A serving British soldier who was killed by an elephant while on anti-poaching operations in Malawi has been brought back to the UK.
Guardsman Matthew Talbot, who was serving with 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, died in Malawi’s Liwonde National Park on 5 May.
The 22-year-old was part of the British Army’s counter poaching team. It was his first operational deployment.
A C17 aircraft carrying his body landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Tuesday afternoon.
The Ministry of Defence said Guardsman Talbot was an “exceptionally kind and friendly individual”.
The MoD added: “In Malawi he was often to be found befriending the locals and learning their language, which he did remarkably quickly.”
He was also a keen photographer and an “avid reader of military history”, the department said.
Commanding Officer Lt Col Ed Launders MBE said Guardsman Talbot was a “big-hearted Coldstreamer who devoted his life to serving his country”, adding that “we will sorely miss his humour, selflessness and unbeatable spirit”.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said she was “deeply saddened” to hear of Guardsman Talbot’s death.
She added: “This tragic incident is a reminder of the danger our military faces as they protect some of the world’s most endangered species from those who seek to profit from the criminal slaughter of wildlife.”