Breaking: Six soldiers - including five from the Dukes - missing, believed dead in Afghanistan

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Six UK soldiers are missing, believed killed, in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said.

One of the soldiers is believed to be from Calderdale.

Five soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and one from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment were on patrol on Tuesday when their vehicle was hit by an explosion.

The families of the soldiers have been informed.

Lt Col Gordon Mackenzie, spokesman for Task Force Helmand said: “I have the tragic duty to report that six soldiers are missing, believed killed, during a security patrol.

“The six soldiers...were on patrol in a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle when it was caught in an explosion in the task force Helmand area of operations.”

If the deaths are confirmed it would be the biggest single loss of life in one incident since 14 people died in a Nimrod crash in 2006.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said today was a “desperately sad day”.

“This is a desperately sad day for our country and desperately sad of course for the families concerned. It is a reminder of the huge price that we are paying for the work we’re doing in Afghanistan, the sacrifice that our troops have made and continue to make. I do believe it’s important work for our national security, right here at home but of course this work we’re increasingly be carried out by Afghanistan soldiers and we all want to see that transition take place.”

Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards said: “This campaign has seen many personal tragedies and we owe it to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to recognise that their courage and skill is visible in the ever more capable Afghan Army and Police,” he added.

“Increasingly the Afghans themselves are taking the lead in providing security across Helmand. This transition is allowing Afghans to gain the confidence to reject the Taliban and live normal lives.

“The courage, fortitude and determination of those servicemen and women currently in Helmand is inspirational.

“They have not once wavered but, every day, mix the professionalism of which we are all so proud with deep commitment and determination.”