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.
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.