A HUDDERSFIELD soldier who died along with five colleagues in a bomb attack in Afghanistan was a "fine soldier and an outstanding leader", his commanding officer said at his funeral today.
Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, of 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, was killed on March 6 alongside Private Anton Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all also of 3 Yorks, and Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
Cpl Hartley’s coffin was carried into Christ Church, New Mill, today with full military honours.
Hundreds of people packed into the church as the horse-drawn hearse arrived with white flowers spelling out "Jake" and "Hero" on either side.Related content
Jake’s mother and stepfather, Nathalie and Mark Taylor, brother Ethan, 12, and uncle and best friend, Luke, also 20, followed the coffin into church.
Earlier, Major Malcolm Birkett, said: "Cpl Hartley was an infantryman to his core - tough, proud, hard-working and honest.
"He used his own qualities to inspire those he led. The battalion has lost a fine soldier and an outstanding leader."Related content
Maj Birkett said: "We share great pride that we had the privilege of serving alongside these men.
"Their selfless sacrifice has left us even more resolute and focused on our mission in Afghanistan and in continuing the tradition of distinguished service that this battalion has shown this county and country in its 300-year history."
The soldiers, who had only been in Afghanistan for a few weeks, 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.
The funeral of Sgt Coupe took place last week and the funerals of the other four soldiers killed in the explosion will follow in the next month.
Ethan, 12, gave one of the tributes to his brother during the service,
He said: "He was the best brother, he was the best son, he was the best friend, the best soldier."
Ethan told the congregation about his last phone call to his brother when he was in Afghanistan and how he was trying to make him laugh, and eventually succeeded.
"That was the last time I spoke to him - laughing, which I’m happy about."
Ethan told Cpl Hartley’s family and friends: "That’s how I’ll remember him - just crazy and funny and laughing."
The soldier’s best friend and uncle Mr Kemp told the service: "Jake was always there for me when it counted, as I was for him."
He added: "He enjoyed life - got out of it what he put in, which was his all."
Mr Kemp said: "We loved and continue to love Jake.
"He will stay in our hearts forever."
After the service, Ethan held hands with his mother as they followed Cpl Hartley’s coffin, which was draped with a Union Flag, from the church, along a short lane to a private burial service.