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30 March 2010, 14:21
Tributes have been paid to a Kent soldier who has been killed in Afghanistan.
The body of Rifleman Daniel Holkham, from 3rd Battalion The Rifles, has been flown back to RAF Lyneham today for a repatriation ceremony after the 19 year old was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Sangin on Saturday.
The teenager from Chatham joined the Army when he was 16 and was deployed to Afghanistan in September 2009.
He was working with his Platoon from a patrol base in central Sangin to provide security and development to the local people.
Rifleman Holkham leaves behind his parents Rodney and Tracy, his girlfriend Nikki, and his two brothers Andrew and Matthew who are both serving with 3 RIFLES who were also at today's service.
Rifleman Holkham's family said: "The loss of our son Danny has left a huge hole in our lives and that of his brothers and friends that can never again be filled. He served his country faithfully and with great pride."
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, Commanding Officer, 3 RIFLES Battle Group said: "Daniel Holkham was a model Rifleman; robust, bright and dedicated, he was everything a commander could hope for and more. Joining us a year before our build up training for this deployment, he had ample opportunity to show that he had both quality and potential in abundance.
"There is no doubt that a bright future lay ahead of this young man and it is a tragedy that he has been robbed of the opportunity to fulfil it.
"Rifleman Holkham was well established as the lead man in his patrol, responsible for searching the ground for buried explosive devices to allow his patrol to pass safely.
"The selflessness and professionalism required to carry out this task, day after day, in the most challenging of environments, is one of the most humbling things to witness.
"Rifleman Holkham carried out this task diligently, willingly and with plenty of professional pride, such was his dedication to his fellow Riflemen. He died at the head of his patrol, another unquestioningly courageous Rifleman intercepting a crazed suicide bomber before he could cause havoc in the Sangin bazaar.
"The loss of a Rifleman so full of promise is a devastating blow to the Battle Group but we will draw inspiration from his example and continue undeterred in carrying out the valuable work for which he laid down his life.
"The thoughts and prayers of this whole Battle Group are very much with his family at this most difficult time. We know that they remember him, as we do, with happiness and pride. We all and draw comfort and inspiration from his honoured memory."