Afghanistan death soldier named as Cpl Michael Thacker

Cpl Michael Thacker
Image caption Cpl Michael Thacker was married with a two-year-old daughter

A British soldier who died in southern Afghanistan on Friday has been named as Cpl Michael John Thacker, from 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers).

Cpl Thacker was shot while on duty at observation post Tir in the Helmand district of Nahr-e Saraj.

The 27-year-old lived in Coventry with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

His wife Catherine said he was "an amazing husband and father... a funny, loving and kind man".

Cpl Thacker received immediate medical attention and was evacuated from the scene by helicopter but died from his injuries.

Love of my life

Cpl Thacker went to Fairwater High School in Cwmbran, South Wales, before joining the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers in 2004.

He was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Telic 4 and to South Armagh in Northern Ireland in 2005. In 2006 his battalion merged to form the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh.

Cpl Thacker was on his third tour of Afghanistan when he was shot on 1 June.

His wife, Catherine, said: "Michael was the love of my life.

"He was an amazing husband and father who will always be remembered as a funny, loving and kind man. Everyone who met Mike instantly liked him and through time came to love him."

His younger brother, L/Cpl Matthew Thacker, also served with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh.

Paying tribute, he said: "We were more than brothers, we were best friends and words cannot express how much he will be missed.

"Michael is one of those people who would help others before helping himself. He could light up a dark room, always making people laugh because of his great personality.

"He died doing the job that we Thacker brothers love. He is a true hero."

L/Cpl Thacker was not in Afghanistan at the time of his brother's death, a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said.

His two other siblings, Mark and Ashley, are not in the armed forces, she added.

Lt Col Stephen Webb MC, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers), added: "He was a soldier's soldier - a larger than life character, highly competent, fiercely loyal and hugely proud of his family.

"He was mischievous, fun, incredibly amiable and with a grin that would brighten the darkest of days.

"Recently promoted, he had a bright future in Fire Support Company ahead of him. He was a professional soldier and a natural leader. He was deeply committed to both his role on Operation Herrick and to his colleagues."

Maj Jon Matthews, Officer Commanding Fire Support Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers), said: "He was a professional and proud Royal Welshman who was fiercely loyal to his men.

"His positive attitude was infectious and his desire to get stuck in and lead his men was second to none."

Cpl Thacker's death brings the number of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan since operations began in October 2001 to 416.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "I extend my deepest sympathies to his family, loved ones and colleagues at this very difficult time."

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