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Lance Corporal Adam Drane named as 100th British soldier to die in Afghanistan this year

Adam Drane
Lance Corporal Adam Drane, 23, became the 100th soldier to die in Afghanistan in 2009

The 100th British soldier to die in Afghanistan this year was named tonight as Lance Corporal Adam Drane.

The soldier, from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, died as a result of small arms fire in the Nad-e Ali area, in central Helmand Province, yesterday afternoon.

Colleagues paid tribute to the 23-year-old from Bury St Edmunds as a 'popular, quiet and intelligent' soldier.

L/Cpl Drane was described as a keen boxer and music fan, and was in charge of a four-man team during his time in Afghanistan.

His parents, Desmond and Jackie Drane, said there were 'no words' to describe their loss.

The death brought the total number of British service personnel who have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001 to 237.

This year has been the bloodiest for British forces since the Falklands War in 1982, and follows 39 British deaths in the Afghan conflict in 2006, 42 in 2007 and 51 in 2008.

L/Cpl Drane also leaves a fiancee, Sian Goodenough.

His parents said in a statement: 'No words can adequately describe what our loss means to us. But knowing we are united with all Service families brings comfort.

'As his parents; together with Sian, his fiancee, and on behalf of Christopher, his younger brother, we wish to express our tremendous pride in Adam's achievements: as a son, a brother, and future husband.

'We wish also to honour his chosen profession, which taught him the true meaning of courage and self-sacrifice.

'In the course of his duties, Lance Corporal Adam Drane died at his post, protecting his Company, in the service of his country.'

Best friend Private Paul Kelly, 1 Section, 6 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, added: 'No matter how hard the situation became, he could always cheer me up.

'All we had talked about during the tour was our future weddings and how we were going to be each other's best man and that is exactly what he was.

'His passing has left a space in my heart that will never be filled. He was my "hard rocking" brother and that is how I will remember him.'

Speaking in Pirbright, Surrey, Major Chris Barry, 2nd in command of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, said: 'L/Cpl Drane was a well respected and popular soldier, his quiet and intelligent personality made him an effective and humble leader well able to relate to the soldiers under his command.

'His love of music, warm sense of humour and fun were appreciated by everybody and his death is felt by all.

'Adam was on his second tour of Helmand province and just as in 2007, he was a brave, stoic and reliable man in all situations who inspired and reassured all those around him.'

Last night Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: 'Today we mourn together the 100th British fatality in Afghanistan in 2009. Every loss in Afghanistan is a real and personal tragedy.'

Meanwhile, tribute was paid today to Corporal Loren Christopher Marlton-Thomas and Rifleman Philip Allen, who both lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan.

Cpl. Marlton-Thomas, 28, from 33 Engineer Regiment, was killed by a roadside bomb in Gereshk on the same day as he cleared a route.

His widow Nicola and brother Fraser united in grief at the funeral service in Lytham, Lancashire.

Loren Marlton-Thomas funeral
Corporal Loren Marlton-Thomas's widow Nicola and brother Fraser couldn't hide their distress at the funeral held at St Joseph's Church in Lytham

Corporal Loren Christopher Marlton-Thomas
Corporal Loren Christopher Marlton-Thomas

The funeral of Rifleman Philip Allen, 20, of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, was also held today in Dorset.
Rifleman Allen was killed by an improvised explosive device near Sangin in central Helmand province on the eve of Remembrance Day.

Over 1,000 people turned up to pay their respects to the rifleman, with mourners at the service including his mother Karen Charman-Allen and his 18-year-old fiancee Karina Pharoah, to whom he had proposed the day he flew to Afghanistan.

Rifleman Philip Allen funeral
Rifleman Philip Allen's mother Karen Charman-Allen (far right) and fiance Karina Pharoah follow the coffin into his funeral service at Wimborne Minster in Dorset

Rifleman Philip Allen
Rifleman Philip Allen

Following Rifleman Allen's death, his mother Karen said: 'I would like to thank all of the soldiers who have served with and knew Phil.

'He was proud to have been a soldier in 2 Rifles and to have served on tour with them in Afghanistan.'
Earlier this month a group including bereaved family members, charity campaigners, war veterans and politicians all called for the introduction of a national cemetery for war heroes.

Campaigners believe the cemetery could be placed next to the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield, Staffordshire, which commemorates those killed since the Second World War.

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