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British troops' bodies flown home
The bodies of six soldiers killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan have been repatriated to the UK as hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to their memory.
A private service to honour the comrades, who died while on patrol two weeks ago, was being held at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
As the unit the men served with continued to take the fight to Taliban insurgents, service personnel and members of the public gathered at a memorial garden in Carterton, near Brize Norton, to pay tribute to their sacrifice.
Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, and Privates Anthony Frampton, 20, Christopher Kershaw, 19, Daniel Wade, 20, and Daniel Wilford, 21, were killed near the border between Helmand and Kandahar provinces on March 6.
Sgt Coupe, a member of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, and his comrades, all members of The Yorkshire Regiment's 3rd Battalion, were patrolling in a Warrior armoured vehicle when it was hit by an improvised explosive device.
The deaths of Sgt Coupe, a married father-of-two from Lytham St Annes, Lancashire; Pte Wade, from Warrington, Cheshire; and the other soldiers, all from West Yorkshire, took British armed forces' total number of deaths since operations began in Afghanistan to 404.
As the bodies were repatriated, the MoD confirmed that members of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment were part of a 1,000-strong British force which supported an Afghan-led operation to clear a Taliban heartland around Gereshk over the weekend.
They played a key role in supporting patrols by the Afghan National Civil Order Police as they prevented suspected insurgents fleeing the area.
Lieutenant Colonel Dan Bradbury, the commanding officer of 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, said: "Despite the losses the regiment has suffered, it comes as no surprise to me that 3 Yorks continue to conduct themselves with professionalism on operations.
"It is a real testament to the character of our soldiers that they are determined to carry on the mission and take the fight to insurgents."