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28 October 2010, 14:58
The body of a Suffolk based soldier killed while clearing explosives in southern Afghanistan has been returned today.
Acting Corporal David Barnsdale, from 33 Engineer Regiment based at Rock Barracks Woodbridge, 'embodied the finest traditions of a soldier', according to his commanding officer.
The 24-year-old, from Tring, Hertfordshire, died on October 19th, during his second tour of Afghanistan.
Acting Cpl Barnsdale, who joined the Royal Engineers in September 2002, was a search team commander responsible for finding improvised explosives in high risk areas.
His search team was based in an area east of Gereshk, Helmand Province, and was helping the construction of a new check point and patrol base when he was caught in the blast.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Davis, commanding officer of Counter-IED, said: '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.'
Acting Cpl Barnsdale's body has been flown to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire today and a private service has been held at RAF Lyneham's chapel before passing through nearby Wootton Bassett.
Hundreds of people, including his girlfriend and his school friends, gathered in the town's High Street in tribute to the soldier.
The soldier's death took the total number of UK military troops to have died since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001 to 341.