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26 May 2011, 09:32
The body of a Portsmouth born soldier killed by a bomb in Afghanistan will be repatriated to the UK later.
Colour Serjeant Kevin Fortuna, from A Company, 1st Battalion The Rifles, will be flown to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire on 26th May.
A private service will be held at the base's chapel before the cortege passes through nearby Wootton Bassett. As has become tradition, local people and Royal British Legion members are expected to join his family and friends to line the high street in tribute.
The 36 year old died on Monday (23rd May) on patrol in the Saidabad Kalay area of the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand. He had been leading a patrol in the early evening to disrupt enemy forces when he was killed by an improvised explosive device.
His family yesterday paid tribute to a 'true professional'.
The Ministry of Defence described him as a 'phenomenal, irreplaceable' individual who leaves behind his wife Nia, mother Sue and brother Kris.
Colour Serjeant Fortuna was born in Portsmouth and attended school in Cheltenham.
His family said: "Kevin was a true professional who loved his job and lived life to the full. He gave 19 loyal years to the Army and will be sadly missed by his wife, mother, family and friends.''
Colour Serjeant Fortuna was deployed to Afghanistan last month in command of a multiple of 12 Riflemen, the MoD said.
He joined the Army aged 16, where his potential was recognised at an early stage, joining the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1991 as a junior leader.
Colour Serjeant Fortuna served in Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Lieutenant Colonel James de Labilliere, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, The Rifles said: "Colour Serjeant Fortuna was an utterly professional commander, Rifleman and a man of irreproachable integrity. His presence strengthened the battalion and the loss with his passing will be acute.
"He was remarkable for many reasons, not least his complete and unwavering commitment to his Riflemen and their care. He was a master tactician, and a soldier of great experience. He was to be a Company Serjeant Major in just three months time.''
Colour Serjeant Fortuna's death takes to 366 the number of UK military personnel killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.