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Fiancee's tribute to soldier

PUBLISHED: 12:47 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 07 July 2010

Tributes have been paid to a Swanton Morley-based soldier killed as he was trying to save the lives of others in war-torn Afghanistan.

Swanton-Morley based Lance Corporal David Dennis, known as Duke, died on Saturday while engaged in a massive land offensive in the country called Operation Panther's Claw.

Tributes have been paid to a Swanton Morley-based soldier killed as he was trying to save the lives of others in war-torn Afghanistan.

Swanton-Morley based Lance Corporal David Dennis, known as Duke, died on Saturday while engaged in a massive land offensive in the country called Operation Panther's Claw.

The 29-year-old leaves behind his fiancée, Dereham-born Lisa Macgregor.

He had been planning his sword guard for their wedding and when he returned, on July 25, they were going to look for a venue.

“If he could have died anywhere that would have been it,” said former Neatherd high pupil Lisa, who was set to move back to her home town from Middlesbrough, where she currently works as a teacher, to live with L/Cpl Dennis.

L/Cpl Dennis, originally from Llanelli in South Wales, was killed just as he had secured a helicopter landing site so that wounded soldiers could be taken out of the battlefield.

He was on foot. As part of the Light Dragoons' command troop he was responsible for ensuring radio communications for the commanding officer's tactical headquarters.

Capt David Ansell, the regimental signals officer, said: “Duke was a dedicated soldier and an absolute rock. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him, whether it be at work or for his friends.”

“David loved the army, he was a real soldiers soldier,” said Lisa, 30, whose parents live in Toftwood. “He loved being in the action.

“He had already started planning and already had his sword guard sorted. He was my soul mate. I'm not a believer in that but when I met David it all changed. We got the best out of each other. He was genuine, kind and caring, a soppy bugger really.”

Duke swept her off her feet when they met in November last year at the Red Lion in Dereham and by February they were engaged. He was posted to Afghanistan in April and was due home on July 25, after which they were going to look for a wedding venue.

He wore his passions literally on his sleeves with tattoos and his last tattoo was of a playing card on his arm to mark their engagement.

He also had a Welsh dragon tattooed on one of his arms and was a keen Wales rugby team supporter.

Perseverance was tattooed across his chest after, during his first tour in Afghanistan, a comrade said “it's all about perseverance” of their work there.

He also loved music, modern indie bands and rock ballads the one time choir boy would sing along and air guitar to.

His nick-name Duke was because of his love of horse riding - also reflected in one of his tattoos of a horse because of his time in the Royal Artillery on his arm. Lisa was going to learn to ride with him when he returned.

L/Cpl Dennis joined the Army in 2003 and had served in the Royal Artillery and the King's Troop before being attached to the Light Dragoons in 2005 and joining them in Norfolk in 2006.

Flowers have been laid outside the Robertson Barracks, home of the Light Dragoons. A memorial service will be held at the base.

His funeral is expected to be held in South Wales. He leaves behind his mum Adele, twin brother Gareth, father Roger and step mum Helen.

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