Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has paid tribute to the Herefordshire soldier who died in Afghanistan on Saturday.

Oliver Thomas, who grew up in the Kington area, had been working for the Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams before he set off on a military career.

The 26-year-old Lance Corporal was travelling in the Lynx helicopter that came down in the Kandahar Province.

He died alongside Captain Thomas Clarke, Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner and Corporal James Walters. 

The Ministry of Defence said Lance Corporal Thomas joined the Army Reserve in June 2011 and, after moving to London, joined 3 Military Intelligence Battalion in July 2012.


Mr Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, said today: "My heartfelt sympathies go to the family, partner, friends and colleagues of Oliver Thomas.

"Oliver, or Olly as he was known, was taking a break from his role as a researcher in Westminster to Roger Williams.

"I understand from Roger that Olly was an incredibly popular and dedicated member of staff who will be greatly missed.

"It is very sad to hear about the death of a young man who had a promising future ahead of him.

"It is even sadder for those colleagues of Olly in the Liberal Democrats who have lost a fellow activist and dear friend".

Roger Williams, the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, added: “Not only was it a pleasure to work alongside Olly for many years, but I consider it a privilege to have been able to call him a friend.

“We were all so proud of him when he first joined the Army Reserves.  His integrity and strength of character made him a perfect ambassador for our country.

“Olly’s family have so much to be proud of in their son.  Our thoughts are with them at this particularly difficult time.  We will all miss him dearly.”

And Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and AM for Brecon and Radnorshire expressed her deep sympathy and condolences to Olly’s family.

“Olly was an exceptional young man," she said. 

"He was courageous, brave and relished the opportunity to serve his country. 

"He will be missed by everyone who knew him - his family, his friends and his colleagues.”