Prime Minister pays tribute to Afghan crash soldiers
Two Welsh soldiers died after a Lynx helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan. Captain Thomas Clarke, 30, from Cowbridge, and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas, 26, from Brecon, were both killed on Friday.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has paid tribute to one of the men who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
In a statement, he said: "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".
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 families of Captain Thomas Clarke and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas have paid tribute to them in statements released by the Ministry of Defence.
We cannot express enough our devastation at the loss of a truly wonderful husband, son, brother and friend. Tom brought so much happiness and love to everyone he knew with his sparkling blue eyes and cheeky smile.
He had an absolute passion for life and was the best part of us; we are all poorer today without him. We carry your heart, we carry it in our heart.
– Captain Thomas Clarke's family
Oliver was a truly amazing person, living 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 grieving family and friends.
Captain Clarke, 30, from Cowbridge, enlisted as an army officer in May 2007, undertaking officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He then joined the Army Air Corps as a pilot. He was described as an "ambitious and competent young officer" with "a very bright and promising future."
Lance Corporal Thomas, 26, was born in Brecon and joined the Army Reserve in June 2011. He was deployed to Afghanistan with 3 Military Intelligence Battalion in December last year, to serve with the International Security Assistance Force.
His commanding officer said he was a "young, enthusiastic and highly capable Intelligence Corps soldier" who loss will be "deeply felt."