World News

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Tributes paid to 'patriotic' sapper

Published 09/01/2013 | 22:25

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Sapper Richard Reginald Walker was shot dead by a member of the Afghan National Army in Helmand province

The family of a British soldier shot dead by a member of the Afghan National Army (ANA) has paid tribute to the "proud, patriotic man".

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Sapper Richard Reginald Walker - a member of 28 Engineer Regiment attached to 21 Engineer Regiment - was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Monday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the "insider attack" at Patrol Base Hazrat.

Sapper Walker, 23, has left behind a young daughter, Lilly-Faith. He was described as an avid football fan who quickly gained friends across the spectrum of ranks.

His relatives paid tribute to their son and brother in a statement, which read: "Richard held two things close to his heart - his daughter and his colleagues in the Army. A proud, patriotic man, he died doing a job he loved, supporting his friends."

He was killed as he worked on a construction task with other military engineers as part of preparations to hand the camp over to Afghan security forces. The Afghan soldier opened fire on international and ANA troops, killing Sapper Walker and injuring six others. They were all taken to the Bastion Role 3 medical facility, where Sapper Walker was pronounced dead.

Leeds-born Sapper Walker worked as a technician for car manufacturer Vauxhall before joining the Army in July 2008. He completed training to become a driver before completing major exercises in Canada and Kenya with 28 Engineer Regiment. He had only known his daughter for 18 months before he was deployed for his first tour of Afghanistan in September.

Lieutenant Colonel Chas Story, Commanding Officer, 28 Engineer Regiment, said: "Sapper Walker was the epitome of a true Sapper, one who would roll up his sleeves and get on with the task in hand no matter what, but importantly he would do it with great humour.

"He made sure that he made the most of every opportunity, both in the Army and at home; it is without doubt that he had a lot to offer and a bright future."

Sapper Matthew Cunningham, 28 Engineer Regiment, said: "I have so many good memories from over the last three years but the one that stands out the most for me was the day that he christened his daughter Lilly-Faith. He was so proud of her; that day I remember him standing that extra inch taller and his smile beaming more than usual."

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