Tayport hero Liam mentioned in despatches

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A TAYPORT soldier who was killed while on patrol with his dog in Afghanistan has been awarded a prestigious posthumous honour.

Lance Corporal Liam Tasker (26), from the Royal Veterinary Corps, has received a Mention in Despatches, the oldest recognition of gallantry in the Armed Forces.

He is one of 140 soldiers on the latest Operational Honours list, published on Friday, which includes awards for Scots who rescued injured soldiers while under fire, and charged enemy positions.

The army dog handler, who was attached to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, was shot on March 1 by insurgents while on patrol with his specialist arms and explosives search dog, Theo.

He was deployed to Afghanistan on September 8, 2010, as part of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment -having trained as an arms and explosives search dog handler.

He showed incredible courage working alongside his 22-month-old springer spaniel and together they made 16 significant finds in just five months, while on the frontline.

L/Cpl Tasker, who became the 358th member of the British Armed Forces to die since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001, was laid to rest at the end of March alongside his beloved dog Theo, who died of a seizure after his master’s death.

This isn’t the first honour to be bestowed on the Tayport soldier.

In May, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne presented the Elizabeth Cross to his family at a private ceremony at the Defence Animal Centre in Leicestershire.

Liam’s mother Jane Duffy collected his medal together with his father Ian Tasker, brother Ian, his two sisters Laura and Nicola and his girlfriend Leah.

The Elizabeth Cross was introduced in 2009 to give recognition to bereaved families of soldiers killed on operations, or as a result of terrorist actions since January 1, 1948.

Each individual cross carries the name of the soldier, sailor or craftsman who died serving his country.