Killed British soldier named as L/Cpl James Brynin

image captionL/Cpl Brynin was killed by enemy fire while on patrol

A British soldier killed while on patrol in Afghanistan has been named as L/Cpl James Brynin by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The 22-year-old serving with the 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) had been on patrol in Helmand Province when he was killed.

A spokesman described L/Cpl Brynin as "the best and brightest".

His death brings the number of UK service personnel who have died in Afghanistan since 2001 to 445.

In the early hours of Tuesday, L/Cpl Brynin's unit deployed from Camp Bastion into Nahr-e Saraj in Helmand Province to counter an "imminent threat" to both Afghans and Isaf (International Security Assistance Force) personnel, the MoD said.

'Heart of a lion'

Towards the end of the operation, the section came under fire.

Together with a sniper and machine-gunner, L/Cpl Brynin returned fire but suffered a fatal gunshot wound.

L/Cpl Brynin died at the scene, despite receiving "immediate medical attention", the MoD said.

Born in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, he joined the Army in February 2011 and entered the Intelligence Corps.

After his initial training he was posted to 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), which is based at Cawdor Barracks in Pembrokeshire, and had already served a tour in Afghanistan in 2012.

He returned to Afghanistan this August as an intelligence analyst working for a light electronic warfare team (LEWT) within the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) of 7th Armoured Brigade.

L/Cpl Brynin's family issued the following tribute: "Heart of a lion, we will always stand strong for you. We will never forget. Rest in peace."

'Tragic loss'

Tributes from L/Cpl Brynin's officers commended his skill and intelligence.

Lt Col Mark Purves, Commanding Officer 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), said: "Bright and engaging, Lance Corporal Brynin was immensely popular and an outstanding soldier in every respect.

"Having already completed one tour to Afghanistan, his appointment to support the Brigade Reconnaissance Force was indicative of his talent and leadership qualities. He was fit, determined and genuinely wanted to make a difference."

Lt Col Richard Slack, commanding officer of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, the Brigade Reconnaissance Regiment, described L/Cpl Brynin as "a star, burning bright and rising fast."

L/Cpl Brynin is the seventh British serviceman killed in Afghanistan this year and the first since 30 April, when three soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland were killed after their armoured vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

According to the Army's website, the role of the 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) includes attacking targets by jamming electronic systems and preventing them from working properly.

Light electronic warfare teams are made up of up to four members on the battlefield, where they use equipment to tap into insurgents' communications.

British troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, when all Nato combat operations are scheduled to finish, although a small number will remain in support roles.

The number of British troops in Afghanistan was reduced to 9,000 before the end of 2012 and is set to fall to 5,200 by the end of 2013.

British troops are now placed at five bases - down from a peak of more than 130 - and rarely go on patrol.

Last week, the 7th Armoured Brigade, the Desert Rats, became the last major British force deployed to Helmand.