Royal Anglian soldier killed in Helmand

David BaleA soldier from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was killed in an explosion while on foot patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said.David Bale

The soldier from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment killed in an explosion in Afghanistan yesterday was the first British loss in the country this year.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the soldier died while on foot patrol in the Nad-e Ali area, in Helmand Province. His next of kin have been informed.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel David Wakefield, said: 'His dauntless courage and his sacrifice will not be forgotten.'

His death takes the number of British service personnel who have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001 to 246.

It is also the second loss suffered by the Royal Anglian Regiment, known as the Vikings, in recent weeks.

Lance Corporal Adam Drane, 23, from Bury St Edmunds, was shot dead in Helmand Province in December.

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Alison Burgess, from Bury St Edmunds, whose sons Daniel, 21, and Nicky, 22, are serving in Afghanistan, set up the Viking FSG (Viking Family Support Group),, for families of the regiment's soldiers serving overseas.

She said: 'Our thoughts are with his family and his friends, and the Vikings who are still out there who are doing the job they have been given.'

Currently 400 soldiers from the regiment are serving in Afghanistan

Last year was the bloodiest for British forces since the Falklands War in 1982 with 108 British soldiers dying while serving in Afghanistan.

Four American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb on the same day as the latest British casualty, a Nato spokesman said.

The four, who were attacked in the south of the country, were the first US troops to be killed this year.