British soldier killed in Afghanistan named

Private Thomas Lake Private Thomas Lake joined the Army in November 2009

A British soldier killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan has been named as Private Thomas Lake.

The soldier, from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, died in Jamal Kowi, Nahr-e Saraj district, central Helmand.

His mother said he was a "wonderful son" who was "proud to be a soldier".

The death bring the total number of UK military personnel killed in operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 389.

Pt Lake's mother, Carol, said she would miss her son "more than she could say".

"He had so many friends who will remember him as a loyal, fun-loving action man who was always the first to try anything new and usually excelled at it. Tom loved the Army and was so proud to be a soldier; he died doing something he loved and believed in. I will always be proud of my boy.

"The amount of support, phone calls and flowers I have received pays tribute to the sort of man Tom was and I would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and words," she said.

The 29-year-old, from Watford, joined the Army in November 2009 and passed out of training in May 2010, joining the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment - known as the Tigers - in Germany shortly afterwards.

Huge potential

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Coote, said Pt Lake "epitomised the very best qualities of the British infantryman" and his untimely death had "denied the battalion of one of its brightest soldiers".

"He was a true Tiger - ever professional and totally committed to his mates and his battalion, he had an irrepressible smile and an understated manner that together made him hugely respected by all those that had the privilege to serve with him," he said.

He said the soldier had "packed an almost impossible amount into his two years in the Army, both at work and off duty" and was due to get promoted.

"Where many soldiers would have sought one specialisation in that time he had three - he was a medic, an Assault Pioneer and was also training as a sniper.

"Older than many of his peers, he was often the man that they would turn to for help or advice; maturity and potential abounded and he was fully expected to attend the promotion cadre on his return to Germany," he added.

Corporal Oliver Kennedy, section commander, 4 Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, said "Lakey" was "probably one of the best soldiers within the Platoon - liked by everyone".

"An absolute hard worker and one of those people that would never have to be asked to do anything. Being a soldier came as a natural instinct to him. A positive person in all situations with great potential, he would see the good in all," he said.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the tributes paid to Pt Lake portrayed him as a "brave soldier who was held in the highest regard".

"His professionalism marked him as an outstanding member of his platoon and he was, by all accounts, destined for promotion. Sadly, his full potential will not now be realised and at this tragic time, my thoughts are with his mother, Carol," he said.

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