" Foday Kallay, captured.

A total of 25 rebels were killed during the attack, including three women.

Apart from Kallay, another 17 members of his gang were captured, while the three vehicles and guns taken from the hostages were recovered.

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