UK & World News
Tributes To 'Guardian Angel' British Soldier
The family of a British soldier who died in Afghanistan have described him as "our guardian angel and our hero".
Captain James Anthony Townley died from wounds sustained while serving at Forward Operating Base Shawqat on Friday - the day before his 30th birthday.
The death of the serviceman, of 21 Engineer Regiment, the Corps of Royal Engineers, is not thought to be the result of hostile action.
Capt Townley's family said in a statement: "James was a wonderful, loving and caring son and brother.
"He was devoted to his girlfriend, Helen. He was our guardian angel and our hero.
"We were so proud of him. He touched every part of our lives and his loss has left a huge chasm that we can never fill.
"James will never be forgotten and always in our hearts and thoughts."
Born in Tunbridge Wells, he grew up near Glastonbury in Somerset, and had a first-class degree in Engineering and Computer Science from University College Oxford.
He was said to be an avid sportsman who enjoyed a wide variety of sports including skiing, mountain biking, kite surfing and sailing - and had also rowed for his college while at university.
Capt Townley was deployed to Afghanistan on September 5.
Lieutenant Colonel Chas Story, Commanding Officer, 28 Engineer Regiment, said: "James was an exceptional officer, a great character and unbelievably clever.
"The regiment is devastated that such a bright light has gone out - everyone knew him and it was impossible not to be drawn in by his passion and humour. He was on his third tour of Afghanistan and a volunteer for all three.
"He will never be forgotten."
Captain Luke Wilson, Regimental Signals Officer, 21 Engineer Regiment, said: "James Townley was the epitome of a British Army officer. He excelled at everything he tried yet never flaunted his considerable abilities.
"He left everywhere he went all the better for him being there and I am proud to have had the honour of knowing and working with him."