Tributes paid to three soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Tributes have been paid to two Welsh Guards and a former member of the regiment shot dead in Afghanistan.

Craig Roderick and Apete Tuisovurua of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Warrant Officer Leonard Perran Thomas of the Royal Corps of Signals were killed on Sunday.

They died as they left a checkpoint at Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

The mother of Guardsman Roderick, 22, said never in her worst nightmares did she expect to say goodbye to him.

The former pupil of Pencoed Comprehensive School, in Bridgend county, who joined the Army in 2009, had chatted to friends on Facebook the day before he was killed.

Sadie Lowrey, his mother, wrote on the website: "To our beautiful son Craig, never thought in a million years, or our worst nightmares, that this would happen and we have to say goodbye to you.

"Our baby boy. Love you forever and more, Daddy and Mummy."

She also thanked everyone who had left messages of condolence on his Facebook page.

Guardsman Roderick's grandparents wrote a message of thanks to those who had paid tribute to him.

'Cherish every memory'

"He was also the life and soul of family gatherings from, Sunday lunches to a cup of tea and biscuits," they said.

"We will cherish every memory now that he is no longer here. Memories will stay with us everyday and will live in our hearts forever."

Guardsman Tuisovurua, 28, who was born in Fiji, was described by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as an exemplary member of the Welsh Guards, whom he joined in June 2011.

He was said to have had a bright future ahead of him thanks to his "professionalism, determination and unswerving sense of duty".

Commanding officer Lt Col Dino Bossi said: "Guardsman Apete Tuisovurua was a gentle and decent man who was defined by his love of sport, his uplifting company and his willingness to go out of his way to help anyone.

"One of nature's true gentlemen, he had a deeply moral outlook on life and enduring principles by which he lived.

"He was extremely fit and robust but without show or arrogance.

"Everybody liked him - one could not fail to - and his infectious smile broke down barriers wherever he went."

He leaves behind his mother, father, four brothers and three sisters.

Warrant Officer Thomas, 44, known as "Pez" and based in Cardiff although from Herefordshire, enlisted in the Army in 1990, aged 23.

He was later transferred to the 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards, finishing his regular service in 2005.

The MoD said this was his final operational tour and he had been looking forward to spending time with his long-term partner Rachel and his mother Sylvia. He also had a younger brother Tristan.

His family said in a tribute: "Pez was a military man through and through.

"He thrived in extreme environments, both in the military and in his spare time.

"He was a keen climber and mountaineer and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege to have met him."

An Afghan policeman suspected of shooting dead the soldiers has been named by an Afghan police commander as Ziarahman.

Ziarahman, aged 25, who reportedly came from Herat in western Afghanistan, was injured and later detained.

The soldiers were part of Nato-led Isaf (international Security Assistance Force), who have been training Afghan counterparts ahead of a handover of security responsibility by 2014.

The shooting happened at Checkpoint Kamparack Pul in Nahr-e-Saraj, southern Afghanistan, where the soldiers were attending a meeting of elders.

They received first aid but died of their injuries at the scene.The Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) confirmed the gunman had been an officer for nine months and was originally from Herat, western Afghanistan.

More than 20 foreign personnel have been killed in rogue shootings in Afghanistan this year.

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