Two UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan named by MoD

Image caption,
Pte Lewis Hendry (left) and Pte Conrad Lewis (right) were both on patrol when they were shot

Two British paratroops shot dead on patrol in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday have been named.

Pte Lewis Hendry, of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, who would have been 21 on Saturday, was said by his parents to have had a "true heart of gold".

Pte Conrad Lewis, 22, from 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was described by his family as someone who "made you feel good about life".

The men died in small arms fire in the Nad Ali district in Helmand.

The number of British military deaths on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 stands at 354.

'The Paratrooper'

Pte Hendry, from Norwich, died at the scene after suffering serious gunshot wounds when their foot patrol came under fire.

His family said in a statement: "Lewis lived life to the full - and more. Words can't describe how much he will be missed.

"He was not only a soldier, a son, brother and grandson, but a friend to all."

His parents, who did not want to be named, added: "So proud of him, his smile lit up every room he walked into. A true heart of gold and such a lovely boy to be around."

Regimental Sgt Maj Richard Hames, of the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment described Pte Hendry as "the paratrooper", saying he was professional, motivated, with bags of confidence and a core of steel.

"He was a soldier who could be relied upon to get the job done, however big the call was," he added.

Maj Richard Todd, officer commanding A Company, said Pte Hendry had been selected to be a patrols platoon soldier for his "bravery, selflessness, intense professionalism and a deep love of soldiering and his fellow soldiers".

Pte Scott Young said Pte Hendry was one of his closest friends "in and out of work".

"Lewis was always number one with both girlfriends and mates, and he was constantly the centre of attention and had everything you would ever want!

"He was always the best-looking bloke and would always have a good chat-up line or a crazy story.

"Lewis would have gone far in life and was pretty much good at everything he set his mind to."

'Very finest'

Pte Lewis, from Bournemouth, was also four months into his tour of Afghanistan. The 22-year-old suffered a serious gunshot wound and he died later after being taken from the scene by helicopter.

His family said in a statement: "It is a cliche to say that everyone loved him, but they did, from people of his own generation to adults of all generations.

"If you met Conrad you were touched by him and he made you feel good about life."

They added that he was an "incredible athlete" and "served the regiment and his nation with the spirit and vigour that he approached everything in life".

Pte Lewis' girlfriend, Georgina, known as George, said: "I feel so blessed to have had you in my life, you have made these last three years truly unforgettable."

Lt Col John Boyd, Commanding Officer, 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said Pte Lewis demonstrated "the very finest of British society".

Lt Col James Coates, Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said as a reservist soldier he could have chosen the "easy option in life and remained a part-time soldier at home".

"However, he aspired to serve with 3 Para on operations and he fulfilled this ambition in spades," he said.

Maj Todd, officer commanding A Company, added: "Conrad died alongside Pte Lewis Hendry in the same manner in which he had lived - looking out for his friends."

Pte Luke Flanagan said Pte Lewis was "probably the loudest bloke in the checkpoint", adding: "I probably owe you my life and I will remember you for the rest of it."

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: "Private Lewis Hendry and Private Conrad Lewis have both made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives to bring security to the Nad Ali district, denying the area to the enemy and protecting the safety of our country.

"My thoughts are with their families, friends and colleagues at this difficult time."