Tributes to Bicester-Based Soldiers

6 May 2012, 09:30 | Updated: 6 May 2012, 09:32

The children of an Oxfordshire-based soldier killed in Afghanistan have paid tribute to their dad saying they 'love him to the moon and back'.

Corporal Andrew Roberts, 32, died on Friday alongside Private Ratu Manasa Silibaravi in Helmand province.

Corporal Roberts' children Jessica, six, Kyle, five and Kayla, three, said: "For our brave Dad who went away to build sandcastles and stop the bad men hurting people. We love you to the moon and back.

"You are an angel in Heaven now looking down on us all, we wish yesterday had never happened and you were still here to phone us and take us out. You are our Hero and we will pray for you always.''

Corp RobertsThe soldiers, from the Royal Logistic Corps in Bicester, were attached to 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh Battlegroup when they were caught in an indirect fire attack.

Corporal Roberts (pictured left), who was born in Middlesbrough, was on his second tour of Afghanistan and had served on operations in Bosnia and Iraq.

His colleague Fiji-born Private Silibaravi, also 32, was commended as a "quiet, yet determined and popular soldier''.

Private SilibaraviThe serviceman (pictured bottom left), who leaves behind his parents, Meli and Merewalesi, his brother Saimoni, and sister Mereoni, was new to the specialist role of Advanced Searcher. His job also involved working to detect make-shift bombs.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell, Commanding Officer Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Task Force, said: "Strong and fit, he had an excellent work ethic, throwing himself wholeheartedly at every challenge.