Tearful repatriation for servicemen

Family and friends of Private Thomas Wroe during the repatriation in Carterton, Oxfordshire

Soldiers during the repatriation in Carterton, Oxfordshire, of three colleagues

The repatriation of Private Thomas Wroe of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Corporal Kellie Williams RLC/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

First published in National News © by

The tearful families of two soldiers killed by a rogue Afghan policeman and that of a third British serviceman also killed in Afghanistan have gathered as they watched their loved ones' bodies repatriated to the UK.

Sergeant Gareth Thursby and Private Thomas Wroe, both of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were shot on Saturday when a man dressed as a local Afghan policeman pretended to be injured so they would help him.

A day earlier, Lance Corporal Duane Groom, of The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, was killed when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

Their three families stood side by side in the memorial garden in Carterton, in Oxfordshire, as they watched the cortege of three hearses approach.

The men's bodies were earlier flown into RAF Brize Norton where the Union flag-draped coffins were carried from the plane with full military honours.

At the side of the road in Carterton, more than 20 Royal British Legion standard-bearers slowly lowered their flags as family members started to sob.

They clutched bunches of flowers including white roses and held on to small wooden crosses while family members of Fiji-born L/Cpl Groom sang soft hymns.

The families were supported by more than 300 friends and well-wishers - many with tears in their eyes as they shook their heads when the coffins passed by. The cortege was escorted at walking pace past the memorial garden, where it paused briefly next to a Union flag hung at half mast.

Family members and friends stepped forward to place their flowers on top of the hearses, with some also placing their hands against the glass and bowing their heads. As the cars pulled away there was a spontaneous round of applause by members of the public who came to pay their respects.

Married father-of-two Sgt Thursby, 29, and Pte Wroe, 18, were shot dead in the south of Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province. Sgt Thursby from Skipton, North Yorkshire, is survived by his wife Louise and two children, Joshua and Ruby. Pte Wroe was deployed to Afghanistan on July 1, shortly after his 18th birthday. He leaves his parents, Michael and Claire, and sister Demi, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

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