Black Watch soldier dies in Iraq

Captain Dean Sprouting

A British soldier serving in Iraq has died, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

Capt Dean Sprouting of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, was stationed at Al Asad Air Base.

The MoD said his death on Wednesday was being investigated, but was not the result of enemy action.

The father of two, who was from Denny, near Falkirk, joined the army in 1989.

He had served in places including Northern Yugoslavia, Cyprus and Kosovo, Sudan, Angola and Germany.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Rob Hedderwick, described Capt Sprouting as a "very good man" who was an indispensable part of the battalion.

He said his thoughts and prayers were with Capt Sprouting's wife and children, "whom I know he cherished more than anything else in this world".

'Sharp wit'

Lt Col Hedderwick said Capt Sprouting was known not only for his professional expertise, but also for his compassionate manner and camaraderie.

He added: "His intelligence and sharp wit was apparent from the outset; there was an ever-present twinkle in his eye and he would gladly admit that his youth had been full of adventure.

"Dean was simply one of those people whose infectious humour and enthusiasm drew others to him. His professional knowledge was second to none and his sage advice already something I had come to rely on.

"I am hugely proud and thankful to have known him."