British soldier killed in Afghanistan is named

A British soldier shot dead in southern Afghanistan loved his children "with all his heart and soul", his wife has said.

Father-of-two Corporal Michael Pike, 26, from Huntly, Scotland, was fatally wounded by insurgent gunfire during a security patrol in the Lashkar Gah District of Helmand Province on Friday.

His wife, Ida, said: "My husband would want everybody to know that he died doing a job he loved and that he loved our children with all his heart and soul."

Colleagues said the soldier, from 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was a role model and dedicated father to his children, Joshua and Evelynn.

Cpl Pike, second in command of 2 platoon, A Company, based at Check Point Pegasus, was on his second tour of Afghanistan.

He was leading the patrol when it came under attack by insurgents armed with guns and grenades.

Colleagues said he was a "true Highlander" who would not have wanted the other men to dwell on his loss.

Lieutenant Colonel A J Aitken, Commanding Officer of Combined Force Lashkar Gah and The Highlanders, 4 Scots, said: "He was an enormously popular, charismatic and engaging character; a natural leader in every way.

"As a junior commander he was entirely dedicated to his soldiers, leading from the front with every step and they would follow him anywhere.

"He was the very epitome of a Highland soldier: fierce in battle, compassionate to all and unswervingly loyal to his friends - a code he lived by to the very end.

"Above all else he was a deeply loving and caring family man. His loss has left a hole in the Battalion, in his company and especially his platoon.

"However, I have a strong suspicion that he would not want us to dwell on his loss, I suspect that he would simply put his kit on, make a joke about it and carry on in the same dedicated, professional manner."

Captain Angus Steele, Regimental Career Management Officer, The Highlanders, said: "Fit, enthusiastic, highly motivated and full of humour, he was destined for a very bright future within The Highlanders and indeed The Royal Regiment of Scotland."

And Captain Dave Robertson, Company Second in Command, A Company, said: "Unfazed by anything that was thrown at him: blown up, bogged in and under heavy fire Corporal Pike never let any of the Jocks down once.

"He was a pleasure to have known and a privilege to have commanded; a true professional and a dedicated husband and father."

His platoon members said he "didn't go down without a fight" and was providing covering fire for the lead vehicle before he was killed.

Lieutenant Robert Grant, 2 Platoon Commander, A Company, said his loss "strikes deep into the heart and soul of all those who knew him".

He said: "His death, saving the lives of the men he was devoted to, marks the tragic end of a life that has touched so many, so deeply that it seems almost unreal."

And Sergeant Lee Smith, 2 Platoon Sergeant, A Company, said: "A brother, best friend, and comrade. Michael Pike was easily the funniest guy in the Battalion; like a mischievous, adopted little brother.

"He will be sorely missed and can never be replaced."

His death brought the total number of UK military personnel who have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 to 369.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox, said: "It is clear from the tributes paid to Corporal Pike by his friends and colleagues that he was a talented soldier with a bright future, a loving family man, and a great friend to so many.

"My thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues as they come to terms with his loss."

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