Bomb victim in Iraq was “epitome of a professional soldier"

A British soldier killed by a roadside bomb as he led a routine patrol in Basra was today described as the "epitome of a professional soldier." Sergeant Chris Hickey, 30, of the 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards, was killed on Tuesday. He is the 97th member of British service personnel to have died in Iraq since the start of hostilities in March 2003.

Sergeant Hickey, a married father, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was patrol commander and moving forward on foot to explore the route when the homemade bomb exploded. Other soldiers rushed to give first aid and he was airlifted to the Shaiba logistics base but died before arrival.

An investigation has been launched to establish whether the bomb used was of the sophisticated new breed which has apparently been traced back to Iran.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Henderson, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards Battle Group, today said it was typical that Sergeant Hickey had been leading from the front when he was killed.

He said: "At the time of the attack the patrol commander, Sergeant Chris Hickey, had moved forward on foot to reconnoitre a route for the patrol and as such he was severely injured in the blast."

Mr Henderson said that the soldier joined the Coldstream Guards in 1993 and immediately made his mark as a capable and reliable soldier.

"He was to maintain this impression throughout his service in the regiment as he was promoted through the ranks, always displaying great commitment and efficiency in everything he did.

"In so doing, he set a fine example to those of all ranks who served with him. It is significant that at the time of his death he was, as ever, leading his men from the front, reports The Times. I.L.

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