1. ITV Report

Ministry of Defence name British soldier killed in Afghan blast

A soldier who died of wounds sustained in Afghanistan has been named at Sapper Connor Ray, from 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) based at Wimbish in Essex

Sapper Ray was involved in a search and clearance operation in the Nad 'Ali district of central Helmand on April 11.

The aim of the mission was to clear a compound previously used by insurgents, allowing the local population to safely return to the area.

During this operation Sapper Ray was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device.

Sapper Connor Ray Credit: MoD

He received immediate medical attention and was later evacuated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Sapper Connor Ray, aged 21, from Newport, started his military career in January 2008 at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

He leaves behind his brother Vinnie, stepfather Steve, sisters Hollie and Bonnie, and girlfriend Hollie.

In a statement the family of Sapper Ray said: "We are intensely shocked, distressed and saddened after losing our hero Connor Ray, who died as a result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan.

“We are all tremendously proud of Connor. Connor was part of Britain's engineer search unit - 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD); he was critically hurt last Wednesday, the eve of his 21st birthday.”

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell, Commanding Officer 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD), said: "The tragic loss of Sapper Ray has shaken both the EODand Search Task Force and the Regiment deeply. At this most difficult time my thoughts and heart felt condolences are with his family and his many friends.

"An extremely positive and determined young soldier, Sapper Ray was a real team player. Amiable and upbeat, he had a natural ability to encourage and inspire others with his limitless optimism.

"He would often befound in the gym, working hard to maintain his fitness, whilst setting anexcellent example to those less motivated.

"A very professional soldier, he had taken to the extremely challenging role of being a High Assurance Searcher with gusto and had already demonstrated significant potential in this specialist role. Sapper Ray undoubtedly had a bright future ahead of him."

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