UK soldier killed in Afghanistan explosion named by MoD

Image caption,
L/Cpl Andrew Breeze's family said the Army was "his life"

A British soldier killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

L/Cpl Andrew Breeze, 31, of the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, died in a blast on Saturday in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

The soldier, who was from Manchester and part of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles Battle Group, died following a security patrol.

A total of 295 UK military personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

L/Cpl Breeze's family paid tribute to the soldier, saying he was "a brave, loving and sincere son and brother".

"The Army was his life. He is going to be desperately missed by his family and his fiancee," his relatives said.

The soldier, who was working to clear an area near a checkpoint when he died, had served in Northern Ireland and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan.

In a statement from the MoD, Lt Col Andrew Hadfield said L/Cpl Breeze was "a dedicated soldier and leader" who was "a stalwart of the battalion" who approached his work "with discipline and determination, but always with a ready smile".

And Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: "I was saddened to learn of the death of L/Cpl Andrew Breeze, who had earned his place as a highly valued member of The Mercian Regiment during 14 years of dedicated service to the armed forces.

"Known to all as an excellent soldier and capable leader, he had recently proved his courage as he evacuated a casualty under fire."