Salute to tragic soldiers killed in war zone blast

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FIVE of the six soldiers killed by an explosion in Afghanistan are from the main Army infantry regiment which recruits in South Yorkshire.

The Third Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment – formerly the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment – draws its soldiers heavily from Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster. The sixth soldier caught in the blast is from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

All the soldiers’ families have been notified of the tragedy – one of the worst of the Afghanistan war to date – and the soldiers’ names are expected to be released within the next day.

The blast takes to 404 the number of British forces killed in the country since 2001, and represents the biggest single loss of UK life in one incident in Afghanistan since 2006.

The soldiers were on patrol in a Warrior armoured vehicle travelling in convoy when it was caught in a blast at a road junction.

Doncaster North MP and Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said: “Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues. This is a dark day. We salute all our fallen and those who continue to serve in the face of the gravest danger.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This is a desperately sad day for our country and desperately sad of course for the families concerned. It is a reminder of the huge price we are paying for the work we are doing in Afghanistan and the sacrifice our troops have made and continue to make.”

The news comes as around half of ‘3 Yorks’ prepare to deploy to Helmand Province next month.

The soldiers are the first fatalities from the battalion since Corporal Liam Riley, from Killamarsh and a colleague died in February 2010.

The last serviceman from South Yorkshire to be killed in Afghanistan was Barnsley TA soldier, Private Matthew Thornton, of the Yorkshire Regiment’s Fourth Battalion, who died in November.