Tributes paid to British soldiers 'lured' to death in Afghanistan ambush

The two British soldiers who were killed by a man dressed as a local Afghan policeman on Saturday have been named as Sergeant Gareth Thursby, 29, and Private Thomas Wroe, 18.

Both served in 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's).

Sergeant Gareth Thursby (L) and Private Thomas James Wroe Credit: MoD

Married father-of-two Sergeant Thursby and Private Wroe were shot dead at a checkpoint in the south of Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.

They were lured to their deaths when a man dressed as a local Afghan policeman pretended to be injured so they would help him and then shot them, defence sources said. Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports:

Sgt Thursby from Skipton, North Yorkshire, is survived by his wife Louise and two children, Joshua and Ruby. In a statement, Louise described him as "the love of my life".

He was an amazing husband and father, happy, full of life and kind hearted with a passion for his work and family.

He was brave, hard working, a loving husband who was a devoted father to his children. Our hero.

Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Stenning MBE, the commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington’s), said his nickname was 'bull' because of his powerful stature and strength.

But he added that he was a deeply compassionate leader who saw himself as "a father figure," even encouraging the 30 men and women in his Platoon to call him 'Dad'.

Nahr-e Saraj district in Helmand province, Afghanistan Credit: ITV News

Pte Wroe was deployed to Afghanistan on July 1, shortly after his 18th birthday. He joined the Army in September 2010.

He is survived by his parents, Michael and Claire, and sister Demi, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. His family said in a statement:

You would light up the room with your smile and bubbly personality. Our world will be a duller place without you.

We are so proud of you son, on all you achieved and we are grateful for every special thing you gave us.

According to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Stenning MBE, Pte Wroe had "pushed hard to join the Regiment in Afghanistan" at the soonest opportunity.

He said Pte Wroe had impressed his colleagues showing a high degree of professionalism and commitment for such a young soldier.

The Ministry of Defence said an investigation was under way into the circumstances of the soldiers' deaths.

Their deaths follow a turbulent few days in Afghanistan.

On Friday Lance Corporal Duane Groom, from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, died after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

On the same day two US Marines were killed during an attack on Camp Bastion.

Today, at least one Afghan police officer turned his gun on Nato troops at a remote checkpoint in the country's south, killing four American service members before escaping, according to Afghan and international officials.

The number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 has been brought to 430.