Tributes to soldier killed in blast
A serviceman who died in an explosion in Afghanistan "embodied the finest traditions of a soldier", his commanding officer has said.
Acting Corporal David Barnsdale, 24, from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance), was killed while clearing explosive devices in Helmand Province, in the south of the country, on Tuesday.
The soldier, from Tring, Hertfordshire, had been deployed on his second tour of Afghanistan last month.
Acting Cpl Barnsdale joined the Royal Engineers in September 2002. Trained as the team commander of a Royal Engineers Search Team, he was responsible for the detection of improvised explosive devices in areas deemed to be high risk.
His search team were deployed on Operation Omid Char - operating in an area east of Gereshk, working towards the construction of a new check point and patrol base to enhance the security of the local population.
During the task, Acting Cpl Barnsdale was caught in the blast from an IED which resulted in his death, the Ministry of Defence said.
He leaves his mother Wendy, his father Stephen, his sister Vanessa and his girlfriend Helen.
In a statement released by the MoD, they said: "David was a hugely popular guy, a fantastic son, grandson, brother, boyfriend and friend who will be sorely missed.
"We thank everyone for their kindness and support at this difficult time."
Acting Cpl Barnsdale was described as a highly-professional and sociable individual, who was well liked by those who knew him.