A SYMONDS Yat soldier has been named as one of the servicemen killed by an Afghan policeman.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Leonard Perran Thomas, known as "Pez", was part of a patrol with two other soldiers to a checkpoint known as Kamparack Pul on Sunday to help organise a meeting (shura) with the local detachment of Afghan National Civil Order Police.

Having completed their task and on leaving the compound, they were attacked by small arms fire and fatally wounded.

They were based in Forward Operating Base Ouellette in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Thomas was deployed to Afghanistan in February as the Military Stabilisation Support Team (MSST) operator attached to Combined Force Burma.

The 44-year-old, originally from Cornwall, joined the Army in 1986 and joined the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, where he was deployed on Operation Granby to Kuwait and Iraq.

This was his final operational tour and he was looking forward to spending time pursuing his passion for the outdoors and spending time with his long-term partner Rachel and his mother Sylvia.

He also leaves behind younger brother Tristan, 43.

"Pez was a military man through and through," his family said in a statement.

"He thrived in extreme environments, both in the military and in his spare time.

"He was a keen climber and mountaineer and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege to have met him."

Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Allison, Royal Logistic Corps, SO1 Transition, Headquarters Task Force Helmand, added:

"Warrant Officer Class 2 Thomas will be remembered by the Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers of the Military Stabilisation Support Group (Afghanistan) as a highly professional, passionate and forthright soldier who was genuinely driven by a desire to make a difference."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that he was saddened to hear of "this cowardly act" which has taken the lives of three very brave soldiers.

"They gave their lives protecting Britain's national security, their efforts will not be in vain and we will always remember them," he said.

More in Thursday's Hereford Times.