UK soldier killed in Afghanistan blast named

Image caption, Pte Monk joined the army aged 16

The family of a soldier killed by a blast in southern Afghanistan said he had wanted to serve be in the Army since he was five years old.

Private Jonathan Monk, 25, of 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, attached to 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, died on Wednesday.

Pte Monk, 25, from London, was killed while on foot patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

The number of UK service personnel killed in Afghanistan is 294.

Pte Monk joined the Army aged 16, serving in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. He had left the army to join the fire service, but offered to serve again while there was a delay in the recruitment process.

'Enormous void'

The family of Pte Monk said he was a "most wonderful son" and "truly great brother" in a statement released through the Ministry of Defence.

They said: "The Army was in his blood, it was all he'd ever wanted to do since he was five years old.

"He was extremely generous both to family and friends, and always eager to give help to anyone that needed it.

"He leaves an enormous void in all our lives. We will miss him so much, but we will always be so proud of his achievements and the dedicated way he served his country. He will always be our hero."

Lt Col Andrew Hadfield, commanding officer 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) said it was a "sign of his total commitment" to the army and country that Pte Monk returned before starting his new career.

"We are fortunate that he chose to accompany us, bringing his unique style of humour and his extensive military experience with him," he said.

"In camp he was every Sergeant Major's nightmare, nonchalant and laid back, but in combat he fought like a tiger and was always to the fore when the bullets were flying.

"He was the epitome of the combat infantry soldier, and will be missed by all who knew him. We will remember his ready smile, his quick wit and his cool head under fire.

"He was so full of life and had so much more to give to the world, I consider myself privileged to have had him under my command."