Army tribute to soldier killed in crash

ARMY leaders have paid tribute to a 25-year-old aircraft technician who was about to be promoted and had a bright career ahead of him before he was killed in a road accident.

ARMY leaders have paid tribute to a 25-year-old aircraft technician who was about to be promoted and had a bright career ahead of him before he was killed in a road accident.

Lance Corporal Laurel Dean Powell, who has a three-year-old son, died after the accident on the A505 at Melbourn, in Cambridgeshire.

Mr Powell, who was based at Wattisham Airfield near Needham Market, had been driving a civilian car at the time of the accident on April 7.

Colleagues at the base said news of his death had shocked everyone who had worked with Mr Powell, or Dean as his friends knew him.

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Mr Powell, an aircraft technician, had been employed at 7 Air Assault Battalion REME.

In his time at the battalion, since joining in January 2005, he worked in the general engineering section on repairs. In October 2005 he started to become involved in the inspection and repair of the multi-million pound Apache helicopter gunships.

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In the short amount of time he had been at the battalion he also completed the Apache equipment course and completed his training to become a full corporal.

A spokesman for the Army said: “LCpl Powell was doing well and had a bright future in front of him. He was a competent, mature and enthusiastic technician.

“He was thoroughly enjoying his time working on helicopters and always took great pride in his work. His understanding of aircraft systems was far beyond that which was expected of his rank and experience.

“He was always eager to expand his knowledge and keen to volunteer to assist with any task.''

Captain Robert Bauld, Mr Powell's platoon commander, said: “Everyone who he came into contact with held LCpl Powell in great affection. He was always a bubbly personality able to see the bright side of every situation.

“He was passionate about becoming a physical training instructor and was spending a great deal of time swimming to ensure he could perform as well as he could on the course.

“He was recommended for promotion to full corporal on his last review and I am sure he would have been selected. He had a bright future and would have done very well within his trade and the corps.

“Always cheerful, LCpl Powell was part of the life and soul of the battalion. All those that worked with Dean held him in great affection and he will be sorely missed.”

Outside of his Army work Mr Powell was interested in a wide range of sports including football, cricket, and basketball. He organised several volleyball games within the battalion and was very successful in the battalion athletics gaining first place in the 100m sprint.

He recently attended Exercise Snow Warrior in Germany, gaining his basic ski proficiency and ski tour proficiency.

Mr Powell, who joined the Army in January 2003 and since enlistment had served in Great Britain, was single with one son, Dominic, aged three, from a previous relationship.

A letter of condolence has been sent by the battalion to Mr Powell's mother in Kingston, Jamaica. His funeral is taking place in Kingston.

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