The 150th hero falls in the war on the Taliban as defiant Defence Secretary says: ‘I believe we can succeed’

He was just 22 and had followed his father and grandfather into the army.

But Lance Corporal Christopher Harkett's desire to maintain family tradition as well as serve his country has cost him his life.

He became the 150th British soldier to die in Afghanistan since the invasion of 2001.
The married sniper was blown up while trying to provide covering fire for comrades whose patrol had been ambushed in Helmand province.

Late last night the toll grew again when two soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, serving with the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, were killed when an explosion blasted their Jackal armoured vehicle in Helmand province. Their names had not been released last night.

Speaking earlier, after LCpl Harkett's death, Defence Secretary John Hutton insisted that the war against the Taliban can be won.

'We have no choice but to be involved in this campaign, and we have no choice but to commit the resources necessary to allow ourselves and our allies and the Afghan democracy to emerge triumphant from it,' he said.

'With our Afghan partners, I do believe we can succeed.' Inevitably, Mr Hutton's statement will be compared with the words of his predecessor, John Reid, who said in April 2006: 'We would not be unhappy if we left Helmand province in three years time without firing a shot.'

At the time, just seven British troops had been killed in Afghanistan. Nearly three years on our forces have fired more than a million shots and 145 soldiers have joined the death toll.
LCpl Harkett, who had survived two tours of duty in Iraq, was serving with the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Regiment when he died in Musa Qala, northern Helmand.

Captain Alex Rabbitt, his platoon commander, said: 'His final act summed him up as he showed bravery and selfless commitment by pushing across open ground in clear view of the enemy to give covering fire for his friends.'

Another officer, Major Sid Welham, said: 'Chris 'H' Harkett personified the spirit and character of The Royal Welsh. 'H' was ever smiling and always motivated whatever the situation - a true Welsh Warrior.

'A highly-motivated soldier, he had been quick to volunteer to serve on the battalion's first deployment to Afghanistan. He took immense pride in his consummate skill as one of the company's snipers, always reassuring his platoon that he would cover their backs.'

REST HERE
The roll of honour

Private Darren John George (silhouette); Corporal John Gregory; Sergeant Robert Busuttil; Private Jonathan Kitulagoda; Lance Corporal Steven Sherwood; Corporal Mark Cridge; Lance Corporal Peter Edward Craddock; Captain Jim Philippson; Sergeant Paul Bartlett; Captain David Patten.

Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi; Corporal Peter Thorpe; Private Damien Jackson; Lance Corporal Ross Nicholls; Second Lieutenant Ralph Johnson; Captain Alex Eida; Private Andrew Barrie Cutts; Private Leigh Reeves; Lance Corporal Sean Tansey; Corporal Bryan James Budd.
Lance Corporal Jonathan Peter Hetherington; Ranger Anare Draiva; Marine Joseph David Windall; Corporal Oliver Simon Dicketts; Sergeant Gary Paul Quilliam; Sergeant John Joseph Langton; Sergeant Benjamin James Knight; Flight Sergeant Adrian Davies; Flight Sergeant Gerard Martin Bell; Flight Sergeant Stephen Beattie.

Flight Sergeant Gary Wayne Andrews; Flight Lieutenant Steven Swarbrick; Flight Lieutenant Allan James Squires; Flight Lieutenant Gareth Rodney Nicholas; Flight Lieutenant Leigh Anthony Mitchelmore; Flight Lieutenant Steven Johnson; Private Craig O'Donnell; Corporal Mark William Wright; Lance Corporal Luke McCulloch; Lance Corporal Paul Muirhead.

Marine Gary Wright; Marine Jonathan Wigley; Marine Richard J Watson; Lance Bombardier James Dwyer; Marine Thomas Curry; Lance Corporal Mathew Ford; Marine Jonathan Holland; Marine Scott Summers; Lance Bombardier Ross Clark; Lance Bombardier Liam McLaughlin.
Marine Benjamin Reddy; Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael 'Mick' Smith; Private Chris Gray; Guardsman Simon Davison; Lance Corporal George Russell Davey; Guardsman Daniel Probyn; Corporal Darren Bonner; Corporal Mike Gilyeat; Lance Corporal Paul 'Sandy' Sandford;

Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes. Drummer Thomas Wright; Captain Sean Dolan; Sergeant Dave Wilkinson; Guardsman Daryl Hickey; Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins; Guardsman David Atherton; Sergeant Barry Keen; Lance Corporal Michael Jones; Private Tony Rawson; Captain David Hicks.

Private Aaron James McClure; Private Robert Graham Foster; Private John Thrumble; Senior Aircraftman Christopher Bridge; Private Damian Wright; Private Ben Ford; Private Johan Botha; Sergeant Craig Brelsford; Lance Corporal Ivano Violino; Colour Sergeant Phillip Newman.
Private Brian Tunnicliffe; Major Alexis Roberts; Lance Corporal Jake Alderton; Captain John McDermid; Trooper Jack Sadler; Sergeant Lee Johnson; Corporal Darryl Gardiner; Corporal Damian Stephen Lawrence; Royal Marine Corporal Damian Mulvihill; Marine David 'Dave' Marsh.

Lieutenant John 'JT' Thornton; Senior Aircraftman Graham Livingston; Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson; Trooper Robert Pearson; Trooper Ratu Babakobau; James Thompson (no more details given); Marine Dale Gostick; Private Charles Murray; Private Daniel Gamble; Private Nathan Cuthbertson.

Lance Corporal James Bateman; Private Jeff Doherty; Corporal Sean Robert Reeve; Paul Stout (no rank given); Corporal Sarah Bryant; Lance Corporal Richard Larkin; Warrant Officer Class 2 Michael Williams; Private Joe Whittaker; Warrant Officer Dan Shirley; Lance Corporal James Johnson.

Corporal Jason Stuart Barnes; Lance Corporal Kenneth Michael Rowe; Sergeant Jonathan William Mathews; Private Peter Cowton; Signaller Wayne Bland; Corporal Barry Dempsey; Ranger Justin James Cupples; Warrant Officer Class 2
Gary O'Donnell; Private Jason Lee Rawstron; Lance Corporal Nicky Mason;Trooper James Munday; Rifleman Yubraj Rai; Royal Marine Neil Dunstan; Marine Robert McKibben; Colour Sergeant Krishnabahadur Dura; Marine Alexander Lucas; Marine Georgie Sparks; Marine Tony Evans;

Corporal Marc Birch; Sergeant John Manuel. Marine Damian Davies; Lance Corporal Steven 'Jamie' Fellows; Lieutenant Aaron Lewis; Rifleman Stuart Nash; Corporal Robert Deering; Lance Corporal Benjamin Whatley; Corporal Liam Elms; Serjeant Chris Reed; Marine Travis Mackin; Captain Tom Sawyer.

Corporal Danny Winter; Acting Corporal Richard Robinson; Corporal Daniel Nield; Marine Darren Smith; Lance Corporal Stephen Kingscott; Rifleman Jamie Gunn; Lance Corporal Paul Upton; Corporal Tom Gaden; Marine Michael Laski; Lance Corporal Christopher Harkett.

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