Afghan bomb blast: Tributes to Blackpool Fusilier Flint
Tributes have been paid to a Blackpool soldier killed when the armoured vehicle he was travelling in was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Fusilier Samuel Flint, 21, was one of three soldiers who died in the blast on Tuesday. Six other soldiers were injured by the bomb.
His family said in a statement he would always be in their hearts and minds.
Fusilier Flint joined the Army in November 2011 and was on his first overseas deployment.
Cpl William Savage, of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and Pte Robert Hetherington, of the 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, a Territorial Army member, also died in the explosion in Helmand.
'Loved his job'
Fusilier Flint's family said: "He was a loving son, the protective brother, courageous nephew, the caring uncle, the loyal grandson that anyone would wish to have.
"The whole family is completely devastated. Everyone should know that Sam loved his job and made his whole family and everyone that knew him very proud."
Charlotte Wilkinson, a friend from Poulton-le-Fylde, said she saw Fusilier Flint, a Manchester City fan, shortly before he left for Afghanistan in March and all his friends were "devastated" at the news of his death.
She said: "He was such a great person. I can't imagine how his family must feel.
"He was the life and soul of the party and always up for a good time. I don't know anyone who had a bad word to say about him."
A spokesman from his former school, Collegiate High School in Blackpool, said: "Sam is remembered as a happy, hard working young man who had many friends and was well liked by staff and students of the school.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
The Ministry of Defence described him as "hugely enthusiastic and motivated" and "an extremely fit soldier who, although quiet, was full of humour and popular with his peers".
Lt Col Robin Lindsay, commanding officer of Fusilier Flint, said he was a soldier "brimming with skill and ability".
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said of the three soldiers: "It is clear from the tributes paid to them that they were exceptional men who served their country with distinction."