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Killed soldier 'was replacement'

A British soldier killed while on patrol in Afghanistan had been deployed to the country as a battle casualty replacement, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Lance Corporal Jonathan James McKinlay, of The First Battalion The Rifles, was killed by a burst of small arms fire on Wednesday while on patrol with his team and members of the Afghan Uniformed Police in a village near his checkpoint in Helmand Province.

He was described by his comrades as "a man of great compassion, humour and somebody who had time for others".

L/Cpl McKinlay, 33, from Darlington, was sent to Afghanistan in June, having recently qualified as a mortar fire controller.

A father-of-one with two stepchildren, he was based at Checkpoint Chaabak in the Nahr-e-Saraj South district of Helmand, where he came under fire.

Having joined the Army in 1996, he had previously been deployed to Northern Ireland and Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

He held "an impressive array of qualifications" on top of this, the MoD said, describing him as a great asset to his company and the battalion.

His comrades said his "forthcoming and happy" approach would be sorely missed across the battalion.

He leaves his wife Lisa, mother Valerie, sister Becca, daughter Megan, and stepchildren Ollie and Piper.

His wife said: "We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Jonathan, affectionately known as 'JJ', also known as 'Commander Meerkat McKinlay'. He was a loving husband, son, brother, son-in-law and father to Megan, Ollie and Piper. He was a true friend to others and a loving husband, a real joker and my one in a million."


From Belfast Telegraph