Family and colleagues ‘deeply hurt’ by loss of patrol victim

The commanding officer of a British soldier killed in Afghanistan has paid tribute to him as “one of those men you can completely rely on when things get tough”.

Lance Corporal Peter Eustace, 25, of 2nd Battalion the Rifles, died when he was hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Nahr-e Saraj in Helmand Province on Wednesday.

He leaves his mother Carole Ann, his sister Kirsty, his brother Ryan and his girlfriend Aimi.

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L/Cpl Eustace, from Liverpool, known to his friends as “Eust”, worked briefly as a painter and decorator before joining the Army in late 2004.

He served hard-fought tours in Basra, southern Iraq, in 2006-07 and in the deadly Sangin district of northern Helmand in 2009. He returned to Afghanistan last month with Delhi Company of 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.

His family said in a statement: “Peter was very fit and he always wanted to join the Army. He was committed to carrying out a full career there. He will be missed by his family and friends and is loved by all.”

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Wright, commanding officer of 2 Rifles, said L/Cpl Eustace was “blessed with a huge character that matched his size”.

“He had nothing left to prove as a warrior. He was one of those men you can completely rely on when things get tough,” he said.

Captain Mark Endersby, of 2 Rifles, said it was testament to L/Cpl Eustace that all around him, including the Afghan soldiers he fought alongside, were “deeply hurt” by his loss.