Two British soldiers killed by a roadside bomb blast in Iraq were named by the Ministry of Defence today.
Lieutenant Tom Mildinhall, 26, from Battersea, south London, and Lance Corporal Paul Farrelly, 27, from Runcorn, Cheshire, were on a routine patrol in north-western Basra on Sunday night when they were hit by the explosion.
The men, who were serving with the Queen's Dragoon Guards, became the 112th and 113th British forces personnel to be killed since the start of hostilities.
Nine have died this month, including five killed in a helicopter crash in Basra and two in another roadside blast.
Defence Secretary Des Browne told BBC Breakfast today that the upsurge in violence was a cause of "major concern".
Two British journalists working for the American CBS network died yesterday in a bomb attack in Baghdad.
The MoD said the men were in a routine armoured Land Rover patrol in support of Iraqi security forces when they were killed.
They were members of A Squadron of the Queen's Dragoon Guards (QDG). The regiment is based in Osnabruck, Germany.
Lt Mildinhall was the son of a retired Army officer and the family home was in Battersea. His younger brother John is a PhD student at Bristol University.
The officer was educated at Moncton Coombe school in Dorset, where he was said to have excelled at rowing.
After studying Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science at Durham University and completing his officer training at Sandhurst in April 2004 he was commissioned into the QDG.
He was sent to Iraq that November where he helped train Iraqi border police, and began his second deployment to the country a month ago.
The MoD said he was a "keen downhill ski instructor and a popular member of the regimental ski team".
"He will be missed by those who served alongside him for his extremely dry sense of humour and razor-sharp wit that often left everyone in stitches," the MoD said.
"He was a close friend to many in the officers' mess but was also very close to his soldiers."
His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Pittman, said: "Lieutenant Mildinhall was a thoroughly capable officer.
"He was intelligent, determined and utterly loyal to both his own command and his superiors. He led by example and his soldiers responded positively, safe in the knowledge he had their best interests at heart.
"It was typical of his command style to insist he physically led the more dangerous patrols, as he was doing last night when his troop came under attack and he suffered a fatal injury.
"He was calm under pressure and I could rely upon him to deliver results in the complex operational environment of Iraq.
"He was a true enthusiast and it was uplifting to be in his company - regardless of circumstance, he always viewed the glass as half full.
"His love of life, sharp wit and ability to laugh at himself, coupled with his enduring commitment to the team, were qualities that endeared him to us all.
"He loved his time in the Army and was happiest when serving with his regiment and we all benefited from his presence.
"With his passing, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards has lost a truly promising officer. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends."