Funeral For 'Outstanding' Bradford Soldier
24 May 2012, 14:50
A 19 year old soldier who died along with five others when their truck was blown up in Afghanistan was called "an outstanding young individual" at his funeral today.
Hundreds of people turned out in baking sunshine in Bradford, to pay their last respects to Private Christopher Kershaw, of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.
Pte Kershaw was killed on March 6 alongside Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Daniel Wade, 20, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all also of 3 Yorks, and Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.
Many attending the service at Holy Trinity Parish Church, in the Idle area of the city, said they were thinking in particular about the young soldier's father, Brian Kershaw, whose mother died yesterday.
Mr Kershaw followed his son's coffin into church with his partner, Sharon Wood, and his former wife Monica Kershaw - Pte Kershaw's mother.
During the service, Pte Kershaw's sister, Sarah-Louise, told the congregation: "Christopher always was, and always will be, our true hero who fought for our country to keep us safe."
She added: "I'm going to be so proud and always am proud to call you my brother, my best friend and, most of all, my true Yorkshire Warrior."
Pte Kershaw's final letter to his father was also read out. It read: "This letter is to inform you of the untimely death of, well, me.
"First of all, I would like to explain that even though I don't know how I died, I'm sure it was from some heroic act and, in the long run, I was doing a job that I loved.
"As I'm sure you are aware, this was my dream job.
"Even though it had its ups and its downs, I enjoyed every second of it."
The service heard how Pte Kershaw was a keen Bradford Bulls rugby league fan and had been a national karate champion at the age of 15.
After the service, hundreds of people crammed the churchyard for a burial ceremony which included three volleys of shots and a bugler playing the Last Post.
The six soldiers were killed when their Warrior armoured vehicle was blown up by a massive improvised explosive device about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah.
The force of the Taliban attack - the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001 - turned the Warrior upside down and blew off its gun turret.