A HEREFORDSHIRE soldier was among those who died in Afghanistan yesterday morning.
Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas was travelling in the Lynx helicopter that came down in the Kandahar Province.
Captain Thomas Clarke, Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner and Corporal James Walters also lost their lives in the accident.
Lance Cpl Thomas was 26 and based in London. However he had grown up in the Kington area and previously worked for the Brecon and Radnor Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams.
He joined the Army Reserve in June 2011, and enlisted with 3 Military Intelligence Battalion in July 2012. He volunteered to be mobilised from the Army Reserves for deployment to Afghanistan and arrived last December to be part of the United Kingdom’s contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Commanding Officer, 3 Military Intelligence Battalion, said: "The news of the death of Lance Corporal Oliver Matthew Thomas is devastating to his friends and companions in 3 Military Intelligence Battalion.
"This tragic incident has taken a young, enthusiastic and highly capable Intelligence Corps soldier away from us and his loss is deeply felt by all members of the Unit and the Intelligence Corps as a whole.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, particularly his parents, at this most difficult time.
His Officer Commanding said: "Lance Corporal Oli Thomas was the embodiment of his generation: bright, gifted with an enquiring mind and laser focussed on the task in-hand.
"The bonus for us was that he was also blessed with a natural flair and the happy-knack of always being able to raise a smile with his keen sense of wit.
"The future and uncertainty did not disturb him. He only saw opportunity ahead and, ultimately, it was his irresistible addiction to the life-force that took him away.
"It is with regret and to my loss that I did not know Oli for longer – but in only a short time he made an immediate and lasting impression.
"His absence has left an enormous gap in a close-knit team. We will remember him."
In a statement released through the Ministry of Defence, his family said he was a truly amazing person, who lived his life to the full, while fulfilling some of his many dreams and adventures.
"He was very much loved and will be greatly missed by his grieving family and friends," they added.