Afghan blast victim had just returned after injury

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A bomb disposal officer who had returned to the frontline three months after being injured in an explosion has become the latest member of British forces to die in Afghanistan.

Captain Daniel Read was killed in a blast at Musa Qala in northern Helmand province on Monday while out on a patrol, one of six Nato fatalities in 24 hours, with American and French soldiers also falling in combat.

Captain Read, 32, a member of the Royal Corps of Engineers, was wounded by an IED (improvised explosive device) in October last year but volunteered for duty after two months of treatment. According to his comrades he was aware of the acute need for the skills he possessed in the face of the relentless Taliban roadside bombing campaign which has claimed 85 per cent of recent Western lives.

Captain Read, of 11 EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Regiment, had disarmed 32 roadside bombs in Helmand before his death. Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, commanding officer of 11 EOD Regiment, spoke of Capt Read’s “selfless commitment, loyalty and deep-seated courage… He made the ultimate sacrifice but his actions have saved countless numbers of the lives of both his fellow soldiers and the Afghans whom he fought to protect.”

Lt Col Bex added: “Such was his professionalism and determination that even an injury sustained in a bomb blast in October 2009 could not keep him away for more than two months and he returned to theatre in December 2009, as soon as his injuries were healed. Despite the inherent dangers, Dan was determined to return to Afghanistan. He had a job to finish and a team to rejoin.”

Captain Gareth Bateman, second-in-command of Joint Force EOD Group, spoke of Capt Read’s “infectious sense of humour”.

“Remarkably, he could switch in an instant to give total concentration to the task at hand but the occasional quip or flash of his grin reminded you of the character within,” he said.

Capt Read’s wife, Lorraine, said: “Dan was so brave, he was my hero and best friend, he was a loving husband, son, brother, uncle and friend. He will never be forgotten and always in my heart. I’m so proud and privileged to have been your wife.”