Aged 24, he came from Colchester in Essex.

Born in Portsmouth, Paul Long attended Blackmoor CofE Primary School and All Hallows RC Comprehensive in Aldershot, before moving to South Shields where he attended Hebburn College.

He joined the Regular Army in April 1999, having served two years with the Territorial Army, and was posted to 156 Provost Company in March 2000.

A member of the Parachute Provost Platoon, he was a qualified radio operator. This was his first operational deployment. Paul was a dedicated soldier who loved his work.

His mother Patricia Long, supported by her other two children and other family members, said that, ‘the Army was his life.’

A requiem was held at a Roman Catholic church in South Shields on 4 July, after which his brother and sister, Byron and Maria, paid the following tribute:

Our brother, Paul Graham Long, known affectionately by all his family, friends and Army colleagues as Paul, joined the Royal Military Police in 1999. He wanted only to help others less fortunate than himself.

Paul leaves behind a loving wife Gemma and a baby son of 11 months, Benjamin David, and our devoted mother Patricia.

We would really appreciate it if there were no further visits from the press and other media, so that we can be left to mourn Paul in peace. Paul, who was loved dearly and will be sadly missed, died doing what he did best: helping others.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of all the Royal Military Police killed in Iraq.