One of two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday has been named as Private Joe Whittaker - a Warwickshire-raised reserve soldier in the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.
Pvt Whittaker was killed by a suspected improvised explosive device as he searched for mines.
The 20-year-old, who attended Warwick School and then Stratford Upon Avon College, and was a member of Stratford Hockey Club and Stratford Athletic Club, had hoped to become an Apache helicopter pilot.
He died on the same day as his Parachute Regiment comrade Sgt Major Michael Williams.
Pte Whittaker's mother, Naomi Whittaker, said: "Joe was a truly wonderful son. He was generous, funny, brave and loyal to his friends. He was doing what he wanted to do and he was immensely proud to wear his 'maroon beret'.
"He has wanted to be in the army since joining the School Cadets at the age of 13. He chose to undertake a tour of duty as a private soldier with the Parachute Regiment before going to RMA Sandhurst next spring. He hoped to join the Army Air Corps eventually."
She added: "Joe lived life to the full. He loved his family and friends and was loved by everyone who knew him. His sister Kate and I will miss him more than words can express. We are so proud of him, his courage and his determination to serve his country."
Lieutenant Steve Edwards, a 4 PARA Platoon Commander, said: "In the short time that I knew Private Joe Whittaker, he struck me as being a very enthusiastic and optimistic young soldier, refusing to be tainted by cynicism.
"He was extremely fit, and welcomed any opportunities put upon him to increase his contribution to the team, such as volunteering eagerly to be the section gunner.
"Although he had only been in 4 PARA for a short while, Joe Whittaker's devotion toThe Regiment, and the Army as a whole, could not be doubted."