A British soldier and a marine were killed in Afghanistan yesterday, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

A soldier from 1st Battalion Scots Guard died as a result of small arms fire in the district of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province.

In a separate incident a marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines died following an explosion on a foot patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand Province.

Lieutenant Colonel David Southall, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said, "It is with great sadness I inform you that a soldier from 1st Battalion Scots Guards was killed in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province yesterday afternoon.

"Commanding his men, he was killed in action by small arms fire whilst providing security to the Afghan people. His selfless courage and sacrifice in the course of his duty will not be forgotten.

"In a separate incident, a Marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed in Sangin, Helmand province, yesterday afternoon. Deployed within a foot patrol providing local security to the people in the district, he died in an explosion.

"He gave his life whilst seeking to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans. His sacrifice will not be forgotten."

Neither of the two were killed as a result of Operation Tor Shezada (Black Prince), which saw British forces attempt to clear out Taliban from the stronghold of Nad Ali in Helmand province.

The next of kin of the soldier and marine have been informed of their deaths and their names will be released into the public domain following a grace period.