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Blast death officer 'a future star'

A British soldier who died in hospital in the UK after being wounded on patrol in Afghanistan a month ago has been described as "a star of the future".

Lieutenant John Charles Sanderson, 29, from 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was injured in an explosion in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province on July 13.

He was given medical aid at the scene before being flown to the UK for further treatment but died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Wednesday evening after failing to recover from his wounds.

His family, who were by his side when he died, paid tribute to Lt Sanderson, describing him as "a brilliant and loving son and brother".

They added: "John loved his Army career and was enthusiastically committed to his men and particularly his and their role in Afghanistan. He believed he was contributing to a better life for the Afghan people. We will miss him tremendously but we will never forget him and what he gave to us."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence said two British soldiers serving in Afghanistan had also died in separate incidents.

The first serviceman, from 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was injured in a helicopter incident at a patrol base in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Tuesday. He was flown back to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he died on Thursday surrounded by his family.

The second soldier, from 21 Engineer Regiment, died on Friday after being shot in the Sangin District of Helmand. His next of kin have been informed. It is understood that the first soldier, who was serving with Gurkha Reinforcement Company, was injured when a Chinook helicopter crashed at his base.

During a night-time resupply mission the aircraft's rotor blades hit a lookout tower and knocked down a wall next to where he was sleeping, a national newspaper reported on Thursday. The soldier's comrades dug through the rubble for more than half an hour to free him, the paper said.

The British death toll in the Afghan campaign since 2001 now stands at 330.

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