Bodies of three soldiers brought home from Afghanistan

By James Woodward,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 07:25

A plane carrying the bodies of three British soldiers killed in blasts in Afghanistan arrived back at a military base today.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Sean Upton, of the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, and Trooper Phillip Lawrence, of The Light Dragoons, died in separate explosions in Helmand province on July 27.

Bombardier Craig Hopson, of 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, died on July 25 in a roadside bomb attack.

The three men's families are paying their respects in a private ceremony at the chapel at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, before the cortege drives through Wootton Bassett at 2pm.

A crowd of hundreds, including shopkeepers, British Legion members, families and veterans, is expected to line the streets of the market town to pay their respects, as has become tradition.

It is the second repatriation of British soldiers this week.

Bombardier Hopson was helping make arrangements for the Afghan elections as part of Operation Panther's Claw when the Jackal armoured vehicle in which he was travelling was hit by an explosion.

The 24-year-old, from Castleford, West Yorkshire, had just returned from a short trip home to see his three-month-old daughter, Amelia, and his partner Eleanor, shortly before he was killed.

WO Upton, 35, from Nottinghamshire, died in an explosion during a foot patrol in Sangin district.

He had been serving as second-in-command of Sangin's Police Mentoring Team, the MoD said, and had been in the Army for 19 years, serving in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Bosnia.

He leaves a wife, Karen, and two children, Hollie and Ewan.

Trooper Lawrence, 22, from Birkenhead, Merseyside, was killed during a blast while driving an armoured vehicle in Lashkar Gah district, Helmand. He had been helping ensure the security of an area which had been cleared as part of Operation Panther's Claw - an offensive against the Taliban.

Trooper Lawrence leaves a wife, Amy, and baby daughter Jessica.

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