Watford Soldier Dies In Afganistan

The mother of a soldier, from Watford, killed in Afghanistan has paid tribute to her son, describing him as a "fun-loving action man'' who was "so proud to be a soldier''.

Private Thomas Lake was serving with the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment. He died on Sunday in a blast from an improvised explosive device in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Central Helmand.

The 29 year old from Watford was a member of a joint foot patrol with the Afghan National Security Forces when the explosion happened.

His mother Carol said, "Tom was a wonderful son and I will miss him more than I can say. He had so many friends who will remember him as a loyal, fun-loving action man who was always the first to try anything new and usually excelled at it. Tom loved the Army and was so proud to be a soldier; he died doing something he loved and believed in. I will always be proud of my boy.''

His death takes the number of British troops who have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 to 389.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokeswoman said Private Lake was taking part in a patrol to reassure the local population when he was caught in the explosion, adding that he was airlifted to the field hospital at Camp Bastion where he was pronounced dead. Private Lake joined the Army in November 2009 and passed out of training in May 2010, joining 1 PWRR, known as the "Tigers'', in Germany shortly afterwards.

The MoD spokeswoman said that on joining the battalion he attended courses, including the Infantry Assault Pioneers' Course and the Team Medics' Course, and recently completed part one of the Snipers' Course in Brecon, Mid Wales. He joined B Company and was deployed to Canada with 4 Platoon in July 2010 and stayed with that platoon for the rest of his training and deployment to Afghanistan.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Coote, said: "Private Lake epitomised the very best qualities of the British infantryman. He was a true Tiger - ever professional and totally committed to his mates and his battalion.''

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