Tributes are left at barracks for dead British soldiers

08/03/12

Clockwise from top left: Pte Wade, Pte Wilford, Pte Frampton, Pte Kershaw, Cpl Hartley and Sgt Coupe

Flags in Warminster are flying at half-mast after news that five soldiers from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment based in the town died while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Another man from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment was also killed in the blast on Tuesday.

Students at the town's schools are talking about what's happened.

It's because many of them have family who work on the base or are on operations in Afghanistan.

The battalion only left last month but have now lost six men in the biggest UK loss of life in six years.

The dead have been named as Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, Pte Daniel Wade, 20, Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, and Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33.

'Confusion'

Jill is 18 and a student in the college across the road from Battlesbury Barracks.

Saskia Fordham
Image caption Saskia says it's been quiet in the town since the news came through

She said: "It's always going to be shocking if six people from your town die but here they were such a big part of this town always running past waving."

The feeling of shock has spread right through Warminster.

They had a reputation as some of the big guns in the army due the kit they had.

The highly armoured Warrior and Bulldog are fighting vehicles designed for the harshest environments.

People in the town can't understand how it happened, something vicar Harvey Gibbons said in a service.

"There is still so much confusion," he said. "People can't understand how they are gone."

Candle vigil

In the town, the coffee shops and restaurants would normally be full at this point in the week.

Saskia Fordham is 19 and works in one of the coffee shops.

Candle outside barracks
Image caption A candle was lit outside the barracks when the soldiers left for Helmand

"You can just tell when someone's died here," she said. "It's really obvious the mood just changes and no-one goes out to see how quiet it is tonight."

Outside the base there is a candle.

It was put there by the families when the first servicemen went to Afghanistan last month on Valentine's Day.

They say it will remain lit until the last one returns home.

One message on the cards says, "Warminster will always be proud of you" while another says, "They were only young lads."

Many college leavers in the town go on to join the army after previous generations have served.

"It runs in the blood here," said Jermain, 23, who is unemployed but is undergoing trials to sign up.

"When I heard what happened it makes you think twice but we have to protect others or it will all be pointless," he added.