Regiment leads tributes to blaze death soldier

A SENIOR army officer has joined the tributes to a soldier who died in a Clacton blaze on Saturday.

Private Kenny Pratt, of 1st battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, was sleeping in the lounge of a home in Chestnut Avenue when a fire broke out in the kitchen.

The 22-year-old former Colbayns High School pupil died from smoke inhalation.

Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham, commanding officer, said Pte Ptatt was becoming a fine soldier and that his death would leave a hole in the battalion’s ranks.

He said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Pte Kenny Pratt.

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“Although a junior soldier who had recently joined the battalion, he had already made an impact and had proved himself to be a valuable member.

“He was well liked by his platoon and was maturing into a fine infantryman.

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“As a family regiment, we are a close-knit community and to describe him as a brother soldier would not be an overstatement. His death will leave a hole in our ranks and will be difficult for those who knew and worked with him.

“Our thoughts are with Kenny’s family at this difficult time.”

A week before his death Pte Pratt had been in the Breacon Beacons for an army training exercise.

The ex-Ravenscroft Primary pupil, who was due to serve in Afghanistan in 2012, had been out with friends prior to his death. He returned home to cook himself some food before falling asleep in the lounge.

His proud mum, Amanda Pratt, 45, paid tribute to her Colchester-born son, calling him a legend and a little hero.

His sisters Amanda, 26, and Cara, 24, set up a tribute page for him on social networking website Facebook.

They wrote: “My little brother, i can’t believe that you are no longer with us,

“I am so proud of you for everything you have ever achieved, your passing out parade was one of the best memories I will ever have of you.

“I am amazed by how many people’s lives you have touched over your short 22 years.

“Heaven has gained a true angel. I will love you always and forever.”

Fellow soldier Ryan Hammond, adding his comments to the tribute page, said: “Rest in peace Kenny Pratt, you will be forever missed but never forgotten.

“My thoughts go out to all his friends and family, it is going to be a very sombre place back at camp tomorrow as we mourn the loss of a fellow Viking.”

Fire fighters were called alerted shortly before 8am on Saturday. It was later discovered that there were no working smoke alarms in the home.

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