May 5 2012
The children of a soldier killed by enemy mortar fire in Afghanistan have paid a touching tribute to their father saying: "We wish yesterday had never happened."
Corporal Andrew Roberts, 32, died on Friday alongside Private Ratu Manasa Silibaravi in the northern part of Nahr-e-Saraj district in Helmand province.
Friends and relatives hailed their bravery as bosses said they "undoubtedly" saved the lives of both Afghans and fellow servicemen.
Corporal Roberts' children Jessica, six, Kyle, five and Kayla, three, said: "For our brave Dad who went away to build sandcastles and stop the bad men hurting people. We love you to the moon and back. You were the best Dad, we remember all the fun things we did, we will never forget you and will love you forever. You are our Hero and we will pray for you always."
Corporal Roberts, who was born in Middlesbrough, was on his second tour of Afghanistan and had served on operations in Bosnia and Iraq. He also had a son named Josh with girlfriend Paula Ewers,
The soldiers, from the Royal Logistic Corps, were attached to 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh Battlegroup when they were caught in an indirect fire attack on Forward Operating Base Ouellette.
The Section Commander in 23 Pioneer Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps was responsible for leading a team trying to detect Improvised Explosive Devices in high risk areas.
"Corporal Roberts not only facilitated freedom of movement for International Security Assistance Forces and Afghan National Security Forces, but also undoubtedly saved the lives of both Afghans and International personnel," the Ministry of Defence said.
His colleague Fiji-born Private Silibaravi, also 32, was commended as a "quiet, yet determined and popular soldier".
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Bell, Commanding Officer Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Task Force, said: "Private Silibaravi was a professional and committed individual. Strong and fit, he had an excellent work ethic, throwing himself wholeheartedly at every challenge. The number of operational tours that he had successfully completed is testament to his dedication and professionalism."