Lancashire

Former Blackpool soldier dies in Afghanistan explosion

Private Tomas Dale
Image caption Private Dale moved from Blackpool to Adelaide in 2003

A 21-year-old man who moved to Australia from Blackpool has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan.

Private Tomas Dale, 21, moved from the Lancashire resort with his family to live in Adelaide when he was 14.

He joined the Australian Army in 2007 and was serving with the Brisbane-based 6th Battalion when he was killed in Oruzgan province on Friday.

Pt Dale, who was known as Tomas Nuttall when he lived in the UK, still has family in Blackpool.

Jim Holdsworth, an army veteran from Blackpool, contacted his relatives and said they were "devastated" to hear of his death.

'Very proud'

He said: "As you would expect they are absolutely devastated, in particular his two grandparents, Pat and Dennis Higson, and John and Di Dale, as well as close members of the family, they are all absolutely devastated at the news."

Pte Dale went to St John's C of E School in Blackpool before moving to the Marton area, where he want to Stanley Infants School and then to St George's School.

A statement released by Pte Dale's parents, father David and mother Karen, and brothers, Sam and Joe, said they were very proud of him.

"Tomas loved the army and it was all he wanted to do from an early age," they said.

"He knew the risks from going overseas but he was willing to take that risk for the cause he believed in.

"Tomas loved his family, brothers and girlfriend and we all loved him very much and are very proud of him.

"Tomas was a great bloke and will never be forgotten. His brothers Sam and Joe will greatly miss him."

Private Grant Kirby was also killed in the explosion.

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