Slain soldier Richard Harris 'a lovely kid'

RICHARD HARRIS: The youngest of three children.
RICHARD HARRIS: The youngest of three children.

The family of slain soldier Richard Harris is "in shellshock" over news of his death.

Private Harris, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Corporal Luke Tamatea were helping escort a fellow patrol member to a doctor when they were killed by a Taleban bomb in Afghanistan at about 9.20am Afghanistan time yesterday.

Harris' aunt, Gaylene Harris, said the close-knit family was ''just devastated''.

''We're a bit in shellshock ourselves.''

Harris, the youngest of three children, lost his own father when he was two years old.

''He was the baby of the family,'' she said.

''After last week's [August 4] incident we just wanted to make sure then, that he was safe.

"We were just looking forward to getting him home at the end of his time there.''

She last saw Harris in April, and he was single as far as she was aware.

She said he enjoyed being in the army and saw it as a career.

He was also very sporty.

''He's always been very special to the family. He was just such a lovely kid. Done everything right. Never into any trouble or bother,'' she said.

The family, most from the far north of New Zealand, was gathering at Harris' mother's home in Auckland to wait until they learned when his body would be brought home, she said.

He would be buried at Piki Te Aroha Marae, in Rahiri, Hokianga, beside his father's grave.

The Press