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SUPREME SACRIFICE; British soldier killed in Iraq was unemployed TA man.

Byline: Anna Hammond

A BRITISH soldier killed after a clash with a heavily-armed mob in southern Iraq was part-timer Fusilier Russell Beeston, the Army confirmed today.

The 26-year-old from Glasgow, was a member of the 52nd Lowland Brigade, attached to the 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers.

The death takes the number of British service personnel killed in the Gulf since the conflict to 50.

Fusilier Beeston was married but separated from his wife. The couple had no children

Fusilier Beeston and another soldier were injured after a crowd surrounded their patrol and opened fire with guns and rocket-propelled grenades, a British military spokesman said.

A British Army spokesman in Basra said: 'At approximately 21.45 Iraq time last night, following an arrest operation in the town of Ali al Gharbi, a convoy of soldiers and vehicles were returning to base at al Amarah.

'About 40km south of the town they met a roadblock and diverted through Ali Asharqi.

'There they met a crowd of about 30 people.

'They dismounted from the vehicles and were confronted by a second crowd near troop house Jennings.

'Sandwiched between the two groups, the soldiers attempted to withdraw. Members of the crowd opened fire with small arms and RPGs.'

The spokesman said: 'During the small arms exchange, we can confirm that one soldier was fatally wounded and another sustained a serious injury to a hand. He has been treated and is in a stable condition.'

A response team was called from al Amarah and 10 arrests were made at the scene.

Fusilier Beeston was unemployed and joined the Territorial Army in Glasgow in 2000.

He was working as an infantryman at the time of his death, the Army said.

The incident comes just five days after Corporal Dewi Pritchard, 35, of Brackla, Bridgend, died in an ambush when the civilian vehicle he was travelling in came under fire.

Latest death is 50th UK soldiers' fatality in Iraq

THE latest death of a British soldier means 50 servicemen have now died in the Iraq conflict.

The figure is greater than in the Gulf War, where there were 47 deaths.

There have been 21 combat and 29 post-war deaths according to the Ministry of Defence.

In the first Gulf War in 1991, 24 British servicemen were killed in combat during Operation Desert Storm.

The first Gulf War lasted for 47 days from January 17 to March 3, 1991, while the recent Iraq conflict lasted 43 days from March 20 to May 1 when US President George Bush announced major combat operations were over.

In the first Gulf War, nine British servicemen were killed by US forces in 'friendly fire' incidents. In the recent conflict, five Britons were the victims of US friendly fire.

About 42,000 British troops were deployed in the Gulf, including 26,000 ground troops.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 28, 2003
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