World

UK bomb disposal expert shot in Afghanistan named

Cpl Jamie Kirkpatrick
Image caption Cpl Kirkpatrick was part of the task force tackling roadside bombs

A British bomb disposal expert killed in Afghanistan has been named by the MoD as Cpl Jamie Kirkpatrick.

Cpl Kirkpatrick, 32, from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, died during a firefight with insurgents in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand on Sunday.

A member of 101 Engineer Regiment, his task force tackled roadside bombs. The Edinburgh-born soldier leaves his wife Heidi and 16-month-old daughter Holly.

Some 309 UK service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

A statement from his family said: "Jamie was a larger-than-life individual who was loved, loyal and loud. A wonderful son.

"He was a proud soldier, friend, brother, husband and daddy.

"The family are devastated by their loss and are struggling to come to terms with the fact they will never see him again."

'Team player'

Lt Col David Southall, commanding officer of the counter-improvised explosive device task force, Royal Engineers, paid tribute to Cpl Kirkpatrick as a "popular" man who remained calm under pressure.

"Corporal Jamie Kirkpatrick, or 'KP' to his mates, was a robust, humorous and professional Royal Engineer.

"Deployed in the deadly fight against the improvised explosive device threat, his diligence, coolness under pressure and total confidence in his abilities always shone through and his actions undoubtedly saved lives in Afghanistan.

"KP was also a natural team player - always keen for a laugh, his irrepressible optimism made him incredibly popular within our tight-knit counter-improvised explosive device community.

"His greatest passion in life, however, was his family.

"My heart goes out to his wife, Heidi and very young daughter, Holly, whose loss is unimaginable," he said.

Maj David Croall, officer commanding joint force explosive ordnance disposal group, said Cpl Kirkpatrick was a "professional and courageous" soldier who was "in his element" on operations.

'Devoted'

He said he was also "a very genuine and approachable man".

"I will always remember his beaming smile and tremendous sense of fun, and he was sincerely adored within his team, troop and the unit."

Sgt Scott Docherty, troop sergeant 21 Field Squadron, said Cpl Kirkpatrick was "devoted" to his family.

"He was looking forward to teaching Holly to use the phone on his two-week rest and recuperation so he could hear her say 'daddy'," he said.

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said it was "clear from the heartfelt tributes" that Cpl Kirkpatrick was a "highly professional soldier who lived for his job".

"Recognised for his calm, optimism and ability to maintain a sense of humour even under immense pressure, he was evidently an inspiration to his comrades.

"It was with deep sadness that I learned of his death, and my thoughts are with his family and loved ones."