Dead British soldier named by MoD

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Sergeant Peter Rayner
Image caption,
Sergeant Peter Rayner, 34, was killed in an explosion on Friday

A British soldier killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Sergeant Peter Rayner, 34, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed on Friday.

The soldier was carrying out a patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj area of Helmand Province.

The number of British military personnel killed in operations in Afghanistan since 2001 is now 340.

Sgt Rayner's wife Wendy led tributes to the "fantastic" and "loving" husband and father to son, Derek.

"He loved his job and doing something which he believed in.

"He will be sincerely missed by all who knew him," she said.

Sgt Rayner was born into a military family, and his parents Peter and Bernadette said their son was "always full of energy and was someone who enjoyed life to the full".

"As a soldier he loved his job and was totally committed to the Army, as well as his family and friends.

"As a son and brother, he was a fun-loving and caring person of whom we are all very proud.

"We loved him so dearly and will miss him with all our hearts."

The MoD said Sgt Rayner, who had also served in Bosnia and Iraq, would be "sorely missed" and remembered for his "pre-eminence as a Javelin Commander, for his forthright manner and for his huge personality".

Sgt Rayner's bravery and courage had attracted much praise in Afghanistan, it said.

Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, said: "He was honest, loyal and always vocal.

"A true Lion of England and a man of high morals, guts and integrity.

'Lasting impression'

"A man who cared not just for the morale of his soldiers, but in how that morale was created.

"A man with great spirit and forthrightness, who was as true as his aim was with a Javelin Missile."

Major Paul Tingey, Officer Commanding Arnhem Company, 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, said Sgt Rayner left a "lasting impression" on people.

"He spoke his mind and always had the best interests of his men at heart.

"He was someone that you could rely on to tell you exactly what he thought. I always welcomed his words of advice.

"I will remember Skippy as a devoted family man, a fanatical mountain biker and one of the best commanders that I have had the privilege to work with," he said.