Tributes have been pouring in for a Bromsgrove soldier who was killed at the weekend in a rocket attack in Afghanistan.
Private Robert Laws, 18, was killed on Saturday during Operation Panther’s Claw in Helmand Province.
Army bosses say the Worcestershire teenager, known as Robbie, was a popular member of his platoon who became known for his “mischievous sense of humour and cheeky wit”.
The young soldier completed his training only last March before he was sent to Afghanistan on a six-month tour with 2nd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment
A statement from his family said: “The parents and close family are immensely proud of their popular and loving son.They would like to thank all their friends for their loving support at this very difficult time.”
Commanding officer Lt Col Simon Banton said: “Robbie only joined 2nd Mercian a very short time ago but had already begun to make his mark.
“He was excited and eager to deploy to Afghanistan and this only a few days after his 18th birthday. He was a warm and cheerful young man who mucked in when there was work to be done and quickly made friends. Robbie’s falling has taken a good soldier from us, a man who was not afraid to move forward, endure hardship and he had the courage to fight the enemy alongside his brothers. Robbie died alongside his mates in B Company and his death has rocked them – they will hold him in their hearts as they fight on. The entire Regiment’s prayers are with Robbie’s family who are devastated by his loss.”
Private Daniel Eaglesfield, who met Robbie during training and was posted to Afghanistan with him, said: “Robbie was like a brother to me and we always looked out for each other, we shared many stories and laughter together. I will never forget the smile he always had on his face. We used to talk a lot about our girlfriends back at home and how much we loved them, he was planning to take his girlfriend to Paris when the tour was over. I am proud to say he was my friend and my heart goes out to his family, friends and girlfriend. May you rest in peace Robert Laws.”
Another soldier, Lance Corporal David Dennis, was killed in a separate incident near Gereshk. The 29-year-old, from Llanelli, South Wales, was killed by an improvised explosive device.
Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth MP, said: “The deaths of Lance Corporal David Dennis and Private Robert Laws were a desperately sad loss to their colleagues in Afghanistan, and indeed to the Armed Forces community.
“These two men were highly regarded by their comrades and commanders, and their deaths remind us of the ferocious conditions endured daily by our soldiers in Afghanistan, and the great gravity of what we are doing there. My deepest sympathies are with these two grieving families.”