Tearful Repatriation For Yorkshire Soldiers

21 September 2012, 05:50

The tearful families of two soldiers from Yorkshire who were killed by a rogue Afghan policeman gathered to watch 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, 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 onto 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.

Married father-of-two Sgt Thursby, 29, and 18 year old Pte Wroe, were shot dead in the south of Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.

Sgt Thursby, from Skipton, is survived by his wife Louise and two children, Joshua and Ruby.

Pte Wroe was deployed to Afghanistan on July 1st, shortly after his 18th birthday.

He leaves his parents, Michael and Claire, and sister Demi, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

The shooting happened just a day after L/Cpl Groom was also killed during a bloody few days in the war-torn country.

The 32-year-old, who was born in Suva City, Fiji, was protecting his Afghan and British colleagues as they extracted from a successful operation when he was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

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