Tributes have been flooding in to Fusilier Sam Flint-Broughton from his heartbroken friends, who say he “will be greatly missed.”
One of his friends, who posted on a social networking site, wrote: “Sam was more than just a pal to me he was an inspiration.
“He was there for me when others weren’t and that’s why he’ll never leave my heart.
“Goodbye good friend, see you soon soldier.
“Would have been proud to call you my brother.”
Another said: “He was such a special kind hearted person.”
And one tribute simply read: “RIP Sam, you will be greatly missed.”
Ministry of Defence officials broke the news of the incident in Helmand Province yesterday.
Maj Richard Morgan, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “It is with deep sadness I must confirm three soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, have died after their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
“Their deaths come as a great loss to all those serving in Task Force Helmand.
“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to their family and friends at this difficult time.”
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones in this incident, which underlines the threats faced by our personnel as they continue to hand over security operations to their Afghan counterparts ahead of UK combat operations concluding by the end of next year.
“Security in Helmand, where most UK forces are based, is steadily improving with Afghan forces already responsible for the bulk of the province – but the environment in which our troops operate remains risky and dangerous, including the threat of improvised explosive devices and insurgent attack.
“We will continue to do all we can to minimise these risks but they can never be removed entirely.”
The attack came on the third day of what the Taliban has called its “spring offensive.” Other explosions throughout the country have killed nine civilians and a police commander.