Did you know John "Jack" Howard?
The death of a New Zealander serving in the British Army in Afghanistan is "very sad", Prime Minister John Key says.
The soldier is understood to be John "Jack" Howard.
The British Ministry of Defence would not confirm Howard's identity, saying the family of the dead soldier had asked for his identity to be kept private for 24 hours.
The soldier died as a result of wounds sustained after being shot while patrolling in the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province, a ministry statement said.
Initial reports indicated he died as a result of friendly fire from American aircraft. The BBC reported two other British soldiers were injured.
Mr Key said he was contacted by the British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell this morning and she would update him again this afternoon.
"Obviously it's very sad," Mr Key told reporters.
Labour leader Phil Goff said he felt for the family - the soldier's parents live in New Zealand. Mr Goff's nephew, United States army Captain Matthew Ferrara, 24, was killed in an ambush three years ago.
"Of course having been through that experience myself, my heart goes out to the family of the young man who was killed. We are thinking of that family at this time and extending our condolences and sympathy to them."
Private Howard's website interview
In September, newswire.co.nz published an interview with Private Howard in which he said he joined the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment after seeing an advertisement on the internet.
"I didn't enjoy first year uni, I was doing irrelevant subjects like philosophy and Italian and I felt burnt out after studying too hard in seventh form.
"I had always been interested in the military so I decided to give it a go after I saw an ad for the paratroopers on the internet."
He said he enjoyed serving with the British Army but found it hard living away from his friends and family and planned to return to New Zealand once he finished his service.
Private Howard told the website he was about to start his second tour of Afghanistan and had served in the United States, Kenya, Norway and France.
He said near death experiences were not unusual in Afghanistan and described being fired at when he reached the top of a ridge.
"I'll never forget that feeling - standing on the top and silhouetting myself I quickly drew machine gun fire.
"The whizzing of bullets around me was deafening and blinding, I felt like I was standing in a wind tunnel or in front of a fan after throwing gravel into it. But none of them hit me."
'Deeply sad and regrettable'
The British Ministry of Defence said the soldier's death would be investigated.
"The incident will be the subject of a full investigation; however first reports indicate that an attack on an insurgent position by a US aircraft, requested by and agreed with British forces on the ground, may have been the cause," a spokesperson said.
"The investigation is ongoing and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."
New Zealand Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said he had seen reports that friendly fire was to blame for the soldier's death.
"I know the British Government is undertaking a full investigation, and I am aware of the speculation about what could have happened.
"Obviously since he was serving in the British Army it's the British Government that actually undertakes the investigation. Clearly we are interested in the outcome of that investigation."
Mr Key said he did not think New Zealand would be involved in the inquiry. He said he could not comment on the friendly fire claims until he had more information.
British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell confirmed the soldier's parents - who live in New Zealand - had been spoken to by the British defence attache and had asked for privacy while extended family members were told of his death.
"The High Commission will now keep track of the investigation and as further information is appropriate for release we will make sure it is managed appropriately," Mrs Treadell said.
"This is a very sad and deeply regrettable incident - any death is. In this particular instance it is one that affects both our countries and we will work together at an official level."
She told nzherald.co.nz that the soldier was respected by his fellow soldiers and "deeply committed" to the cause in Afghanistan.
"He was a respected and active member of his battalion.
"These incidents are regrettable. They are particularly sad when they involve someone so young."
Dr Mapp said an official announcement naming the soldier was not likely until later today.
"The New Zealand Defence Force is supporting the family but the family has asked that his name not be released and we will be respecting that."
He understood the New Zealander had been with the British Army for three years.
A spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, said the man would be "greatly missed by all who knew him".
"He has made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the people of Nad 'Ali from insurgent intimidation and defending his country from the threat of terrorism; no more could be asked of any soldier," Lt Col Eastman said.
Major General Richard Rhys Jones - announced yesterday as the next head of the New Zealand's Defence Force (NZDF) - sent his condolences.
"I'd like to say to the family our condolences to them," he told Radio New Zealand.
"He was brave enough to volunteer, work in a very difficult environment and tragically was killed trying to protect what he considered important in his life."
Fifth NZ soldier killed
The man is the fifth New Zealand-born soldier to die in action in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Timothy Andrew O'Donnell, 28, of Feilding died on August 4 when his three-vehicle patrol was attacked with explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire in north-east Bamiyan Province. Two of his comrades were wounded.
In March last year, a New Zealand-born soldier in the Australian Army, Corporal Mathew Hopkins, 21, of Christchurch, was shot dead in an intense fire-fight with Taleban insurgents near the village of Kakarak, 12km north of the Australian base at Tarin Kowt.
Former Aucklander Sean Patrick McCarthy, 25, a member of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment was killed when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in 2008 and Labour leader Phil Goff's nephew, United States army Captain Matthew Ferrara, 24, was killed in a 2007 ambush.
- NZHERALD STAFF and NZPA