It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Guardsman Neil 'Tony' Downes from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Saturday 9 June 2007.
Guardsman Downes's vehicle was hit by an explosion when on a patrol with the Afghan National Army (ANA) close to the town of Sangin in Helmand Province.
The Grenadier Guards and the ANA had been taking part in an operation to help widen and deepen irrigation ditches for locals in the area. Guardsman Downes died from the injuries he sustained in the explosion.
Guardsman Tony Downes, aged 20, was from Manchester. He joined the Army in 2004 and had already completed one tour in Iraq with the Grenadier Guards in 2006.
Lieutenant Colonel Carew Hatherley, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said:
"Always full of energy and enthusiasm, his intellect and humour constantly shone through the darkest of situations. He was a resolute and steadfast friend to all who knew him. He excelled as a soldier, whether in tunic and bearskin or combats, and was held in the highest regard by all who had the pleasure to serve alongside him.
"Over the previous twelve weeks he had fought alongside his fellow Grenadiers and the Afghan National Army soldiers against the Taliban, never once flinching from his duty. He gave his life in selfless service to his country. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten."