Tributes to bomb man killed in explosion

The wife of a bomb disposal expert killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan yesterday paid tribute to her husband, saying he had a "heart of gold".

Warrant Officer Class 2 Charles Wood, 34, from Middlesbrough, was caught in a blast from an IED (improvised explosive device) as he lead the clearance of a route through the Khushdal Kalay area of the Helmand River valley on Tuesday.

His colleagues described the soldier, of 23 Pioneer Regiment, the Royal Logistic Corps, as a "consummate professional".

A total of 348 UK military personnel have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.

WO Wood leaves behind his wife Heather, mother Barbara, father John and sisters Samantha and Amanda.

Heather Wood said: "The family have lost a son, a brother and an uncle and I have lost my loving husband who was also my best friend.

"Charlie had an infectious personality who made a positive effect on everyone he met; he had a heart of gold and endeared himself to everyone.

"He will be sorely missed by those who had the good fortune to have met and known him.

"He will be forever in our thoughts for the rest of our lives."

WO Wood deployed to Afghanistan on November 6 as an advanced search adviser, trained to co-ordinate the detection of IEDs.

He was killed in the Lashkar Gah district as the task of clearing a route through the Khushdal Kalay area of the Helmand River Valley neared completion.

W0 Wood, who joined the Army in 1994 and also served in Iraq and Bosnia, had raised thousands of pounds for forces charities.