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Family pays tributes to airman killed in Afghanistan

Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin
Image caption SAC Tomlin is recalled as a rising star of his squadron and regiment

The body of an airman killed in Afghanistan and described by friends and family as "true hero and shining star" has been repatriated.

Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin, of 2 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment based at Honington, Suffolk, was killed by small arms fire on 13 February.

The body of the 21-year-old, from Hemel Hempstead, in Hertfordshire, was flown to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

After a private ceremony he was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The cortege drove past the memorial garden in the nearby village of Carterton where Royal British Legion standards were lowered before coming to a stop where people had gathered.

About 60 friends and family had travelled from his home. They included his mother Diane, and father Kevin, who placed red roses and white carnations on the hearse.

Highly professional

A tribute statement said: "Ryan loved and lived life to the full. He gave his life at a very young age doing the job he loved.

"Ryan will be sorely missed by his family and friends and everyone who loved him.

"Ryan will be forever young and never forgotten. Our true hero and shining star."

The airman was on his second tour in Afghanistan and had been working with the local population in the Western Dashte area, on the edge of Nad-e Ali district, when he was fatally wounded.

He died from his wounds at Camp Bastion.

He was described as a "highly professional and skilful" gunner and "one of the rising stars of his squadron and regiment".

Wing Commander Jason Sutton, his commanding officer at No 3 RAF Force Protection Wing at Camp Bastion, said his death had "deprived the RAF Regiment of one of its very best".

The airman's death brings the total number of British forces personnel or MoD civilians to have died while serving in Afghanistan to 398.

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