The British soldier who died in Iraq this week has been named as Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington.
The soldier, from the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2 LANCS), was part of a 500-strong British Army force currently in the country.
LCpl Scott Hetherington The young soldier on a previous deployment They’re training Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS), with 2 LANCS soldiers providing protection to the troops doing the training.
His aunt Nicola Hetherington described the family as being "devastated".
Brother Nigel Hetherington, meanwhile, posted on Facebook:
"I’ll always love you kid. So proud of you it’s unreal. I’ll never forget you or your stories. You truly are one in a million. Sleep tight little bro. Look after nan for us until we meet again. Love you Scott, more than I ever let on."
LCpl Hetherington, known as ‘Snowball’ to friends, came from Middleton, in Greater Manchester.
It’s understood he had a baby daughter with his partner less than three months ago.
A statement from the MoD, meanwhile, said:
"It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington."
An earlier statement had said:
"The death occurred in Taji, Iraq, following an incident that is currently under investigation, but we can confirm that it was not as a result of enemy activity."
In December, 150 soldiers from LCpl Hetherington’s battalion were being deployed to Iraq for six months.
The country continues to be plagued by IS, and the terror group claimed responsibility for an attack which killed at least 36 people in Baghdad on Monday.
The attack happened when a suicide bomber driving a pickup truck loaded with explosives struck a bustling fruit and vegetable market in the Iraqi capital.
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Singleton, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:
"Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington was a superb soldier and a first class leader. Utterly professional and talented, he was full of character, fun and his enthusiasm was infectious. The battalion has lost a huge talent and a real character. He will be missed dearly and we will never forget him. Our hearts go out to his parents, his siblings, his girlfriend and his young daughter. They are in all of our thoughts."
Lance Corporal Lynch, Force Protection Platoon, Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said:
"Snowball was a top bloke. You could always count on him to have a laugh, and he always had an answer for everything. He was such a big character. He will be greatly missed by the whole battalion."
Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said:
"It is with great sadness and regret that I can confirm that Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington from Manchester died at Camp Taji in Iraq on Monday. Our thoughts are with the soldier’s family, friends and colleagues, and I would ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time. An investigation has started into the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident."
Reported by Forces.net