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21 October 2010, 06:51
The Ministry of Defence has named a solider from our region who died in Afghanistan on Tuesday (October 19th).
Acting Corporal David Barnsdale, from 33 Engineer Regiment, was killed while clearing explosive devices in Helmand Province.
The 24-year old soldier, from Tring, Hertfordshire, had been deployed on his second tour of Afghanistan last month after joining the Royal Engineers in September 2002.
Trained as the team commander of a Royal Engineers Search Team, Acting Cpl Barnsdale was responsible for the detection of improvised explosive devices in areas deemed to be high risk.
His search team was deployed on Operation Omid Char - operating in an area east of Gereshk, working towards the construction of a new checkpoint and patrol base to enhance the security of the local population.
During the task, Acting Cpl Barnsdale was caught in the blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) which resulted in his death, the Ministry of Defence said.
The keen sportsman leaves his mother Wendy, his father Stephen, his sister Vanessa and his girlfriend Helen.
In a statement released by the MoD, they said: ``David was a hugely popular guy, a fantastic son, grandson, brother, boyfriend and friend who will be sorely missed.
``We thank everyone for their kindness and support at this difficult time.''
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Davis, commanding officer of counter-IED, said: ``Acting Corporal David Barnsdale, Dave to his friends, was a young, bright and incredibly likeable team leader.
``He died leading his men in what must be one of the most dangerous tasks in the armed forces - that of deliberately searching for IEDs.
``He embodied the finest traditions of a soldier, constantly displaying bucket loads of grit and determination; he was utterly professional but always with a dash of humility.''
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell, commanding officer of 33 Engineer Regiment (explosive ordnance disposal), said Acting Cpl Barnsdale had ``boundless potential and the steely understated determination of a man you know you can rely on in difficult times''.
``His operational service has been exemplary, with busy tours of Iraq and Afghanistan showing the breadth of his talents and a level of experience uncommon in a Lance Corporal.
``My overwhelming memory of Acting Corporal Barnsdale will be his irrepressible enthusiasm and no-nonsense approach.''
Acting Cpl Barnsdale's death takes the total number of UK military personnel to have died since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001 to 341.