British Army officer killed in Afghanistan

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Viking armoured vehicle

Two British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, with one being the highest ranking British officer to be killed in 30 years.

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, 40, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Trooper Joshua Hammond, 18, of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, were killed when an improvised explosive device was detonated under their Viking armoured vehicle. They had been traveling along the Shamalan Canal, near Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province, on their way to resupply an offensive underway currently against the Taliban.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, the UK Chief of the General Staff, said Thornloe was "an outstanding commanding officer." In a Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement, Dannatt said, "[Thornloe's] courageous, thoughtful stewardship of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards since October last year has seen them superbly prepared for the demands of Afghanistan, both in terms of their professional capability and their unbreakable spirit as a team."

Trooper Hammond, Danntt said in the MoD statement, "was a first class tank crewman who epitomised the spirited and determined approach to operations expected of Royal Armoured Corps soldiers."

Lieutenant Colonel Thorneloe is survived by his wife, Sally, and daughters Hannah and Sophie. Trooper Hammond leaves behind his family, friends, and fiancée.