08/03/2012 08:33 GMT | Updated 08/03/2012 09:15 GMT

Afghanistan Soldiers: Commanding Officer Pays Tribute To Six Killed

The commanding officer of the unit hit hardest by the Afghanistan blast paid a moving tribute to them today, saying: "Six of our brothers have fallen. It has been a sad day."

Lieutenant Colonel Zac Stenning, of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, read a eulogy to the men outside Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster, Wiltshire.

He said: "Barely 48 hours ago, we heard the terrible news that six soldiers from The 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, were declared missing, believed killed, after their Warrior armoured vehicle was caught in an explosion in southern Afghanistan.

The six soldiers were later confirmed dead in he the single worst enemy attack on British troops of the Afghan campaign.

The MoD named the fallen as Sergeant Nigel Coupe, aged 33, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20 and Private Daniel Wilford, 21.

Only weeks before his death, Private Anthony Frampton wrote a comforting messages to his worried family assuring them he would be fine.

"As their commanding officer of a tight knit family regiment, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my incredibly brave men, and to offer my deepest condolences to their families, and to their many friends,” said Stenning.

"Sergeant Nigel Coupe returned to us from the Armoured Training Centre Bovington, where he excelled as an Instructor.

"He was proud to be a Lancashire Soldier in a Yorkshire Battalion. His technical prowess was unmatched; he was, quite simply, the best.

"Today we have lost one of our brothers who led and mentored those above and below him with true humility.

"Corporal Jake Joseph Hartley was known as 'JJ' to his friends. Fit, motivated yet always understated, JJ was a top soldier.

From left to right (top then bottom): Sergeant Nigel Coupe, Corporal Jake Hartley, Private Anthony Frampton, Private Daniel Wilford, Private Daniel Wade and Private Christopher Kershaw

"His rise through the ranks had been swift and rightly so; he was a natural leader as exemplified by his top position on the gruelling Infantry Section Commanders Battle Course. He was a selfless, dedicated leader of men and a future Regimental Sergeant Major.

"Private Anthony Frampton was a fit and carefree soldier, and the life and soul of his platoon. A thoroughly likeable young man, 'Framps' could motivate and encourage the entire battalion with his cheekiness and smile.

"Behind his cheeky nature, lay a truly dedicated infantry soldier, who was committed and brave; a true legend among his peers.

"Private Daniel Wade had only recently joined the battalion, but in a very short period, he had made a real mark.

"It is to his great credit that he successfully completed his Warrior Driver course so early in his career. In his spare time, Dan loved 'speed on wheels' and he had a real passion for motocross and superbikes.

"Private Christopher Kershaw was one of my fittest soldiers. Chris's natural love of the great outdoors shone through in everything he did.

"It was this passion, coupled with his drive to continuously develop himself, that made him stand out from his peers. A true Yorkshire Warrior, Chris was marked out as a star of the future.

"Last, but certainly not least, I come to Private Daniel Wilford. He was the archetypal Yorkshire Infantry Soldier; quiet, unassuming but with bags of character.

"Wilf, as he was known by all, was happy-go-lucky and confident, and his smile would light up any room. Honest and dedicated, his friends and colleagues trusted and respected him.

"And so, this week, six of our brothers have fallen. It has been a sad day, but as their brothers-in-arms we remain committed in our duty to continue with our mission. They would want nothing less. Our loss is very great, but this is nothing when compared to the deep loss felt by their families and friends.

"Our thoughts and prayers are firmly with them today. Finally, I want to thank the many well-wishers who have shown their support to us at this very difficult time."

Six soldiers die in Afghanistan