Two soldiers killed in Afghanistan

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Two British soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been killed in separate incidents, the Ministry of Defence confirmed yesterday.

The first serviceman, from 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was injured in a helicopter incident at a patrol base in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Tuesday.

It is understood that the soldier, who was serving with Gurkha Reinforcement Company, was injured when a Chinook helicopter crashed at his base.

During a night-time resupply mission, the aircraft's rotor blades hit a lookout tower and knocked down a wall next to where he was sleeping. The soldier's comrades dug through the rubble for more than half an hour to free him.

He was flown back to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he died on Thursday. His family were at his bedside. His commanding officer, Major Ronnie Goodwin, said: "He gave his life trying to improve the lives of people in Helmand."

The second soldier, from 21 Engineer Regiment, died yesterday after being shot in the Sangin District of Helmand. His next of kin have been informed. Lt-Colonel David Southall, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "He was shot by small arms fire whilst supporting the 40 Commando Royal Marines battle group. He died a sapper, doing his duty amongst his comrades as he sought to improve security for the people of Afghanistan."