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Reservist, 51, is oldest serviceman to die in wars; Aircraftman and colleague killed by roadbomb.

Byline: John Binghamand Tim Walsh

TRIBUTESwere last night paidto a father-of-five after he became the oldest British serviceman killed in the wars in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

Businessman Gary Thompson, 51, a Senior Aircraftman in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment, diedafter a roadside bomb blast during a patrol outside Kandahar Airfield, the main Nato base in southern Afghanistan.

RAF Regiment Senior Aircraftman Graham Livingstone, 23, fromGlasgow, was also killed and two others were injured in the explosion on Sunday.

The incident takes the number ofBritishpersonnel to die inAfghanistan since 2001 to 93.

SACThompson leaves behinda wife Jacqui and five daughters - Laurie, 24, Aimee, 22, Jordan, 20, Jade, 17 and Kelly, 16 - who he said inspired him to fight the Taliban.

"Gary was more than our hero, he was the rock and foundation of our family," they said yesterday.

"Words cannot express how muchhewas loved andhow proud of him we are.

"Gary, you have had our hearts from the beginning and now they are yours forever."

Having served with the RAF in the 1970s, he went on to become a successful businessman, as managing director of Sherwood Ducting in Nottingham, which specialises in ventilation materials.

But he re-enlisted as a reservist in 2005, becoming a gunner and later a mortar man in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

On being mobilised and sent to Afghanistan earlier this year, he served alongside RAF Regiment troops at Kandahar.

Before he set off in February he was quoted in the Rutland and Stamford Mercury as saying: "I want women in Afghanistan to be given the same opportunity that my daughters have had.

"It means I can come back and say I have playedmy part in trying TRIBUTESwere last night paidto a father-of-five after he became the oldest British serviceman killed in the wars in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

Businessman Gary Thompson, 51, a Senior Aircraftman in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment, diedafter a roadside bomb blast during a patrol outside Kandahar Airfield, the main Nato base in southern Afghanistan.

RAF Regiment Senior Aircraftman Graham Livingstone, 23, fromGlasgow, was also killed and two others were injured in the explosion on Sunday.

The incident takes the number ofBritishpersonnel to die inAfghanistan since 2001 to 93.

SACThompson leaves behinda wife Jacqui and five daughters - Laurie, 24, Aimee, 22, Jordan, 20, Jade, 17 and Kelly, 16 - who he said inspired him to fight the Taliban.

"Gary was more than our hero, he was the rock and foundation of our family," they said yesterday.

"Words cannot express how muchhewas loved andhow proud of him we are.

"Gary, you have had our hearts from the beginning and now they are yours forever."

Having served with the RAF in the 1970s, he went on to become a successful businessman, as managing director of Sherwood Ducting in Nottingham, which specialises in ventilation materials.

But he re-enlisted as a reservist in 2005, becoming a gunner and later a mortar man in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

On being mobilised and sent to Afghanistan earlier this year, he served alongside RAF Regiment troops at Kandahar.

Before he set off in February he was quoted in the Rutland and Stamford Mercury as saying: "I want women in Afghanistan to be given the same opportunity that my daughters have had.

"It means I can come back and say I have playedmy part in trying

CAPTION(S):

DOUBLE LOSS: Senior Aircraftman GrahamLivingstone, left, and Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 16, 2008
Words:572
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