On Monday, Second Lieutenant Jonathan Carlos Bracho-Cooke, 24, became the 100th member of the British armed forces to die in action in Iraq.

Reporter Richard Gurner spoke to those who knew the man, who was one of the few in life to realise his dream.

A British soldier gave his life in the name of duty despite having reservations about the war in Iraq, his father said.

Jonathan Carlos Bracho-Cooke, 24, from Sandringham Close, Hove, was killed when a roadside bomb hit the Warrior patrol he was commanding in the As Sarraji district of Basra, near the city's US consulate.

Relatives and friends gathered at the Cooke household yesterday to support the family.

They have lost someone who had dreamt of a military career from a young age.

His father, also called Jonathan, paid tribute to the son he used to take on regular camping trips.

He said: "His views on Iraq were the same as 99 per cent of the country but he had to do his duty. He was happy because he went to do that duty and help others.

"He was the kind of person who if he saw an older man sitting by himself looking lonely, he would go over and speak to him.

"He was about seven or eight and we went to Acapulco.

There were lots of beggars and he got terribly upset, so much so he wanted to give something to them all.

"I said to him I couldn't give to them all but I would make a donation to a charity.

He kept reminding me until I eventually did."

His mother Patty Cooke, originally from Mexico, said: "He was a very special boy. A very loving and caring son."

Jonathan, who was close to his sister Lucy, was known to his friends as BC because of his Anglo-Mexican surname.

He loved being outdoors and was a member of the Cub Scouts as a youngster.

Anything military fascinated Jonathan and it was this that drove him to a career in the Army.

He joined the Territorial Army at 17 while he was in the sixth form at Cardinal Newman Catholic School and served a six-month tour of Bosnia in 2002 as part of the British contribution to a Nato-led stabilisation force.

After six years as a member of the TA, Jonathan embarked on a year at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, o v e r c o m i n g severe dyslexia and the lack of a degree to gain a place at the military college.

Mr Cooke said: "We were extremely proud of Jonathan.

It was something he felt he wanted to do and we encouraged him."

The family backed Jonathan and battled to help him overcome his dyslexia.

They even remortgaged the family home to send him to a private school, which helped him get to the level he needed to attend a state comprehensive.

Mr and Mrs Cooke, their daughter Lucy and Jonathan's fiancée Laura Bottomley had all been in regular contact with him via emails and telephone calls since he left for Iraq on December 20 last year.

The last time anyone spoke to him was on Sunday when he rang his mother's mobile.

Mrs Cooke said: "We were talking about the things everybody talks about. How are you? Are you ok?' I did detect something though. He wasn't very talkative. I asked him if he was homesick and he replied he was too busy to be homesick."

Jonathan leaves behind his fiancée Laura Bottomley, 24, who he was due to marry on August 9 this year at the Sandhurst College chapel.

Miss Bottomley described the moment she first saw Jonathan as breathtaking.

She said: "He was very macho and so handsome. It was as close to love at first sight as you could get."

Between 1993 and 2000 he attended Cardinal Newman Catholic School and left after successfully completing an advanced level GNVQ in business studies in the sixth form.

Headteacher Peter Evans said Jonathan had an "inspirational presence" that would live on after his death.

He said: "He was in many respects just the student you would expect to see growing up in the school.

"He had good circle of friends and he was a student who had his moments.

"He was a student who had difficulties.

"When he first came to the school he had dyslexia and it was quite bad. Before he came to us he was at a school with a special wing for the condition.

"Although this always caused him issues with academic advancement in literacy and numbers, he really took on board the idea that he had to have a massive amount of determination to achieve his dream of joining the Army.

"A number of teachers remember him and out of 2,000 students through the generations, it is an interesting fact that people remember him well.

"He was a very personable young man who had a presence, despite not being a big guy'."

In spite of his academic difficulties, Mr Evans recalled the determination Jonathan had and said it drove him to succeed and realise his dream. He also displayed great leadership qualities.

Mr Evans said: "Going to Sandhurst without a degree and without a traditional academic route is phenomenal.

"It's very difficult to identify leadership qualities in a person. What Jonathan gave to a number of pupils around him was that he was a model of determination - an example to follow.

"People use such phrases as it's such a waste' but the thing we really need to remember is those who met him, their lives were touched with the quality he brought to those relationships.

"His life has not been a waste. The school was and is very proud of him."

Neighbour Lesley Stevens, who had known Jonathan since childhood, remembered him as a friendly and caring man.

She said: "Being a soldier was all Jonathan wanted to do. He loved it and it was his life. If he had to die then he would have wanted to go this way.

"He loved the Army so much and fought to get into Sandhurst."