Colchester: Tributes to soldiers killed in Afghan gun battle

TRIBUTES have been paid to two soldiers who died in a gun battle with insurgents while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Private Lewis Hendry, from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, and Private Conrad Lewis, from 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, were killed in the Nad Ali District of Helmand province on Wednesday.

The soldiers were on a foot patrol in a small village north of the Nahr-e Bughra Canal when they came under fire.

Pte Hendry and Pte Lewis received serious gunshot wounds and despite receiving immediate medical attention at the scene, and extraction by helicopter, the soldiers died of their injuries.

Pte Hendry, who would have celebrated his 21st birthday tomorrow, was born in Norwich and educated at Northgate High School, Dereham.

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He joined the Army in May 2008, conducting his training at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick.

A statement from his family said: “Lewis lived life to the full - and more! Words can’t describe how much he will be missed.

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“He was not only a soldier, a son, brother and grandson, but a friend to all.

“He was proud to be a member of the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.

“Loved by so many and will never be forgotten.”

Major Richard Todd, commanding officer of A Company, 3 Para, said: “Private Lewis Hendry, known to all as Lewy, had been selected to be a Patrols Platoon soldier for exactly the same qualities which he had shown daily in spades right up to the very point he was killed: bravery, selflessness, intense professionalism and a deep love of soldiering and his fellow soldiers.

“At the heart of company life, always full of energy and fun and just short of his 21st birthday Lewy had a full life ahead of him as a paratrooper and as a man. Lewy died alongside his friend Private Conrad Lewis whilst taking the fight forward to the enemy.

“Lewy’s loss is bitterly felt by the company and he will always remain in our hearts. At this difficult time we continue with greater determination in our mission but we will never be able to forget Lewy. We send our love and deepest sympathy to his family.”

Pte Lewis was born in Bournemouth and joined the Territorial Army in August 2008, completing his recruit training and the rigorous Pre-Parachute Selection Course, P Company.

Originally serving in 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment , the Territorial Army Battalion, Private Lewis was accepted for a full-time reserve service appointment in 3 Para in July 2009.

Private Lewis’s girlfriend, Georgina, said: “Con, you are leaving an enormous gap in mine and all our friends lives.

“Words cannot even explain how much I will miss my best friend and my soul mate. To me you are amazing and there will never be a day that goes by that I will not be thinking of you and missing you.

“I feel so blessed to have had you in my life, you have made these last three years truly unforgettable. I am so proud of you Con.

“Better to have loved you and lost you, than to never have had the chance to love you at all.”

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