Cheshire soldier killed in Afghanistan

Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones, 21, died of a gun shot wound in a Nato base.

The soldier from Runcorn died at a Nato patrol base in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province on Tuesday.  Military investigators say they don't think his death is after hostile action and they're not looking for anyone else.

In a statement, his family said: "Ian was a lovable character, a devoted father to Dylan, who is eight months old, husband to Kellyanne, a wonderful son to Robert and Amanda and brother to Alan.

"He will always be missed and loved by all his family and friends.''

Ian enlisted into the Royal Corps of Signals in February 2007 and has carried out tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Paul Griffiths, Tigris Troop Staff Sergeant, 20th Armoured Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (200), said: "Signaller Sartorius-Jones, S-J, was one of the Troop's characters; a much liked and popular member of the Signal Squadron as a whole.

"S-J had a promising career ahead of him, whichever path he chose. A popular lad both in work and outside, he fitted in well with the small, tight knit team.

"He will be sorely missed by all those in the Squadron and not easily replaced. His death has been a shock to us all, our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.''

Signaller Craig Billins, Queen's Royal Hussars Rear Link Detachment, 20th Armoured Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (200), said: "S-J was one of my most devoted friends. A lively and fun person to be around, he always had something to say.

"Knowing him closely for over three years, he became a dear friend.  Prior to S-J getting married and moving in with his wife, we shared a room together at 200 Signal Squadron and shared many good times over a beer.

"I will always miss him and the good times that we shared, my heart goes out to his wife and young son."

Major Stu Whittley, Officer Commanding, 20th Armoured Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (200), paid tribute to a "gregarious, immensely respected and highly capable Signaller". 

"I will remember Signaller Sartorius-Jones for his dedication to his mates, upbeat nature and cutting sense of humour.

"A hugely popular soldier, notorious for his own individual style and taste in music, he was always to be found at the centre of any activity with a smile on his face.

"A former British national tae kwon do champion and an able footballer, he was relaxed and easy-going in work, and his unbounded energy and ability to motivate others were an inspiration to us all.

"As a senior signaller he took his role of mentoring and developing those around him seriously, especially in the build up to and deployment on operations.

"It is a mark of the man that he rarely took the credit for or acknowledged these actions, it was simply what he did."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, added: "I was saddened to hear of the death of Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones.

"I understand that he was at the start of a promising career and showed real dedication to his fellow service men and women. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

A total of 396 British troops have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in October 2001.