Emotional tributes have been paid to a soldier killed in Afghanistan while serving with Dorset-based The Royal Corps of Signals. Described as an ‘utterly outstanding soldier’ by colleagues Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Leonard Perran Thomas died on Sunday (July 1st), during his last operational tour, after being shot dead by a gunman wearing an Afghan police uniform. He leaves his long-term partner Rachel, mother Sylvia and younger brother Tristan.
Killed alongside WO2 Thomas were Guardsman Craig Andrew Roderick and Guardsman Apete Saunikalou Ratumaiyale Tuisovurua of 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards.
The men had been based in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province. They were all wounded when they were attacked by small arms fire while patrolling a check point. They died later.
WO2 Thomas enlisted into the Army at the age of 18 and served in Kuwait, Iraq, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. This was his last operational tour. He had been looking forward to spending time pursuing his passion for the outdoors and spending time with his long-term partner Sergeant Rachel Prosser, who is a member of 37 Signal Regiment (Volunteers).
WO2 Thomas deployed to Afghanistan on 17 February 2012 as the Military Stabilisation Support Team (MSST) operator attached to Combined Force Burma. He had willingly volunteered for one last operational deployment in a bid to improve the lives of Afghans, having spent two and a half years on Full Time Reserve Service. On deployment to Afghanistan he then volunteered to be the Military Stabilisation Support Team Operator within Combined Force Burma due to his military experience.
Prime Minister David Cameron has also paid tribute to the three British soldiers.