British soldiers killed in Afghanistan named

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Media captionThe three soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in March

Three British soldiers who died after their armoured vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan have been named.

They were Cpl William Savage and Fusilier Samuel Flint from the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment Of Scotland.

The third soldier was Pte Robert Hetherington, of the 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, a Territorial Army member.

Six other soldiers were injured in the bomb blast in Helmand on Tuesday.

The attack was on a Mastiff vehicle, deemed to be one of the safest. Prime Minister David Cameron said he would consider "carefully" how the deaths had occurred.

It is the first time British soldiers in a Mastiff vehicle, which was introduced in 2007, have been killed by a roadside bomb, the MoD said.

'Love of my life'

The soldiers arrived in Afghanistan in March.

Cpl Savage, 30, from Irvine, Ayrshire, leaves behind a wife, Lyndsey, who is expecting their first child.

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Media captionDavid Cameron: "The latest casualties are a reminder of the high price that we've paid as a country"

In a statement, Lyndsey said: "I am completely devastated by this news but extremely proud of 'Sav' and everything he has achieved.

"I have lost the love of my life and the father of our son."

Cpl Savage, who joined the Army in 2003, deployed to Iraq in 2004 and had already served in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010 before his latest posting there earlier this year.

He was a keen skier and kayak instructor and described by his commanding officer Lt Col Robin Lindsay as an "exceptional soldier".

"Cpl Savage's composed and professional approach had a calming influence on his platoon and he was seemingly unaffected by the dangers he faced daily in Afghanistan. He was unflappable and this example inspired his fellow soldiers," he said.

Fusilier Flint, 21, originally from Blackpool, joined the Army in November 2011 and was on his first overseas deployment.

His family said the motorsports enthusiast and Manchester City fan was "always the life and soul of the party".

"He was a loving son, the protective brother, courageous nephew, the caring uncle, the loyal grandson that anyone would wish to have."

Lt Col Lindsay said Fusilier Flint was a soldier "brimming with skill and ability".

Pte Hetherington, 25, born in the US but raised in Scotland, had been in the Army for just five months when he died.

He became involved in the officer training corps while studying environmental geography at university, enlisted in the Territorial Army in October 2006 and was said to have had ambitions to attend Sandhurst. He had represented Scotland at lacrosse.

Pte Hetherington was mobilised from the 7th Battalion to join 2nd Battalion for his deployment to Afghanistan.

Lt Col Lindsay said he had taken to Army life "with gusto".

"He was immediately singled out as a highly effective infantryman; rated right at the top of his peer group," he said.

'Served with distinction'

Brig Rupert Jones, commander of Task Force Helmand, said: "The loss of these three brave Scottish soldiers comes as a great blow to everyone in the Task Force, but leaves us all the more determined in our task to do justice to their memory."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "It is clear from the tributes paid to them that they were exceptional men who served their country with distinction."

Earlier, David Cameron paid tribute to the men, saying their deaths were "a reminder of the high price we have paid as a country to help give this country [Afghanistan] a chance of safety and security in the future".

The blast occurred when the soldiers were travelling on a routine patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district.

Afghan officials in Helmand told the BBC the bomb was made with "potent explosives and had metals and other items aimed at inflicting massive destruction".

It is understood that seven military patients were flown out of Afghanistan to the UK on Wednesday afternoon.

They are being treated at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the specialist centre for injured troops, but it is unclear how many of them were injured in the blast.

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