Soldier killed in Afghanistan named as Capt Richard Holloway

image captionCaptain Richard Holloway was killed on 23 December

A British soldier killed in Afghanistan two days before Christmas has been named as Captain Richard Holloway, of The Royal Engineers.

The Ministry of Defence said the 29-year-old from County Durham was killed in action while on operations east of Kabul on Monday.

Capt Holloway's family described him as an "exceptional young man" who "embraced life to the full".

He is the 447th British soldier to be killed since the war began in 2001.

In a statement, his parents, Jaquie and Neil, said: "Our son Richard was an exceptional young man, a perfectionist in everything he did and a loyal brother and friend, who embraced life to the full."

They added: "The sense of adventure he experienced with the Royal Engineers was echoed in his love of travel to faraway places and physical activity including surfing, kayaking, canoeing, mountain-biking and climbing.

"Wherever the action was, he wanted to be part of it - and that is where our beloved son, of whom we are so very proud, lost his life."

'Never a second wasted'

His commanding officer described him as "one of the best; a natural leader".

"His tactical ability commanded wide respect; his judgement was unerring, his enthusiasm was infectious and his standards never dropped.

"He had a humble self-confidence that instinctively drew people to him. His own brand of selflessness and professionalism marked him out as a soldier, but it was the warmth of his personality that set him out as a popular and effective leader."

Capt Ed Martin, Royal Engineers, said: "There was never a second wasted with Rich, he always had a plan and made the most of every day.

"He lived life to the full and was an inspiration to others to do the same. I have never met a more trustworthy, loyal or dedicated friend, he had humility in spades and I would have followed him anywhere."

During a pre-Christmas visit to the troops in Helmand, Prime Minister David Cameron said the British mission in Afghanistan had been "accomplished".

Outside of Camp Bastion there are now just four British bases in operation and those are due to close next year.

The number of military personnel in Afghanistan has been reduced from 9,000 to around 5,200 in 2013.

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