Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Britain: Four fallen heroes are home

Honour: Sgt Ben Ross, Cpl Kumar Pun, Rifleman Adrian Sheldon, Cpl Sean Binnie
(picture courtesy Evening Standard)

Last week, I told you about four British troops that were killed on the same day in Afghanistan. (here)

Today Cpl Sean Binnie, Cpl Kumar Pun, Sgt Ben Ross and Rifleman Adrian Sheldon made their final journey home:

Four soldiers who died in one day
In silent tribute: well-wishers line the road in Wootton Bassett as the bodies of the four soldiers are driven the three miles from RAF Lyneham to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxfordshire

Home, the four who died on one day

Terry Kirby

Four British soldiers killed in one of the bloodiest days in Afghanistan were brought home with full military honours today.

The men's bodies flew to RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire, where their families paid respects at a private ceremony, before the cortege drove through Wootton Bassett.

Well-wishers formed a guard of honour on the three-mile route that campaigners want to rename the Highway of Heroes.

Sergeant Ben Ross, 34, from 173 Provost Company, 3rd Regiment, Royal Military Police, and Corporal Kumar Pun, 31, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, were killed by a suicide bomber during a patrol in Gereshk, Helmand province on 7 May.

Rifleman Adrian Sheldon, 25, from 2nd Battalion The Rifles, died in an explosion when travelling in a Jackal vehicle near Sangin in Helmand province, that evening.

Corporal Sean Binnie, 22, from the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed in a fire fight with insurgents near Musa Qaleh in Helmand province, on the same day. Cpl Binnie was part of the Battle Group mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Each fallen soldier's hearse must pass through Wootton on the way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxfordshire.

Retired veteran James Archer, 57, who served in the Scots Guards and air dispatch, had come from working a night shift to be on the streets today.

Corporal Mark Kelly, 24, who had been rifleman Sheldon's friend for seven years and served alongside him was among those who watched.

Cpl Kelly, from Mansfield, said: “I'm here because I want to spend as much time with him as I can before his burial.”

Assessing his friend's qualities as a soldier he said: “He did everything that was necessary and nothing that wasn't.”

The latest arrival of fallen troops comes after the announcement that the Afghanistan campaign claimed another British Army soldier.

An officer with the 1st Battalion, The Welsh Guards, died in Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital yesterday after being shot in Helmand Province on Saturday. [source Evening Standard]

Rest in Peace.

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