SERVICE personnel have held a belated vigil for six British soldiers killed in an explosion after frontline duties delayed the ceremony.
Thousands of men and women deployed to Afghanistan held vigils at bases across the country on Tuesday, before the bodies of the men killed in the deadliest attack on British troops in the war were repatriated.
The victims included the three young Huddersfield soldiers – killed in the worst single atrocity involving British troops in Afghanistan.
At Camp Price in Helmand many of the soldiers, including members of the Yorkshire Regiment which lost five men, missed the occasion as they were carrying out an operation to clear a Taliban stronghold.
But 24 hours later, about 200 of them came together to say prayers, read tributes and pause to remember their colleagues.
Padre Gary Scott said: “It is important for the guys out here to stop and take the opportunity to mourn and remember their comrades.
“The tributes were read by members of the Yorkshire Regiment who had known those who lost their lives, so that was particularly poignant.
“Hearing tributes from family members back home really brought home the fact that these were men will not only be missed within the forces but also in the wider community.
“These occasions are an outlet of grief, but also a chance to take pride in their sacrifice.”
He added that even soldiers deployed to remote camps would hold some form of vigil when the opportunity arose.
“In the smallest of places this may just be the guys getting together and reflecting privately,” he said.
The Yorkshire Regiment troops who died were Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, of New Mill; Private Anthony ‘Anton’ Frampton, 20, of Longwood: Private Daniel Wilford, 21, of Cowlersley; Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, of Bradford; and Private Daniel Wade, 20, of Warrington.
They were killed along with Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of Lytham St Annes, and of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, when a Taliban roadside bomb destroyed their Warrior armoured vehicle in Helmand province on March 6.
Their bodies were returned to the UK on Tuesday.
Families and friends lined the streets of Carterton in Oxfordshire for a moving repatriation tribute.