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Bomb disposal expert killed in Afghanistan ‘a hero and life-saver’

By Tom Morgan

A bomb disposal expert who became the fourth UK serviceman killed in a 24-hour period in Afghanistan has been hailed for his bravery.

Staff Sergeant Brett Linley (29), from Birmingham, died in an explosion while clearing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Nahr-e-Saraj on Saturday.

Staff Sergeant Linley had qualified this year as an IED operator after learning his trade during three tours in Northern Ireland.

The soldier, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was “one of life's grafters”, his comrades said.

Lieutenant Colonel David Southall, of Royal Engineers, said: “Staff Sergeant Brett Linley was a man of courage and composure — his loss has shaken us all.”

Comrades described a “true hero” who had saved many lives. On one occasion the Birmingham City fan unearthed three IEDs in the space of an hour, they said.

An MoD spokesman added: “There is no doubt that during his tour of duty in Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Linley's actions have saved many lives, both Afghan and British, and his death is a tragic loss to his unit, his family and his friends. Staff Sergeant Linley is survived by his partner and his parents.”

Lt Col Southall added: “I will remember his calm, considered manner and, as one of life's grafters, his professionalism was meticulous — ‘If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right' he'd tell his boys, both in training and on task.

“Brett faced the IED threat daily, but despite the risk, his heroism was without fuss or fanfare — such quiet and unassuming modesty endeared him to all.”

The British death toll in the Afghan campaign since 2001 now stands at 322.

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