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Rifleman, 18, killed by Taliban suicide bomb

PUBLISHED: 11:57 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:30 12 August 2010

THE family of a teenage soldier killed by suicide bombers in Afghanistan received a Christmas message from him 48 hours after his death.

THE family of a teenage soldier killed by suicide bombers in Afghanistan received a Christmas message from him 48 hours after his death.

James Brown, 18, from Orpington, sent his family a message moments before he was killed in Sangin, in Helmand Province on Tuesday (December 15) alongside his 3rd Battalion The Rifles comrade Lance Corporal David Kirkness, 24.

Rifleman Brown wrote: "Merry Christmas to my family, dad, Steph, Sam and Ellie, also to my dog Smuttsy.

"Have a good one. Also Merry Christmas to my friends who I am with right now. Merry Christmas."

The Ministry of Defence handed messages from troops in Afghanistan to the Press Association yesterday (December 17) but it was not known until later that a message from Rifleman Brown was included.

Rifleman Brown's family said in a statement: "You were a true hero and will be dearly missed. We all love you so much.

"You died a hero, living your dream, and you will always be in our thoughts. Your actions will always speak louder than words ever could."

Rifleman Brown and Lance Corporal Kirkness were manning a vehicle checkpoint when two suicide bombers on a motorbike drove into them.

They and two Afghan soldiers were killed in the blast but they were hailed as heroes for preventing what could have been mass carnage in a nearby market place.

Rifleman Brown joined the Army this year and had only arrived with B Company of the 3rd Battalion less than two weeks ago.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson, commanding officer, said: "He had been with the battalion for a desperately short time but was showing the promising signs of a soldier with a bright future.

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