Aldershot Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

17 September 2012, 09:38 | Updated: 17 September 2012, 09:53

Tributes are being paid to Lance Corporal Duane Groom from Aldershot's The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The 32-year-old, who was born in Fiji, was killed in Afghanistan on Friday when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

The Ministry of Defence says he was protecting his Afghan and British colleagues when he was killed in Helmand province.

Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:

"Lance Corporal Groom was an outstanding soldier in every respect.

"Tough, keen, and unflappable, he was utterly committed to his fellows and the cause.

"We are all tremendously proud of what he achieved during his time in the regiment, and particularly out here in Afghanistan where he contributed so much.

"His many friends and the broader battlegroup will never forget this most talented of men. Moreover, we are determined to finish the mission that he so bravely helped to start.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends outside the regiment at this most difficult of times.''

Lance Corporal Groom was described by his bosses as a superb soldier - "fit, conscientious and extremely hard-working'' and displaying great potential.

Corporal Joe Roligadra, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said: "I have known Duane since I was 14 and he was always like a big brother to me.

"He was the sort of person who always had your back covered in good times and in bad times.

"We have been through a lot together before we joined the Army and he was always very decent and generous to me.

"The loyalty that he showed me was over and above that of normal brotherhood.

"I remember that when things got rough he would always tell 'Joe, everything is going to be okay,' and he always shared everything he had with me.

"He was a caring and honest person and was full of life; when growing up in Fiji together I always used to say that he had 'the best smile in paradise'.

"The more I think about him, the more I miss him. He was the perfect brother that I had always wished for."

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lance Corporal Duane Groom and my thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.

"Lance Corporal Groom gave his life protecting Britain's national security; his efforts will not be in vain, and he will not be forgotten.''

He was the 428th member of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001.

(Photo thanks to the MOD.)