Prime Minister with Thai rescue divers and support team

Lance Corporal Connor Roe (right) attended the Downing Street reception. (Image: PA).

A British Army soldier is among a rescue team hailed as "great heroes" by the Prime Minister for their part in the rescue of 12 schoolboys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

Lance Corporal Connor Roe was one of the divers at Number 10 for a reception with Theresa May on Tuesday afternoon.

LCpl Roe is a Cave Dive Group qualified diver who built up his caving and cave diving experience during his career in the REME, including leading a multi-group expedition to one of the deepest caves in Europe.

Mrs May thanked the divers, adding: "They did extremely well. We can be very proud of them. They did a fantastic job. They're great heroes.

"Every one of them is a hero."

The divers launched a mission to rescue the boys and their 25-year-old coach, which concluded after an 18-day ordeal.

Speaking at the reception, Mrs May said: "This was an amazing rescue mission. On hearing about the boys who were trapped most people would have just stood by but you chose to go out there and do something about it.

"The eyes of the world were on you and I think I can speak for everyone when I say a huge thank you."

The operation claimed the life of Thai navy diver Saman Kunan, who died while replenishing oxygen canisters.

The rescue was particularly treacherous because the boys, aged 11 to 16, had to swim through tight spaces despite having no diving experience.