North Yorkshire Soldier's Body Flown Home

A North Yorkshire soldier who had been in the Army for just a few months when he was shot dead in Afghanistan will be repatriated to the UK.

Private Matthew Haseldin, from 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, was killed while ``standing firm'' against an insurgent attack in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

The body of the 21-year-old, who died on November 3, will be flown to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

A private ceremony for his family will be held at a purpose-built repatriation centre on the airbase before the cortege leaves via the Britannia Gate on its way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The cortege will be escorted at walking pace past the memorial garden in Carterton, where the Union Flag will be hung at half-mast and the public is expected to gather.

At the time of his death Pte Haseldin's parents, Alan and Jill, said: ``Matthew was a loving son and we are very proud of him. He had only been in the Army for a few months. Friends and family will miss him greatly. Rest in Peace.''

Pte Haseldin, from Settle, North Yorkshire, was part of an operation to maintain freedom of movement for the local population, when the group was attacked by insurgents.

His patrol was carrying out a check when they came under sustained small arms fire and ``underslung grenades during which Private Haseldin was fatally wounded'', the MoD said.

Lieutenant Colonel Colin Marks, Commanding Officer 2 Mercian and Combined Force Burma, said: ``It was impossible to tell that he was the newest member of 7 Platoon, all of whom loved him like a brother.''

His death takes the number of British personnel who have died since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001 to 384.