Afghan blast soldier named

A british soldier killed in Afghanistan on Saturday was named last night.

A british soldier killed in Afghanistan on Saturday was named last night.

Guardsman Neil `Tony' Downes, from the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards, died in Helmand province.

He was the 60th member of UK forces personnel to die in Afghanistan since the start of operations in November 2001.

The death was first announced by Nato, which said four other soldiers had also been injured. When the Ministry of Defence later confirmed the death, it made no comment about the nationalities of those injured.

The MoD said the Guardsman's vehicle was hit by an explosion when on a patrol with the Afghan National Army (ANA) close to the town of Sangin.

The Grenadier Guards and the ANA had been taking part in an operation to help widen and deepen irrigation ditches for locals in the area.

Guardsman Downes died from the injuries he sustained in the explosion.

The 20-year-old, who was from Manchester, joined the Army in 2004 and had already completed one tour in Iraq with the Grenadier Guards last year.

Lieutenant Colonel Carew Hatherley, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said of the dead solider: "He was a resolute and steadfast friend to all who knew him. He excelled as a soldier, whether in tunic and bearskin or combats."

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