Prince William mourns Iraq death of Sandhurst pal
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Joanna Dyer. Photo: PA Wire
Prince William is mourning the death of a "close friend" who was among the four British soldiers killed in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq.
Second Lieutenant Joanna Dyer was at Sandhurst military academy at the same time as William, who finished his 44-week course last year.
They were both commissioned as officers on the same day in December during a parade at the academy attended by the Queen.
A Clarence House spokesman said: "Prince William was deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of Jo Dyer's death.
"Jo was a close friend of his at Sandhurst and he is very much thinking of her family and friends right now and they will remain in his thoughts and prayers."
Second Lieutenant Dyer, from Yeovil, Somerset, was killed when a roadside bomb struck a Warrior armoured vehicle returning from patrol near Basra.
She was born in Berlin in 1982 and had gone to Sandhurst after finishing a degree in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University.
After receiving her commission as an officer, Second Lieutenant Dyer joined the Intelligence Corps.
She was attached to the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in order to gain operational experience in Iraq.
Her death so soon after leaving Sandhurst comes as Prince Harry prepares to serve in Iraq with his regiment, the Blues and Royals.
Tributes have been paid to all of the four British soldiers killed in the attack on Thursday.
The other soldiers killed were Corporal Kris O'Neill from the Royal Army Medical Corps, Private Eleanor Dlugosz, also from the Royal Army Medical Corps, and Kingsman Adam James Smith from 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, the Ministry of Defence said.
A civilian Kuwaiti interpreter was also killed in the attack.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Kenyon, 2nd Lt Dyer's commanding officer, said: "From a very early stage it was evident that Jo was a talented and energetic officer who was determined to make the most of her deployment to Iraq.
"Her enthusiasm was boundless and her contribution to our operations, even within a few short weeks, was invaluable. We very quickly came to think of her as one of us."
Pte Dlugosz, 19, from Southampton, was "held in high regard by all who knew her", the MoD said.
She accompanied patrols into Basra, quickly gaining the respect of her colleagues.
Cpl O'Neill, 27, from Catterick, Yorkshire, was a committed soldier and an "experienced and confident medic, with an unflappable nature", the MoD said.
The father of two young boys had worked hard to recover from a knee injury in order to deploy to Iraq and arrived in January to serve with the Close Support Medical Squadron, part of the UK Medical Group based in Basra.
Kingsman Smith, 19, from Liverpool, was talented and had a "bright future" in the Armed Forces, the MoD said.
His family released a statement tonight, saying: "Adam was the most wonderful and beautiful person anyone could wish to meet. He always had a smile on his face and loved life so much, he had everything to live for."
The statement continued: "He was a loving son, brother and the best boyfriend in the whole world and he will be missed more than words can say. He will forever be in our hearts."
A fifth soldier was seriously injured in the blast, which left a 3ft deep crater in the road.
The four were killed on the bloodiest day for British troops in Iraq since last November.
Thursday's attack takes the number of servicewomen to die in action in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to four, with a fifth whose death is thought to be non-combat related.
The total number of British deaths in Iraq since the 2003 invasion now stands at 140.
Copyright Press Association 2007
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