THE body of a soldier with family in Huddersfield was repatriated yesterday.
Hundreds lined the streets of the Wiltshire village of Wootton Bassett to pay tribute to Acting Corporal Marcin Wojtak, 24, of 34 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment.
He died in a blast while patrolling near the perimeter of the UK’s main base in Helmand Province on October 1.
His body was one of two flown home yesterday.
The other was Guardsman Jamie Janes, 20, of 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards, who was killed on a foot patrol near Nad-e-Ali district centre in Helmand on Monday morning.
Both men had only just been deployed to Afghanistan as part of 11 Light Brigade, which is taking over as Britain’s force in the country for the next six months.
Their bodies were flown back to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire before being driven through the streets of Wootton Bassett, in front of a crowd of supporters.
Sobbing relatives lined the route in the village that has become a symbol of Britain’s respect for the war dead.
Crowds have appeared along the route to pay their respects since the bodies of British service personnel began being brought home through RAF Lyneham in 2007.
The procession of Union flag draped coffins then continued to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
Acting Cpl Wojtak, from Leicester, was known by his comrades as “Big Ted” because of his teddy bear-like qualities.
His family said in a statement: “Marcin adored life and was loved by everyone.
“He was a gentle giant who was admired for his caring nature and endless kindness. He placed his happiness in the happiness of others.”
His mother, Teresa, was brought up in Huddersfield after her Polish parents, Michal and Wanda Cybulski, settled in the town after the Second World War.
Michal, who had been a paratrooper for the Allied forces, worked at a textile mill between Huddersfield and Meltham.
They lived at Trinity Street, where Marcin’s aunt, Barbara Golabek, still lives.