UK & World News
Afghanistan Death: MoD Names British Soldier
A British soldier who died after he was wounded in an explosion in southern Afghanistan last week has been named as Sapper Connor Ray.
The member of 33 Engineer Regiment's family also revealed he suffered his ultimately fatal injuries on the day before his 21st birthday.
He was flown back to the UK after being seriously injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on April 11, but died in Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The Ministry of Defence said he had been helping to clear a compound previously used by insurgents in the Nad'e Ali district of central Helmand when he was caught in the blast.
Sapper Ray, from Newport, began his military career in 2008 and joined 33 Engineer Regiment in 2010, where he trained as an advanced searcher.
He leaves his brother, Vinnie, stepfather Steve, sisters Hollie and Bonnie, and girlfriend Hollie.
A statement issued by his family said: "We are intensely shocked, distressed and saddened after losing our hero Connor Ray. We are all tremendously proud of Connor.
"In heaven with his mum now, we will always remember his love of life, his sense of humour and cherish the short time he had to touch our lives. We would like to thank everybody for their kind words, love and support at this tragic time."
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell, Commanding Officer 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), said: "The tragic loss of Sapper Ray has shaken both the EOD and Search Task Force and the Regiment deeply.
"At this most difficult time my thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with his family and his many friends.
"An extremely positive and determined young soldier, Sapper Ray was a real team player. Amiable and upbeat, he had a natural ability to encourage and inspire others with his limitless optimism."
Corporal Jamie Paul, Section Commander, 49 Field Squadron, said: "Connor was simply one of the best Sappers I've ever known and even more, he was a true friend.
"Kind in nature, Connor is what a Sapper should be; extremely fit, reliable and trustworthy. He will be sadly missed by his friends, family and loved ones."