Dorset Solider Shot Dead In Afghanistan Was on Final Tour of Duty
5:08pm 3rd July 2012
(Updated 8:16am 4th July 2012)
Tributes have been paid to a soldier from a Dorset Garrison who was shot dead in Afghanistan.
Warrant Officer 2nd Class Leonard Thomas from the Royal Signals - based at Blandford Camp - was killed by a man wearing Afghan uniform on Sunday (1st July 2012).
Warrant Officer Thomas had volunteered for one final tour of duty in what was already an outstanding military career spanning over 20 years.
He was looking forward to spending time with his long-term partner Rachel and his mother Sylvia .. Whilst also pursuing his passion for the outdoors.
Affectionately known as Pez, the 44 year old's been described by his colleagues, as dedicated, passionate, funny and someone who wanted to make a real difference.
Two other soldiers from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards - Guardsman Craig Andrew Roderick and Guardsman Apete Saunikalou Ratumaiyale Tuisovurua of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards - also lost their lives in the attack at the weekend.
All three men, members of an Afghan Police Advisory Team, had been helping organise a shura - or meeting of elders - at Checkpoint Kamparack Pul in Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand Province, when they were shot and fatally wounded.
The shooter who was dressed as an Afghan Policeman was wounded and the MOD say he's in custody.
Incidents involving British troops and rogue Afghan colleagues - known as green on blue attacks - have claimed the lives of 7 British soldiers this year alone.
WO2 Thomas leaves behind his mother, partner Rachel, and younger brother Tristan (43).
The family of WO2 Thomas paid the following tribute: "Pez was a military man through and through. He thrived in extreme environments, both in the military and in his spare time.
"He was a keen climber and mountaineer and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege to have met him."
Colonel Alan Richmond, late Queen's Dragoon Guards, Commander, Military Stabilisation Support Group, said: "Warrant Officer Class 2 'Pez' Thomas was a soldier of great experience, wisdom and dedication. 'Pez' became interested in the activities of the Military Stabilisation Support Group whilst supporting its training. Yearning for a final military deployment, he volunteered to serve with the Group where his presence, passion and experience helped bind together an eclectic team drawn from all sections of the Armed Forces.
At this difficult time our prayers and thoughts rest with his partner Rachel and his mother Sylvia."