Tributes paid to latest Army fatalities

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The Independent Online

The 200th and 201st British soldiers killed in Afghanistan were named yesterday as Private Richard Hunt, 21, from Abergavenny, South Wales, and Sergeant Simon Valentine, 29, from Bedworth, Warwickshire.

Pte Hunt, of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Welsh, joined the Army just two years ago and had only recently arrived in Afghanistan.

Known to his friends as "Hunty", he specialised as a Warrior driver and sniper. His company commander, Major Huw Jones, said: "Despite the danger he threw himself at the task with boundless enthusiasm and selfless commitment – he set an example for us all."

His parents, Hazel and Phillip Hunt, said: "Richard showed us all his strength of character in many ways. His bravado, ironically, masked his natural shyness."

Sgt Valentine served in the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and had joined the Army in 1997.

He was hand-picked to deploy to Kosovo in 1999 and took part in anti-terrorist operations in Belfast, as well as completing two tours in Iraq.

He leaves his wife, Gemma, whom he had known since school and married in 2002, and two daughters, Chantelle and Niamh. Mrs Valentine said: "To have known him was to have loved him."

Commanding officer 2 Rifles Battlegroup, Lt-Col Rob Thomson said: "Gritty, indomitable and with a rucksack full of charm is how I will remember him."

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