Widow pays tribute to bomb expert
The widow of a bomb disposal expert killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan has paid tribute to her husband, saying he had a "heart of gold".
Only a few days before his death, Warrant Officer Class 2 Charlie Wood, 34, from Middlesbrough, was organising the Christmas celebrations for his men.
On Christmas Day he not only arranged a hot dinner for almost 150 soldiers, an appearance from Father Christmas and the giving of presents, but also co-ordinated the clearance of a 20kg Improvised Explosive Device.
The advanced search advisor, of 23 Pioneer Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, serving with the Counter-IED Task Force, was caught in a blast from an IED on Tuesday. He was leading the clearance of a route through the Khushdal Kalay area of the Helmand River Valley, with the task nearing completion, when he was killed.
WO2 Wood leaves his wife Heather, mother Barbara, father John and sisters Samantha and Amanda.
Heather Wood said: "The family have lost a son, a brother and an uncle and I have lost my loving husband who was also my best friend.
"Charlie had an infectious personality who made a positive effect on everyone he met; he had a heart of gold and endeared himself to everyone. He will be sorely missed by those who had the good fortune to have met and known him. He will be forever in our thoughts for the rest of our lives."
WO2 Wood's colleagues described him as a "huge character" who volunteered for the job of advanced search adviser "in full knowledge of the potential risks".
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Davis, commanding officer of the Counter-IED Task Force, said: "He was a huge character - a complete live wire - a man who never rested. He was always on the go, constantly thinking ahead, planning the next stage and working out how best to achieve the mission. And who did he do this for? Certainly not for himself; he did it for his men."
A total of 348 UK military personnel have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.