Northern Ireland

RIR soldier to be buried alongside baby daughter

L/Cpl Stephen McKee
Image caption L/Cpl McKee was working to disrupt insurgents when he died

The family of a Royal Irish Regiment soldier killed in Afghanistan have said he will be reunited in death with his baby daughter.

Lance Corporal Stephen McKee, 27, died when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Helmand province last week.

His younger brother who was serving alongside him was one of the first to arrive on the scene.

As his body arrived at RAF Lyneham on Thursday, his family said he would be laid to rest beside his baby daughter.

Keeley died a year ago.

The McKee family are in Wootton Bassett for a repatriation ceremony on Thursday afternoon.

In a statement, his parents, from Banbridge, said they were very proud of all he had achieved.

"He was a wonderful and loving husband to Carley and an amazing brother," they said.

"Above all that, Stephen was a soldier and we, as a family, take great comfort from the fact he died doing a job he loved."

The McKees said that their son and his wife had lost their baby daughter "in the most tragic of circumstances".

"Stephen will now be reunited with his little girl when he is laid to rest beside her in Banbridge."

The dead soldier's brothers, father-in-law and cousin have all served with the Royal Irish Regiment.

L/Cpl McKee joined 3rd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment as a part-time soldier in 2003.

When the Home Service was disbanded he decided to transfer to 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment and he joined them at Tern Hill, near Market Drayton in Shropshire, in April 2007.

Lt Col Colin Weir, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, said his death had "sent a wave of shock and sadness through this battlegroup".

Funeral arrangements have yet to be confirmed.

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