FAMILY and friends of a York soldier killed in a car crash have paid tribute to a “kind and generous” man who brought joy to everyone he met.

Captain Alan Crompton, who had served in Afghanistan, died when the Audi he was driving hit a tree in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

The 27-year-old, who loved the theatre and sports, decided during his gap year to pursue a military career, having originally been a member of the St Peter’s School Combined Cadet Force.

In a statement, his heartbroken parents John and Fe, and his sister and “soulmate” Sarah, said: “We are richer for his life, and devastated in his death. Alan was a hugely likeable young man, with a quick sense of humour and a joy for life expressed away from work. He dedicated his life to the training, mentoring and welfare of his soldiers, and was good at it.”

“Determined and professional to the end, he would leave no stone unturned to ensure they were trained and equipped for their role.”

Capt Crompton, who was stationed at Rock Barracks, near Woodbridge, was born into a military family, his father having been a British Army colonel in Germany. After they settled in Shipton- by-Beningbrough in 1990, he attended Forest of Galtres School and St Peter’s School before studying biological science at Newcastle University.

He took on a string of theatre roles at school, including Ratty in Toad Of Toad Hall, Caliban in The Tempest and Alan Strang in Equus.

His family said: “Even in those early days he had that rare ability to light up the stage, hold an audience, and convince them that what they were seeing was reality.

“In his acting he missed one classic – Alice In Wonderland. And that is a shame because, like the Cheshire cat, the undying memory retained by all who met him is the smile with which he could light up a room.”

His family said he had a love of sport from a young age, joining York Gymnastics Club at the age of eight.

“As the smallest of the gymnastics team, he was invariably the easiest to throw through the air for a dramatic display ending,” they said.

Outside the gym he played hockey for City of York and St Peter’s.

During his gap year, Capt Crompton joined 131 Independent Commando Squadron (Volunteers) and set about earning his Green Beret. He served with the squadron throughout university and was commissioned into the Territorial Army in 2007. Having been unable to deploy to Afghanistan with 3 Commando Brigade, he decided to join the regular Army.

He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers and, following training, was posted to Ripon, where he commanded the armoured engineer troop in 1st Armoured Engineer Squadron. In 2010, he went to Afghanistan as part of the operational mentoring and leadership team assisting the Afghan Army Engineers.

After returning to the UK, he was posted to 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) and moved to Woodbridge as operations officer with 51 Parachute Squadron (Air Assault).

Nimesh Patel, 32, who lived in halls with Capt Crompton at university, said: “Alan was an absolutely fantastic person and one of my best mates.

“When he smiled the whole room lit up. He was a superb person – I don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone like him again.”

Christian King, 25, another university friend, said Capt Crompton always wanted to join the Army, and said: “He was very charismatic and an inspirational person, a natural leader and a true gentleman.”

Capt Crompton’s funeral will be held on Friday with a family cremation at Bishopthorpe Crematorium, followed by a celebration of his life at York Minster.

Friend pays tribute to victim’s work in Afghanistan

A CLOSE friend of Capt Crompton remembered his colleague, as he received an award for his services in Afghanistan this week.

Major Christopher Wilcock, a Territorial Army officer in 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), was honoured at an Army ceremony on Thursday, but said the day was tinged with sadness. He said in his speech: “This award is bittersweet for me and I feel recognition needs to be awarded to others, particularly to one of my fellow officers, the late Captain Alan Crompton. The quality of his handover in Helmand and the work that he had done with the Afghan Engineers in the previous six months really enabled me to hit the ground running.”