MoD names soldier killed in Basra anti-terror operation

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The Independent Online

A soldier who died in Iraq after a raid to seize suspected terrorists was named by the Ministry of Defence today. Corporal John Johnston Cosby, of the 1st Battalion The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry (1DDLI), died after being shot during the early morning swoop in Basra on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who was Belfast-born and spent his later childhood years in Exeter, Devon, was described as an "amazing son, brother, uncle and nephew" by his grieving mother, Jean.

Cpl Cosby joined 1DDLI in 1998, starting his military career as a rifleman in an Armoured Infantry platoon in Warminster before moving to London for ceremonial duties.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal after a six-month tour of South Armagh, and passed the Close Observation Platoon (COP) course with flying colours, the MoD said. He went on to spend two years as second in command of a four-man team.

A "capable and natural junior commander", he gained the accolade of an Instructor's Grade Pass in his Section Commanders' Battle Course to earn promotion to full corporal.

The MoD praised the soldier for his "uncompromising professionalism in all aspects of his work".

Held in great affection by those who knew him, early in his tour of duty in Iraq, he had said to a fellow team commander: "As long as my team goes home safely and my friends go home safely, my job is done."

The MoD statement added: "John was very compassionate and there was something infectious in him that people couldn't help but like: his determination, his awkward sitting style, his scruffy appearance, his inability to tan even in the desert, his honesty, his lack of sporting prowess, the constantly burning cigarette, the regular mickey-taking of himself and others, his sharp, intelligent wit, his professionalism and his generosity."

His death brings to 114 the number of British service personnel killed since the start of hostilities.