Tributes paid to servicemen killed in helicopter crash
Family and colleagues have paid tribute to the five servicemen killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence has now released the names of the men, the youngest of whom was 26 years old.
Family and colleagues have paid tribute to the five servicemen who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
The family of Lance Cpl Oliver Thomas, the youngest of the five at 26 years of age, said he was a "truly amazing person", while his commanding officer called him "bright, gifted with an enquiring mind and laser focussed on the task in-hand".
The commanding officer of Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan said he was "a hugely influential and well respected officer whose enthusiasm and professionalism permeated every aspect of his work".
Captain Tom Clarke was called a "fantastic young officer" by his commanding officer, while his family paid tribute to a "truly wonderful husband, son, brother and friend" with an "absolute passion for life".
Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner was praised by his commanding officer for his "guile, leadership and bravery", while his family said he was a "loving husband to Cally and devoted father to Natasha and Jack" who would leave a "huge gap...in our hearts forever".
Corporal James Walters, known as 'Bungle' by friends and colleagues, was described by his commanding officer as a "huge character" whose loss had "devastated" his squadron. Corporal Walters' family paid tribute to a "beautiful and loving husband, daddy, son, and brother".
Of five killed in Lynx crash - youngest was Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas at 26 and joined Army Reserve just 3 years ago
His commanding officer said: “Lance Corporal Oli Thomas was the embodiment of his generation: bright, gifted with an enquiring mind and laser focused 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. His absence has left an enormous gap in a close-knit team. We will remember him."
The Station Commander Group Captain Richard Maddison has described the men based at RAF Odiham in north Hampshire who died in the helicopter crash as professional and enthusiastic.
As with all losses of personnel in Afghanistan, we mourn the loss of our most capable and dedicated personnel, who served without complaint and in full understanding of the risks associated with their roles.
They were fine ambassadors for their Unit and for Defence as a whole, and we shall not forget them".
– Group Captain Richard Maddison, Station Commander
The names of those killed in the Afghanistan helicopter crash have been released by the Ministry of Defence.
Five service personnel lost their lives following the crash of a Lynx helicopter in Southern Afghanistan.
The MoD statement named those who were killed as:
Captain Thomas Clarke Army Air Corps; Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner Army Air Corps; Corporal James Walters Army Air Corps and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas Intelligence Corps, and Flight Lieutenant Chauhan.
RAF commanders have judged it safe for the Lynx helicopters to continue flying in Afghanistan while an investigation into five British soldiers is carried out, the Ministry of Defence has said.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "These tragic deaths remind us of the continued commitment and sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors and airmen serving in Afghanistan as we support the Afghans to take full responsibility for the security of their own territory.
"Lynx Mk 9A helicopters have a good operational safety record and commanders have judged that it is safe for the fleet to continue to operate while the investigation is carried out."
The Taliban often falsely claimed responsibility for the deaths of Nato forces, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said, following the deaths of five British soldiers in southern Afghanistan. Mr Hague told Sky News' Murnaghan programme:
This appears to have been a tragic accident, although it is still being investigated. It is a reminder of the work that our troops still do in Afghanistan.
Of course at the end of this year we will come to an end of the combat role, or having our troops there in any significant numbers. But the work that they do is still dangerous, it is still very valuable in Afghanistan.
An investigation is underway to determine why a Lynx helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing five service personnel.
Investigators from the Military Aviation Authority have cordoned off the crash site near Kandahar and will inspect the wreckage of the light utility aircraft.
The inquiry is likely to look at the aircraft's log books and other documentation, in addition to weather conditions and whether the helicopter was carrying out an authorised job according to its capabilities, experts said.
A spokeswoman said: "The investigation is now underway, and the area of the crash has been cordoned off. We cannot go into further details. [...] At this stage it is not known how long the investigation might last or when investigators will deliver their report, but it will be a thorough inquiry."
Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to five British military personnel who were killed when a Lynx helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan
Every British fatality is a source of deep sadness. This latest incident, which has cost the lives of five UK service personnel, brings home to us all once again how our armed forces continue to put their lives on the line to help the people of Afghanistan.
I cannot pay high enough tribute to each and every one of them for the job that they do and the sacrifices that they make.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said people across the UK would be saddened by the news and his thoughts were with the families, friends and colleagues of those killed.
He said: "This is a tragic and poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces in serving our country with bravery and distinction. I pay tribute to them and their continuing work in Afghanistan, elsewhere abroad, and here at home.
"I mourn with all those who have lost loved ones, their grief is shared by people right across Britain at this very sad time."
Shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker added: "This tragic news from Afghanistan will cause great sadness to our Armed Forces personnel and to the entire country.
"On a day like today, the British people and our servicemen and women stand together as one. I send my thoughts and prayers to all those affected by this terrible tragedy, especially the families of those killed."