Carver Barracks soldier who died yesterday named as 21-year-old Sapper Connor Ray

A BRITISH soldier who died from injuries sustained following a bomb blast in Afghanistan has been named.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed that Sapper Connor Ray, 21, died in hospital in Birmingham yesterday (April 18).

He was a member of the 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) based at Carver Barracks.

Sapper Ray, from Newport, south Wales, had been involved in a search and clearance operation in the Nad ‘Ali district of central Helmand near to Checkpoint Kahmanan on April 11, on the eve of his 21st birthday.

The aim of the mission was to clear a compound previously used by insurgents, allowing the local population to safely return to the area.

During this operation he was seriously injured in an improvised explosive device strike. Sapper Ray received immediate medical attention before being taken to the Camp Bastion Role 3 Hospital and was later evacuated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

He was described by the MoD as a popular young soldier who was cheerful, engaging and showed much promise.

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Sapper Ray leaves behind his brother Vinnie, stepfather Steve, sisters Hollie and Bonnie, and girlfriend Hollie.

His family said in a statement: “We are intensely shocked, distressed and saddened after losing our hero. We are all tremendously proud of Connor.

“In heaven with his mum now, we will always remember his love of life, his sense of humour and cherish the short time he had to touch our lives.

“He loved his time in the Army and made great friends. Connor was a hero to all of his family and friends. We will miss him terribly.”

Sapper Ray started his military career in January 2008 at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

He joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in June 2009 and qualified as a Building and Structural Finisher upon completion of his trade training at Chatham.

In April 2010, he joined 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), where he trained as an Advanced Searcher. He was kept busy in his specialist role, which included providing support for a number of high profile events, the MoD said.

“During his time in Afghanistan, Sapper Ray and his team successfully undertook a number of high risk searches which undoubtedly saved numerous British and Afghan lives,” a spokesman from the MoD added.