Tearful welcome home for Craven hero soldier

Gareth Thursby's body is carried from the repatriation aircraft at RAF Brize Norton

Gareth Thursby who was killed in Afghanistan

First published in News by

There were emotional scenes as the family of a hero soldier killed by a rogue Afghan policeman gathered to watch their loved one's body repatriated to the UK.

The body of Sergeant Gareth Thursby, a former pupil of South Craven School at Cross Hills, was flown into RAF Brize Norton last Thursday, where his Union Flag-draped coffin was carried from the plane with full military honours.

Sgt Thursby and colleague Private Thomas Wroe, both of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were shot on September 15 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.

The families of the three fallen servicemen gathered to see the bodies brought home and stood side by side in the memorial garden in Carterton, in Oxfordshire, as they watched the cortege of three hearses approach.

At the side of the road in Carterton, more than 20 Royal British Legion standard-bearers slowly lowered their flags.

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 and friends stepped forward to place their flowers on the hearses.

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 is survived by his wife Louise, from Cross Hills, and two children, Joshua and Ruby.

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