Lance Corporal Matthew Smith killed in Afghanistan

Lance Corporal Matthew Smith
Image caption Lance Corporal Smith had four children aged between one and seven

A British soldier who was killed in Afghanistan on Friday has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Father-of-four Lance Corporal Matthew Smith, 26, of the Royal Engineers, was shot while on duty in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

He died of injuries sustained while he was involved in a construction task.

It comes only hours after the MoD named Lt Andrew Robert Chesterman of 3rd Battalion, The Rifles, as the soldier killed on Thursday.

L/Cpl Smith's mother Caroline described him as a "hero" and said he was devoted to his family and four children - Lainie, Ella, Tilli and Jai - aged between one and seven years, and "talked about them endlessly".

Mrs Smith said: "A loving father to four beautiful children, who will be dearly missed by his fiancée, mother, father, family and friends. Our Hero RIP."

Born in Hong Kong, L/Cpl Smith grew up in Aldershot.

Nicknamed Smudge, he became a soldier in January 2003 and joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in September of the same year.

Since his deployment to Afghanistan with the 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 26 Engineer Regiment on 16 March this year, he supported 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment as a section second in command, crane operator and driver.

He was involved in the construction of a new bridge allowing the local population of Nad-e Ali to cross the Nahr-e-Bughra canal.

His comrades described him as a "big character" who adored his family and would always count down to when he would see them again.

Corporal Matt Copping, 6 Troop Section Commander, said: "He was always proud of his children and showed me new pictures as soon as he got them. Smudge also leaves behind his fiancee Laura, who he adored."

Image caption Lt Chesterman leaves behind his father and two sisters

He added: "Lance Corporal Smith's family have lost a major part of their life and my thoughts are constantly with them. I was proud to have known and worked with Smudge; it was a privilege. Not only have I lost a great colleague, but a great mate."

Commanding officer Major Chris Ankers said: "I am proud to have commanded such an honest and professional soldier and to have met such a decent man. He took great pride in his work and inspired those around him, a true leader of men."

'Fine young man'

Lt Chesterman, a Platoon Commander in C Company, 3rd Battalion The Rifles, was deployed to Afghanistan on 7 April this year.

The 26-year-old, from Bristol, was commanding a vehicle patrol when the lead vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb on Thursday.

The MoD said that as Lt Chesterman moved forward to take control of the situation, insurgents opened fire and he was shot. He was taken to hospital in Camp Bastion but could not be saved.

His father Paul Chesterman said: "We have lost a fine young man. It was readily apparent that Andrew gave himself fully and wholeheartedly to his career in 3 Rifles."

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