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Tribute after soldier killed in Iraq.

Byline: Sarah Stack

A darlington soldier was among three Royal Military Police killed in an ambush in Basra.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed Warrant Officer Colin Wall, of 150 Provost Company was one of three soldiers killed in an attack by gunmen on a British Army vehicle on Saturday.

Mr Wall, 34, was married with one child. He also had two children from a previous marriage.

He was today described by a neighbour as an "all round nice guy".

Doris Jones said Mr Wall had lived in the Middleton One Row area of Darlington for only a year with his family, and had become a great neighbour who would "do anything for anyone".

He was based at Catterick Garrison, along with fellow victim Major Matthew Titchener.

Major Titchener, 32, originally from Southport, was married with one child.

Also killed was Corporal Dewi Pritchard, of 116 Provost Company. Corporal Pritchard, aged 35, was married and came from Bridgend, south Wales.

The family of Cpl Pritchard today spoke of their shock and raised concerns about the protection afforded to British forces in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the soldier's widow, Tracey, and children, Kira and Ethan, a family spokesman said: "Dewi died a brave, professional and proud Territorial Army military policeman who served his country to his best.

"There remains at this early stage many unanswered questions concerning personal protection and security arrangements for British troops in Basra."

Cpl Pritchard is believed to be the first TA soldier killed in combat in Iraq since the conflict began.

More servicemen have now died in the invasion of Iraq than in the first Gulf War, although less have been killed in combat.

All three men were serving with the 19 Mechanised Brigade.

They were ambushed by gunmen as they made their way through a main street in Basra in an armed convoy of two vehicles.

A fourth soldier remained in hospital with serious injuries following the attack, which happened less than a fortnight after the death of another British soldier in the area.

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Warren, senior Royal Military Police officer serving in the southern port city, said: "I am deeply saddened by this tragic event.

"My thoughts, and those of the men and women of the Royal Military Police, are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives."

The search for the men's killers was continuing today amid an investigation into their deaths.

According to reports, the men were travelling in a four-wheel-drive civilian vehicle - a hired Nissan 4X4 - because of a shortage of armed Land Rovers.

Reports at the scene in Basra - Iraq's second city - said a grenade was thrown at the troops from a red pick-up truck.

But the MoD said there was no evidence yet to suggest such a device was used.

An MoD spokeswoman in Basra said: "A convoy of two vehicles were travelling through Basra in a routine movement when they were ambushed by gunmen from a pick-up truck.

"The convoy consisted of one military Land Rover and a civilian four wheel drive.

"All members of the convoy were wearing military uniforms and were armed.

"Three soldiers were killed and one seriously injured in the unprovoked attack."
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 25, 2003
Words:535
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